Teatro Comunale di Bologna > 17:00


Germaine Dulac

Music composed and performed by Maud Nelissen at the piano. With the soprano Wynanda Zeevaareder and the baritone Willem Korteling


Saturday 29/08/2020


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Written, directed, and produced by Germaine Dulac, based on an idea of her former companion Irène Hillel-Erlanger, La Belle Dame sans merci is one of the director’s most personal and most modern realizations. In addition to intensifying her earlier use of gesture and movement, of sport and dance, to express her feminist ideals, this film is a vehicle that expands Dulac’s experimental repertoire through the use of narrative techniques such as caricature and parody. The Belle Dame is a beautiful and talented actress, called Lola de Sandoval (Tania Daleyme). Yet, having been mistreated by her former lover the Count d’Amaury (Jean Toulout), this modern city woman uses and disposes of men as she sees fit. She is presented in contrast to the traditional women of the provinces, whom she will later confront, with respect to her stigmatization as a femme fatale. La Belle Dame sans merci is also one of the first films that Dulac presented at the opening of the new cine-club CASA, in her continuing efforts to educate the public on the art of cinema. A transcript from this presentation provides us with key insights into the originality of her approach. Dulac compared it to that used in Impressionist painting: “My film is not a film of action. Following an Impressionist method, I employed notations. And for an Impressionist painting to come together, one shouldn’t show a small parcel of colors, but all colors, and each one separately is such a small touch that we only see its significance in the blending of the ensemble”. She also explained the epilogue as a result of the obligation to give the film a conservative, happy ending: “At the end of La Belle Dame sans merci, there are a hundred or so meters that are there so that the story has a happy ending. We should take great care to take into account, the small obligations imposed from a commercial standpoint. They don’t matter”.

Tami Williams, Toward the Development of a Modern ‘Impressionist’ Cinema: Germaine Dulac’s La Belle Dame sans merci (1921) and the Deconstruction of the Femme Fatale Archetype, “Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media”, vol. 51, n. 2, Fall 2010

Cast and Credits

F.: Jacques Oliver. Int.: Yolande Hille (Irene), Tania Daleyme (Lola de Sandoval), Jean Toulout (conte Guy d’Amaury), Denise Lorys (contessa d’Amaury), Jean Tarride (Hubert d’Amaury), Pierre Mareg (marchese de Saint-Erasme), Lucien Glen, Louis Monfils. Prod.: Germaine Dulac per DH Films. 35mm. L.: 1790 m. D.: 87’ a 18 f/s. Col. (from a tinted and toned nitrate print).

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