Symbolism in The Neon Demon


Yesterday I wrote a short post about Nicolas Winding Refn’s film The Neon Demon and why I thought it was influenced by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Jodorowsky’s films are loaded with esoteric images. I think Refn’s are as well, but they use a different esoteric alphabet. 

In Jodorowsky’s films we see things like thaumaturgic triangles, Qabbalistic letteting, Enochian symbols, and post-hippie age of Aquarius sigil a cast off and rusting into obscurity. These existed in the world, were once imbued with meaning by occultists, but are largely meaningless. Films like El Topo and Holy Mountain include these symbols for shock, but also because of their director’s hodgepodge jaloppy mysticism. 



The symbols have meaning, but are assembled for an unknowable spiritual purpose by a probable con man. 

Refn is said to have started dressing more fashionably after beginning The Neon Demon. This is a magickal act. To become the thing you are creating is an act of will. The film becomes a sigil enabling the will. By summoning The Neon Demon Refn has become an arbiter of beauty. His eye matters now because he has just told us it does. We believe him. And we believe him again when we are told Jesse is the most beautiful of the LA vampire models. 


In the film Jesse’s break comes when a brilliant photographer decides to shoot her. He forces her to remove her clothes during a test shoot. She complies after he has seen all of her and he shoots her again. During the second shoot he covers her in gold. His eye gives her value and he manifests this by gilding her with his own hands. 

Corpses become erotic altars. Virgins are sacrificed. But to what gods? To who’s benefit? Is this retro tinged futuristic ritual even a thing? 


I have no idea what any of this means. It does make me think about what I would become if I made a film to manifest it. What life could I manifest myself? Is there really no limit? 

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