Exploring Beauty

Bruce Von Stiers

Kseniya Yorsh is a young filmmaker. Her films include the documentary Poly, and two short films I have reviewed, Unorthodox and Love In Porn. Besides these films, Kseniya also put together another documentary short. This one is titled Mask Up and it examines the perceived beauty of women from the viewpoints of both men and women.

Kseniya not only produced the film, she also wrote and directed it. Elizabeth Whalen was the cinematographer and Shea Waldorf did the music. Michelle Flores edited and did camera and sound work, while Matt Barrieres and Leia Luo did the art work. This film is fairly short, only a little over eight and a half minutes in length.

The film starts out with a voice-over of a young woman telling of how it takes her two and a half hours to properly apply her makeup. And how most men don't understand the stress the women have trying to look a specific way to appeal to them. But from the male perspective on making themselves appealing, we learn it's just brushing your teeth, combing your hair and taking a shower at least once a day. Not exactly polar opposites but there is definitely quite a chasm between the two perspectives.

Holly is the young woman in the voice-over. We see her applying makeup as she explains her view on how the world looks at women and their beauty. Or lack of beauty. And how women are rated by appearances in obtaining jobs and much more.

Sam and Andre are two guys who have some definite opinions on how men look at and treat women. Is it the physical beauty, the personality, the desire to have someone beautiful to touch and hold? They talk about these aspects of male perception and much more. ,

But does the makeup that women put on represent who they really are? Does wearing makeup give a woman a better sense of purpose, make her more self-assured? Or is it a mask to show the world, not a true representation of who she really is? This is kind of what my take of the theme of the film is.

I know I probably shouldn't say this, but my heart really went out to the young woman, Holly. She seemed to feel that by having all of that makeup on, the world looked at her differently. Being made up caused her to be more self-assured and confident. But isn't inner beauty and who a woman is as a person what truly makes her appealing to others? Or is it just superficial beauty, enhanced at times by makeup? That is definitely a dilemma that is not easily answered, although the film does give some interesting perspective on those ideas.

Mask Up was definitely an interesting film. It made me think about how we do gauge superficial beauty. And whether we would get to know the real person behind the mask without it? Do men really expect every woman to look like a super model? Or can inner beauty prevail over outer beauty enhanced by makeup?

Kseniya made Mask Up a couple of years ago as a school project. But now, having some success with her other films, Kseniya would like the world to see this film as well. So now Mask Up is making the rounds at various film festivals. You might check out your local film festivals to see if Mask Up is on the schedule.


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© 2017 Bruce E Von Stiers