Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 17:00


Musidora, Jacques Lasseyne
Introduced by

Annette Förster

Piano accompaniment by

Gabriel Thibaudeau

Presentazione del libro Women in Silent Cinema – Histories of Fame and Fate (2016), di Annette Förster


Tuesday 27/06/2017


Original version with simultaneous translation through headphones


Film Notes

In the 1940s, Musidora recollected her ambitions with Soleil et ombre, as she explained them to her cinematographer, Frank Daniau-Johnston: “I think that a film […] should have images so beautiful that one can appreciate them still in twenty years”. The images Musidora created as the scenarist, co-director and actress in double roles in this film shot in Andalusia are indeed pictographic, making the most of the harsh contrasts between sun and shadow as well as of the local architectural features and landscape. The sites and objects convey an atmosphere and moods that give a heart-searching depth to the tragic love story of an Andalusian girl in love with a bull fighter who abandons her for a foreign blonde. The shot in which the girl’s face is shown behind traditional Andalusian gratings is an evocative representation of her sentiments of being caged by her love. Likewise expressive are the subtle parallels drawn in the editing between the pain and the rage of the bull and the intimate suffering of the girl. Thanks to Musidora’s acting and to the stern images the film is the reverse of the sentimental victimization story it could have easily been. Rather, Soleil et ombre offers a merciless investigation of the cruelty of rejected love.
We can only speculate on what may have appealed to Colette, such as the on-location shooting, the authenticity of the costumes and Musidora’s photogenic acting in the role of the girl. Musidora and Colette were personal and professional friends since 1908. The two films on which they actually worked together, La Vagabonde (1917, after Colette’s novel) and La Flamme cachée (1918, after Colette’s original scenario) are not known to be extant today.
Annette Förster, Women in the Silent Cinema. Histories of Fame and Fate, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2017

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dalla novella L’Espagnole di Maria Star. F.: Frank Daniau-Johnston. M.: Nini Bonnefoy. Scgf.: Musidora. Mus.: Jacques Roques. Int.: Musidora (Juana/la straniera), Antonio Canero (Antonio de Baena), Simone Cynthia (l’amica di Juana), Paul Vermoyal (l’antiquario), Miguel Sánchez (il segretario). Prod.: Société des Films Musidora. 35mm. L.: 891 m (incompleto, l. orig.: 1325 m). D.: 43’ a 18 f/s. Bn


Film Notes

Considered lost forever, the film was recently found after an inventory at Cinémathèque française. Only one reel of tinted nitrate in poor condition remains: the film was originally 1440 meters long, while the recently found one measures only 335. It could be the second reel of a total of five. A duplicate negative and a Desmet print were made from the nitrate fragment.

Céline Ruivo

Cast and Credits

Prod.: Société des Films Musidora. DCP. D.: 16’. B&W and tinted