Beauty is Life
Beauty is Life : NOWNESS
Want a better body? Tune in to this unnerving teleshopping advert to find out how
Vaginal rejuvenation sticks, slimming straps, face trainers, and breast enlargement pads… Looking good has never been so complicated for the ten women in this film who demonstrate the latest beauty technologies. Writer and filmmaker Jovana Reisinger’s satirical new film, Beauty is Life, continues in the same vein as her previous work that explores socially-inscribed behaviors and market-driven decisions. In this latest project, the Munich-based artist holds a mirror up to the global beauty industry only to reveal a crack in its reflection.
“Beauty companies are part of a system that profits from the perpetuation of female insecurities and then gets women to blame themselves for it,” says Reisinger. “More money than ever is being invested in beauty worldwide.”
The filmmaker creates a false sense of security in the opening moments of Beauty is Life with its soft pastel colors and elegant Bonsai tree that fill the frame. Wearing silk robes and smiles that never reach the eyes, Reisinger’s women silently summon the awkward charm of a late-night teleshopping model. From mini epilators to futuristic UV light face masks, the audience’s decreasing familiarity with these tools of beautification only serves to increase the absurdity of modern trends.
The film takes an unexpected turn and segues into a second chapter that is different in tone but still tied to the film’s overall messaging. Now fully clothed, the women engage in a roundtable on the female experience, objectification and sexism. With these conversations, Reisinger’s film avoids coming across as a critique of those who want to augment their bodies. Instead, Beauty is Life is a wickedly sharp exploration of the burden of femininity, which has been shaped by the beauty industry’s financial interest in marketing women’s bodies as works in progress.
November 6, 2020
Beauty is Life: dazed beauty
TEXT HANNAH BERTOLINO
DIRECTOR JOVANA REISINGER WANTS TO CHANGE THE UNREALISTIC STANDARDS OF GENDER, BEAUTY, AND SEXUALITY FOR GOOD
In 2020, we’ve seen just about every unusual beauty treatment possible – between TikTokers shaving down their teeth with nail files to get straighter smiles (please don’t do this), Kesha declaring herself a, “butt mask lady,” and encouraging us to use sheet masks on our butts, and really just about everything Goop Labs has ever done.
New film Beauty is Life – premiering on Nowness – however, is showcasing the toxicity behind beauty treatment culture. Directed by Jovana Reisinger and in the unsettling set of a late night shopping advert, the film follows 10 women in silky robes experiencing a series of abnormal beauty treatments – including face trainers, breast enlargement pads, double chin exercisers, and even vaginal rejuvenation sticks. Ouch.
“Beauty companies are part of a system that profits from the perpetuation of female insecurities and then gets women to blame themselves for it,” explained Reisinger. “More money than ever is being invested in beauty worldwide.”
Towards the end of the film, the same women, changed into suits, gather around a table to discuss the gender, sexuality and objectification built into the female experience. “Isn’t it the fault of capitalism?” one of the women asks the group. “Always needing to be strong, optimise oneself, be pushy and whoever is pushy wins.”
“It makes me angry,” another woman shares. “That an industry based on exploiting the insecurities of women for profit exists.” Bizarre treatments aside, it’s definitely time for something to change.
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