What did Judy look like in this outtake? What we can hear is precisely what we can’t see and aren’t shown. My feeling is that Judy/Dorothy was supposed to cry during this scene, only not like this. Not this much and not this hard. Dorothy is finally going home, after all. She is sad about leaving Oz, but what’s calling her home is supposed to be stronger than the intimate bonds she’s forged on her odyssey. But the line between emotion and real pain—between the emotion you are asked to tread, to supply and to invent; to bring to a scene, and the real pain that shows up and intervenes; causing a breach in the fiction and a break in the breach (all the breaches that are enacted and received in a lifetime)—are devastatingly blurred. It’s too much for Judy, not Dorothy. It was often too much for her. These are Judy’s tears, not Dorothy’s, and they are not the result of the fiction of movies, but of the reality of having lived them and made them.
From Masha Tupitsyn's Beauty Talk
In “Kleptomania” I describe Garland’s voice as “a blue bird hitting the windshield of a car.”
What truth are our faces allowed to tell/show today? Think of how men instruct women to smile while they’re walking down the street. If Hollywood and mass media are any indication, nothing is faked and enacted more these days than a face, especially a woman’s. A woman’s face is something she has to fake almost all of the time—from the wearing of make-up to the surgical enhancement and modification of facial features, to the lightening of eyes and skin, to the concealment of age, to the facial expressions we make or don’t make. Faking is not only the modality par excellence of late modernity, the fake/r (not the real or original, as Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy demonstrates) is the thing to imitate and strive for. And based on the 21st century fiction and artifice of celebrity consumer culture, there is no greater truth than a successful lie. Than a lie that functions and succeeds in public, even if and especially when it inevitably performs its disclosure-as-lie and breakdown-of-truth as just another show (Reality TV). The lie (or the secret of ideology) is no longer something to conceal, for, in the era of cynicism and instant commodification, dissemblance is the only truth worth telling (living). Truth, along with reality, is merely a performance, and vice versa, performance is reality.
Before we believed that a lie was the truth, we believed that what we were seeing was real, which means we believed what we were told. The fiction was not meant to be interpreted purely as fantasy or pure-fantasy, but as the ultimate-real. However, now that we know that the fiction is a lie, that the truth is a lie, we have learned to approach it as such. We live in the name of truth, even though, and because we know, the name of truth is fiction. We tell ourselves that it’s not that we have a more dishonest or corrupt relationship to truth, it’s that we have a different kind of relationship with the lie. That is, with the staging of truth.
When I watched Garland’s performance of “The Man That Got Away” from A Star Is Born for this essay, I broke down in tears almost immediately. Garland’s heartbreak is my heartbreak. A heartbreak of women watching women. Women being women. It is my invisible (off-camera) face coming undone as it bears witness to the brave face another woman puts on for the whole world. Garland is giving us her heartbreak so that we can survive and better understand our own.
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EVER SINCE THIS WORLD BEGAN