Germaine Dulac

Sog.: dalla pièce omonima (1920) di Denys Amiel e André Obey. Scen.: Germaine Dulac, André Obey. F.: Maurice Forster, Paul Parguel. Scgf.: M. Delattre. Int.: Germaine Dermoz (Madeleine Beudet), Alexandre Arquillière (signor Beudet), Jean d’Yd (signor Labas), Madeleine Guitty (signora Labas), Yvette Grisier (cameriera), Raoul Paoli (giocatore di tennis), Armand Thirard (commesso). Prod.: Charles Delac, Marcel Vandal per Le Film d’Art – Vandal et Delac. 35mm. L.: 770 m. D.: 38’ a 18 f/s. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In 1922, the trailblazing feminist, filmmaker, and film theorist Germaine Dulac worked with sportswriter and music lover André Obey to adapt his successful avant-garde play to the screen. While not her first feminist film, Dulac’s impressionist La Souriante Madame Beudet marks a crucial turning point in film history with its incomparable portrayal of female (even queer) subjectivity through specifically cinematic means. The plot: Madeleine Beudet (Germaine Dermoz), a woman with modern aspirations, seeks to escape an oppressive marriage to Mr Beudet, a businessman with traditional bourgeois values and classic tastes (Alexandre Arquillière). Yet, through the careful juxtaposition of realist and symbolist elements, Dulac, a seasoned dramatic critic, also puts forth an original, highly sophisticated discourse on cinema’s aesthetic modernity in relation to theater and the other arts. From on-location shooting exposing in rapid, discrete touches the natural grey tones of a stifling provincial life, to the subtle symbolist acting of Dermoz as Mme. Beudet set in contrast to the hieratic gesticulations of boulevard theater actor Arquillière as Mr Beudet, Dulac draws up a complex and unforgettable portrait of the heroine’s bleak and unpromising future, while glimmers of a dream world establish the stakes of cinema’s battle for medium specificity.

Tami Williams

Copy From

Restored by EYE Filmmuseum at Haghefilm laboratory from a 35mm nitrate print preserved at Cinémathèque suisse