Sog.: dal testo teatrale omonimo. Scen.: Germaine Dulac. F.: Henri Stuckert, Georges Daret. Scgf.: G. Silvagni, Georges Quenu. Ass. regia: Marie-Anne Malleville. Int.: Ève Francis (Antoinette Sabrier), Gabriel Gabrio (Germain Sabrier), Jean Toulout (Jamagne), Yvette Armell (Hélène Doreuil), Paul Guidé (René Dangenne), Paul Menant (Chartrain), Maurice Cervières (Gaston Doreuil, consigliere di Mr. Sabrier), Ashida (la ballerina), Lou Davy. Prod.: Société des Cinéromans. 35mm. L.: 1517 m (l. orig.: 2300 m). D.: 66′ a 20 f/s. Bn. Imbibito / Tinted.
Based on a play by Romain Coolus, whose work Dulac reviewed as a young theater critic in 1908, her commercial and controversial Ève Francis vehicle, Antoinette Sabrier, is the tale of a beautiful, independent, and sexually liberated woman, torn between her oil-baron husband (Gabriel Gabrio) and her lover (Paul Guidé). A nuanced portrayal of the negotiation of duty and desire, this portrait of a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage to an inattentive husband, and deprived of an unrequited love might be seen as an unofficial sequel to Dulac’s earlier feminine portraits (Countess d’Amaury in La Belle Dame sans merci, the heroine of La Souriante Madame Beudet). However, it is not a simple theatrical adaptation. Playing on the dramatic registers of both atmosphere and human intimacy, Dulac employs a variety of cinematic techniques such as slow motion and editing to “describe through external rhythms”, such as the erotic pulsations of an industrial oil rig, or the harmonious gestures of dance, “the inner rhythms of character emotions”. As she had done for La Folie des vaillants, Dulac also shot multiple endings for the film, one in keeping with the suicidal ending of the original play, as well as another more conservative ending solicited by distributors. Multiple copies of the film exist: while the most festive scenes and original ending are cut from a Catholic edition, the most colorful version of the film features a beautiful fête with oriental costumes, decors, and a startling harakiri performance prefiguring the husband’s crisis. This latter is featured here.