Monday, April 4, 2011

The Aesthetic of Cleopatra.

Those eyes, those sweeping brows, that beauty mark, and all that gold.  I'm such a sucker for an ornate, exotic headdress and dramatic eye makeup.  A friend of mine once said "Elizabeth Taylor is the only light-skinned woman I will ever accept as Cleopatra" and I feel quite the same.  For all the white women who have played Cleopatra-- knowing the historical reality of the character-- only Elizabeth Taylor, for me, has been able to pull off the regality and exoticism of the character.  I know I am very late on the RIP Liz Taylor blog messages, given  her death was over a week ago now, but this is my very humble send-up.   

I find the movie Cleopatra a bit long-winded and tedious, and although the wide-screen visuals are stunning, what keeps me watching is Liz.  She is so intriguing and so in her element as the alluring, all-powerful woman, that its hard to look away when she is on the screen.  Of course, most of the Cleopatra allure is in the eyes.  One strange fact I find interesting about Liz herself is that she was born with a strange "mutation" of sorts:  a double row of top eyelashes.  If this is a deformity, I'd say its the best one there is, (but in a strange twist of fate it appears this type of characteristic is associated with heart weakness that may have been the cause of her recent death at age 79).  Despite her endowment of lashes, Cleopatra needs even more attention to the eye area.  Her heavy black eyeliner in the movie ranges from fish-symbol, to batwing, to hieroglyph, complete with blue eyeshadow to the brow or extra black line emphasizing the lid.  Her blue eyes are gorgeous pools of light in the center of all that black liner.  The flawless smooth skin and peachy-pink matte lip color are something pine for but I have yet to master.  Her her head wear ranges from subtle tiaras to geometric hats, to massive ornate headdresses.  Arm bands and gold collars are an essential part of Cleopatra accessory.  

Despite all the illness and personal tragedy she had during the making of the film, she appears a goddess at the prime of her appeal, oozing pheromones through the screen. 


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