a feverish & luxurious sexual pageant, a deeply textured epic of gendered society, a cavalcade of kinky carnage, a comedic tragedy of aristocratic manners, a whirlwind of political romance, a glorious ascent into savage power, all these things and more does von sternberg & dietrich provide here, a divinely feminine universe of fully-realized possibilities. everything that it strives for is achieved, no, exceeded. it's a cinema that ventures past the impossible, a work that somehow effortlessly brings the heavenly stars down to earth.
despite being made in black & white, this feels more colorful than any other film made since, perfect in the way light & shadow are intricately layered to illustrate a lush tableau of the highest erotic spectacle, it bleeds onto your eyes, it exalts the audience's intellect and pleasure like only the greatest art can.
von sternberg's grotesquely beautiful treasure. this is so severely dear to me. a maximalist masterpiece, nonpareil.