Lives o women who wished, above all to erase the footsteps of their humble origin and become glamorous ladies of high society.
In the city of New york, on the 21st of october of 1938, at six o´clock in the morning, Mrs Dorothy Hale committed suicide throwing herself through the window from the top of the Hampshire House Building. The night before she had a party and invited all her “friends” from the american high society. Her last words were: The vodka is finished. She aspired to become an actress, but she handn´t the talent. She had achieved access to New York´s high society because of her marriage to a millionaire, but when he died in a car accident he left her in serious financial problems. To make sure she remained in the aristocratic circles where she was, she acepted a long list of rich lovers y generous friends. In spite of her extraordinary beauty she hadn´t any talent to be an actress and she started to get too old to find a new husband.
At the beginning of the 40´s Billy Woodward- heir of one of the most important fortunes in New York met for the first time Ann, a chorus girl whose real name was Angeline Luceli Crowel, and he fell desperately in love with her, and to the disaproval of his mother Elise the indomitable matriarch of the Grenville clan, he decided to marry her. From that moment, the flamboyant Mrs Grenvile would have a singular ambition: to become the ellegant and wordly woman she always wanted to be. Years later Billy died in strange circumstances and all of the suspicion fell on Ann, who they accused of murder. She would later be absolved, and the mistery of Billy´s death would never be resolved.
Appearance above substance, a world, whose concrete barriers destroy outsiders. They lived in luxury mansions, did pleasure cruises to Europe or attended the opera to see or be seen, an environment of leisure that kept them away from any type of dishonorable job, with their time spent spreading gossip or satisfiyng their vanity. Their charmed lives without sentimental stability in constant unease and unfullfilled, preoccupied with social perception. En IXTAB the courtain is pulled back from the facade and the reverse of the ellegant existence is shown within, where curiosity, envy and falsity walked along the halls dressed in silk. We listen to bankers, sons and grandson of bankers, and the gossip of snobs and social climbers. But we also examine their thoughts and we walk through the party without failing to observe the bends of their hypocracies. Ixtab willtry anyway to be accepted in high society and became that ellegant and worldy woman she desires to be. She thinks she desrves to belong in this world and doesn´t concieve of another way of life. For that she has have to fake her identity, invent a prosperous and respectable past and condem herself to live the lie.
For me, the image is exactly the same as the music—it starts where the words end. The cinematic language goes beyond what is written in the script. The lights, the colours, the shot frames, the music, the rhythm and the spaces, are not mere background pieces, they are part of the visual expression of an emotional experience. In Ixtab, we are subjected to a sad and cruel story that displays the hypocrisy of high society, their struggle to maintain a reputation and their capability to escape the people who cannot adapt to their way of life. At the same time, it is a story of beautiful images, aesthetics, and glamour. There is a contrast between the beauty of the form and the bitterness of the background.
An aristocratic night, a dance and a society as a stage The characters dance incessantly, a continuous movement, gracefully and ethereal like the flow of the camera that dances around them. It is as if the eye of the audience is taken around them listening to the conversations, lifting the veil of deception. The camera spans to panoramic, aerial and ___ to show the deveolpment of the sequences, but it also stops following the story in details such as glassware, jewels, dresses and gossip, acting as symbols of universal masks. Ixtab and her partner, in their own world, dance subtly like lovers in a dream able to stop the time. When they get to the top of the spiral staircase, Ixtab, leans out and toasts everybody who belong to the decadent and elegant world. For once naked of the artificial and social facade, their image is as fragile as an abandonded baby. After the toast, her glass falls into a void.
The music practices double-dealing: on one hand it accompanies the feast and the dance, like a live orchestra, and on the other, it narrates the screeching and decadent distortion of the characters. The sound is centred on frivolous, strident and exaggerated dialogues: -Would you believe it? He almost stood me up for his wife – Steve deceives Maya. Who told you that? The girl at the nail salon. – Mrs Kingswood, would you like a drink? Let us not waster our time on drinks. Kitty knew Proust! How wonderful! How was it? Horrible! I cannot stand men with small hands; you know what they say right? Small hands mean everything else is small. Following the same rule, big hands mean, well, everything else is big And malicious gossip and murmuring: -She never liked him but the life he lived. –She never stopped being an ordinary woman – they say he was the one who wanted the divorce that is why she shot him with a shotgun – when the police came they did not even ask about him, they asked about his jewels – the prince and the chorister, pathetic.
Her biggest fear is poverty because she has lived in it. –What’s wrong with wanting to prosper in life? Would you have wanted to live in the farm where I was born? I want to be rich, very rich, so rich that even the rich people themselves say that I am rich. For the people in high society, Ixtab is an ordinary woman, very frugal, with the stench of perfume, blood red nails and eye shadow in the afternoon. A chorister—dressed as one and looks like one. –You never know what to do when your children bring home these middle-class citizens and say that they are in love. You would want to scream to warn them, as loud as you can, because all these could only end up in a disaster. But Ixtab achieves her goal and enters that very impenetrable world; she manages to create a perfect image of a perfect life. She marries an elegant man where she contributes mischief to the relationship. They were made for each other, they say. Up until the word ADULTERY appears in their lives, and the word Ixtab is most afraid of is DIVORCE.
Slim and slender women on their dance shoes with precious stones and diamonds. Elegant men and immensely rich. Mediocre characters, presumptuous, stupid, rickety morale, with their time dedicated to feeding the rumours in the society or to satisfy their vanity. They are very ominous lives, without sentimental stability, constant restlessness and dissatisfaction, very attentive to the society’s opinion. Always observing a certain standard of correctness and appearance, and without revealing these sentiments. Ixtab is a victim of hypocrisy, prejudice and cruelty, a privileged class that does not forgive the mistakes of arrivistes who are not as rich as them. With the excuse of a scandal (was it her who fired the gun?), they will determine her condemnation and her inevitable downfall.
Ixtab’s partner symbolizes death that approaches and seduces her. She toys with him, she sings to his ear (you came out of nowhere, the lyrics say), she gets a lipstick and gives herself some sheen. He leans in to kiss her and she follows him, closing her eyes, in a public display of affection. When she opens her eyes again, she finds herself in a cruel gaze of a guest who feigns shooting with an imaginary shotgun directing to her head. There is an eerie silence and everybody stops dancing. The guest pretends to pull the trigger and shouts loudly BANG BANG, reacting his body against the imaginary force of the shot and therefore recreating the possible assassination of Ixtab’s husband. Then, he lets down the imaginary shotgun while looking into her eyes. Ixtab continues going up the stairs with her partner while she confesses –I took a bottle of vodka from the cocktail cabinet, I sat on my dressing table, I put on make up and sprayed perfume. I took off the sapphire rings and diamonds and observed their reflection on the mirror. I called my mother-in-law and told her that I was sorry, I was sorry for interrupting her while playing bridge. Her partner whispers to her—do you want to come with me?
Suicide is a major public health issue that nevertheless stays hidden in the eyes of a citizen. The media of communication ignore the reality that provokes more victims than traffic accidents, the governments never manage to include this in their agenda, and in general, people think of suicide as an exceptional event, almost fictional, something that only happens to others. But it is about an essentially humane option that when it takes place, it heavily affects us. At present, a million people take their own lives every year in a society that prefers to hide the things they do not understand, with everybody else’s conspiracy, using their old-fashioned understanding of it as a crime or a sin, that has for centuries stigmatised this extreme manifestation of human suffering. The best way to contribute to its prevention is to learn and to acknowledge the suicidal look, those eyes that seek for help even without saying anything, and start by articulating them.