The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged
First, you might have guessed (if you know me), that’s not me. That’s Blanche Sweet, a silent-era film actress who starred in a number of D.W. Griffith’s movies including The Painted Lady (where this gif is taken from) and Judith of Bethulia. She’s one of my favorites (I’m slowly working my way through the history of film according to a big World History of Film book that I got out of the Ann Arbor District Library).
The reason that I chose this shot to gif is because the story of the movie (scroll down for the embedded version, well worth the watch, it’s only 15 minutes long or so) seemed to fit with what I felt like were some of the themes possible with a “head disappearing gif,” meaning a loss of identity, a fear of feeling or seeming invisible to other people.
The Painted Lady is about an unnamed woman who, because of her father’s rules, declines to wear makeup or dress up to meet men. Because she doesn’t dress up, men ignore her. The only one to pay any attention to her is a man who is really after information on the woman’s father’s business dealings. After she [SPOILER ALERT] catches him burgling her father’s papers and shoots him (not knowing at the time whom she is shooting), the woman dies of grief. This shot is from the woman’s final moments alone on a bridge, where she imagines meeting her suitor again, miming the motions of their first meeting. Here she looks at the mirror; she is about to flip out, disgusted by her appearance, but here she is still hopeful [END UNNECESSARY SPOILER ALERT].
The second problem is that I wound up making part of the pole behind her disappear, not just her head. When I had the gif in photoshop, though, I mistook that part of the pole for a kind of halo around Blanche Sweet’s head, even though there’s no obvious light source there. I still like that interpretation a little, though, so I didn’t fix it.
Here’s another gif pulled from the movie, and an earlier head-replacement gif that didn’t quite work out like I wanted, and the movie The Painted Lady.