Video Essay: Pretty Baby: Faces

Pretty Baby (Paramount 1978) is a pretty drastic film. It’s beautifully shot, tragic, and incredibly difficult to watch because of its treatment of childhood sexuality. Part of what makes it work (if it does), is its total fascination with the human face. Director Louis Malle and cinematographer Sven Nykvist capture a range of human emotions with extended close-ups, many of which are dialogue free. They’re moving and unsettling.

A collection of them here, set to the old New Orleans jazz standard, “Careless Love” as performed by Bessie Smith.

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