A somewhat comical look at hair. Yes, you read that correctly. Hair. Director Anka Schmid (Wild Women: Gentle Beasts, Against All Odds) was born in 1961 and takes us through human life in relation to hair. In particular how she has a relationship with hair. From the time of her birth until she is older.
Through telling her own relationship with hair – from as a baby and being placed in her father’s hairy arms to recognizing the difference between male and female hair to being obsessed with Pippi Longstocking because of her crazy orange hair that seemed to give her power – she connects it with hair for the general population. Meaning recognizing hair as having the potential for political statement or simple adornment. This makes you realize that hair is important and always there – even when it isn’t. For instance, how she adored Charlie Chaplin the actor. How he made he laugh and cry. She was surprised to find out when not on screen that he did not have a mustache and how she would have never recognized him. Recognizing how much power a little bit of facial hair above the upper lip could have.
The film does not only concern itself only with hair on the head, but all forms like body, pubic and facial. Using some film clips, stock footage and stop motion brings you through some surprises. Surprises in that I did not expect a tongue in cheek film about hair to be so educational and make me think about hair differently.
How Hitler wearing a little patch of a mustache and being the psychopath that he was led to that mustache becoming synonymous with facism and other horrors. We now use the Hitler mustache as a form of insult or labelling for a person we see as evil. From there we move on to Angela Davis’s Afro becoming a symbol for civil rights. Artist Cindy Sherman using hair in her pieces. What would Stalin or Salvador Dali have been without their distinctive facial hair? Is it a manifestation of their power or creativity? How humans have been known to keep a lock of hair of a loved or deceased one. Strange? Creepy? Normal?
Then there is the whole, almost ritualistic or obsessive, way we take care of it. Brushing, dyeing, styling, blow drying, washing, cutting, etc. It matters to us how it looks, smells and feels. That includes all hair – pubic, facial, eyebrows, nose, ear, and body. We love to run our fingers through it, stroke it, touch it, and watch it as it moves. It can tell you how a person is feeling. If it is dirty it might mean the person is distracted or depressed. If the hair on a person’s arms is standing up it could be that they are frightened or cold. Hair gives us information. The potential for this seemingly just decorative things is endless.
Whether we are talking about human daily life or art, hair has grown (see what I did there?!) to become a part of it. All hail the power of hair!