Scen.: Antonin Artaud; F.: Paul Guichard; Ass. R.: Louis Ronjat; Int.: Alexander Allin (il prete), Genica Athanasiou (la ragazza), Lucien Bataille (l’ufficiale); Prod.: Germaine Dulac 35mm. L.: 816 m. D.: 40’ a 18 f/s. Bn.
During its first public projection on 9 February 1928, this film, which is based on a script by surrealist poet Antonin Artaud, became the object of a sharp and lively polemic that has long been used to discredit Dulac. While certain considered it a betrayal of Artaud’s text, it can also be reread in the context of Dulac’s conception of cinema as an essay on rhythm. Indeed, in describing the film, she writes, “my entire effort has been to search for the harmonic points in the action of Antonin Artaud’s script, and to link them through well-thought-out composed rhythms. (…) Two sorts of rhythm exist: the rhythm of the image and the rhythm of images. That is, a gesture should have a length which corresponds to the harmonic value of its expression and which is dependent on the rhythm that precedes or follows it: rhythm in the image. Then, rhythm of images: a chord of several harmonies. I can say that not one image of The Clergyman was delivered by chance (…) the effects had less importance for me than the tempo, rhythm, and visual orchestration, of which they were only one component.” The copy presented here was recently restored from four different 35mm copies by the Nederlands Filmmuseum.