Skip to content

The face of Keira Knightley

After Garbo, after Hepburn

After Garbo, after Hepburn

Roland Barthes, in his essay, ‘The face of Garbo‘ found that the presentation of Greta Garbo’s face – in the perfection of its beauty – resembled a mask of antiquity; in consequence it approximated a Platonic Idea of the human. It seemed to have been fashioned in heaven. Overall, Garbo represented the cool essence of rational beauty. In contrast Audrey Hepburn’s look – her charm – reflected a certain quirkiness and the idiosyncrasy of actual individual existence. Both, of course, were extremely beautiful.

But what of the supremely expressive beauty of Keira Knightley? Maybe it is a synthesis of Garbo and Hepburn: perfect – yet marked by certain seductive particularities. Her face, though, evades the mask: it is too sensitive, too human. She presents to the viewer a moment in cinema that resists the environing culture of vulgarity. Knightley’s face escapes the cage of language; beyond words, its manifestation delights, an au dela face, a face that stills – then moves – the soul.

Note: These paragraphs are taken from a longer essay on portrayals of the face in portraiture.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: