Film Review: The Vanity Tables of Douglas Sirk
Mirror, becoming a space that showed woman persona in every situation. That aspect is presented by Mark Rappaport in “The Vanity Table of Douglas Sirk” (Mark Rappaport, 2014). Snippets from the scenes stitched with Rapport’s style of talking. Through this narration, Rappaport explains relationship between vanity table with various properties around it.
For Rappaport, mirror is a paradox space that bringing woman with their situation outside the reality together. The situation that actually unreal and can not be understand by woman herself. This is that according of Rappaport, is being a base of the term vanity as the table that full of arrogance. And the woman in front of it will be getting punishment on that arrogance.
Rappaport analysis terminologically as if delivering the audience to see various punishment for the woman in front of the vanity table. Like when Cary Scoot (Jane Wyman) is looking at her face for too long in front of her vanity table in the “All That Heaven Allows” (Douglas Sirk, 1955)
Cary, a widow with 2 children who was confused about her condition that fell in love with Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson). Cary’s character was red as somesone who trapped on her own persona in the mirror. Cary knew her feelings towards Ron Kirby, a young gardener who gave her golden leaf, through her reflection in the mirror. But, when Cary’s child knocked on her door, she realized that what she saw is just a reflection. Not reality that she wished. This thing is keep repeated, even when Cary played the piano and got a television as christmas gift.
“The Vanity Tables of Douglas Sirk”showed how Care and other women is being jailed by their mirror. Rappaport explained on how everything that seen through the mirror becoming their imagination about situation they faced. Either their wishm slef-condition that rejected, and their relationship with the social life around them.
In “Imitation of Life” (Douglas Sirk, 1959), mirror becomes an area to run from reality. Here, mirror becomes so active, when a black people’s children rejected its mother and its condition as a black people. Rappaport underlined his interpretion through frame freeze on the image inside the mirror, that reflecting the image of the mother and the children in one frame.
Through another Sirk’s film, Rappaport found how mirror in vanity table is actually having differen function with the mirror that oftenly used by men. Mirror for men called mirror, doesn’t have any relationship with vanity table. Men is using mirror as an area to get themselves ready, meanwhile women is not.
Mirror in vanity table showed complexity of women. In the end, Rappaport presented his conclusion. Mirror for women is becoming a space to see herself. Presenting as strong personal in another world.