• Thèmes et variations
  • Étude cinégraphique sur une arabesque
  • The Smiling Madame Beudet

schedule

The Smiling Madame Beudet and Abstract Shorts by Germaine Dulac

  • Judith Rosenberg
    On Piano

In The Smiling Madame Beudet, considered by many to be Germaine Dulac’s masterpiece, she uses all the cinematic means at her disposal to tell the story of the frustrations and fantasies of a young wife, trapped in a loveless marriage with a boorish husband. Here female desire is inherently deviant and can only be expressed through the imagination. Dulac gives us access to Madame Beudet’s inner life through the use of a variety of effects (special lenses, superimpositions, odd angles, a focus on repeated gestures) so that we see and feel the marriage through her eyes. In the late 1920s, Dulac embarked on an intense period of radical aesthetic exploration, implementing some of the ideas she had been writing about in her essays on the avant-garde in her abstract shorts Thèmes et variations, Étude cinégraphique sur une arabesque, and Disque 957. While sometimes inspired by pieces of music and using often recognizable imagery—mechanical, organic, and human forms in motion—the focus in these films was on rhythms, light, and movement. In Dulac’s words: “Lines, surfaces, volumes evolving directly, without the artifice of evocations, in the logic of their forms, freed from any too human meaning to better elevate themselves to abstraction and to give more space to sensations and dreams: integral cinema.”
—Irina Leimbacher

Films in this Screening

Étude cinégraphique sur une arabesque

Germaine Dulac, France, 1929

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • Silent
  • 7 mins
source
  • Light Cone

Thèmes et variations

Germaine Dulac, France, 1928

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • Silent
  • 9 mins
source
  • Light Cone

Disque 957

Germaine Dulac, France, 1928

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 16mm
  • Silent
  • 6 mins
source
  • Light Cone

The Smiling Madame Beudet
(La souriante Madame Beudet)

Germaine Dulac, France, 1923

FEATURING
Germaine Dermoz
Alex Arquillière
Jean d'Yd
Grisier

FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • André Obey
Based On
  • a play by Denys Amiel and André Obey

Cinematographer
  • A. Morrin
Language
  • Silent
  • with French intertitles and English electronic titling
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 16mm
  • Silent
  • 38 mins
source
  • Light Cone