Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Smiling Madame Beudet (La souriante Madame Beudet) 1922 **


Lisez-vous français? Translation: Do you read French? If not, this 1922 avant-garde silent is probably not for you, as it is VERY difficult to find with English title cards. It's less than an hour long, so I guess you could struggle along, but this is an experimental film--and we all know how difficult some of these can be to understand when there's an English translation...

beudet The first female director in our 1001 collection, Germaine Dulac is often studied in feminist film classes. This film follows the life of the title character, Madame Beudet; a very bored French housewife whose daydreams (the only things that make her smile) are often interrupted by her clueless husband. This leads to a daydream about killing him. The end of the film is quite comical, as the wife fails in her murder attempt and the husband remains oblivious as ever to what she had tried to do.

Like any good feminist film, this one explores the unpleasantness of patriarchy through the eyes of a female. The dream sequences and special effects are pretty nifty for the time. Not a favorite of mine, but it is watchable.

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