Italian film maker Paolo Gioli creates a haunting short movie by animating photographs taken by Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe shortly before she died at the age of 36, fifty years ago today.
Filmarilyn is both beautiful and foreboding. As the film’s jazzy rhythms start to disintegrate and the images slow to a crawl, “X” marks on the contact sheets appear like magical curses and a fresh scar on Marilyn’s flesh transforms into a stigmata while her face, half-hidden by shrouds of white, eyes closed, turns impossibly pale and lifeless. In the final moments, close-ups of her hands in death-like repose seem almost saintly and as the film’s last frames unspool we are left with the sense of having seen an apparition, a ghost… a soul X-rayed.
It’s amazing how much power and sadness Gioli creates from so few elements - a testimony to his artistry, Marilyn’s radiance and Stern’s skill in capturing it.