Erdgeist belongs 100% to Asta, unsurprisingly. Surrounded by nothing but idiot men, she's so good I just started listing breathless adjectives until I hit the character limit. Mainly, though, she's magnetic. The film itself is good, and the sets and costumes are brilliant and vital parts of it. As Wedekind adaptation, I far prefer it to Pandora's Box - it's less concerned with realism, as befits such a stupid story.
So much corruption in this film; it's so heavy, murky, insatiable and lewd. A broken soul becomes a bottomless barrel; the cracks in its walls make whatever fills it leak out and ask incessantly for a refill, never fulfilled, always craving for satiation, ever empty and dry. Lulu is a Danaid, she doesn’t act out of revenge or spite, because that would be a program, a steady pillar in the vacuum, her redemption; the
“Nielsen’s gestures, the wealth of her mimic expressions, is fascinating.The extraordinary artistic standard of Asta Nielsen’s eroticism stems from its absolute intellectual quality. It is the eyes, not the flesh, that are of most importance.This spiritualized eroticism is dangerously demoniacal as it comes through all clothing.” - Bela Balazs on Nielsen’s performance in Erdgeist