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UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, and Los Angeles Filmforum present

The Cinematic Impressions of Germaine Dulac

The Seashell and the Clergyman
September 15, 2018 -
September 22, 2018

Please note: the September 23 program has been cancelled.

Feminist theater critic, filmmaker and theorist Germaine Dulac (1882-1942) fervently pushed the boundaries of silent cinematic art, playing an integral role in the development of the first avant-garde in Europe and beyond. Though Dulac’s largely Parisian upbringing allowed for early encounters with the arts, her first professional foray was a writer for the women's progress journal La Française, which sprang from the radically feminist La Fronde, both socially-activated publications of the early 1900s. Her work as a writer produced interviews with and biographies of the most influential, powerful women of her time, and served to strengthen her connections to both the art world and the political sphere.

After finding inspiration through her close friend and first female lover, actress, dancer and filmmaker Stasia Napierkowska, Dulac founded D.H. Films with poet Irene Hillel-Erlanger in 1915, where her affinity for music, theater, and dance were culled into her unique directorial eye. For Dulac, the moving image was closely intertwined with music, lending a lyricism and visual poetry to each of her 30 fiction films (nine of which are considered “lost”), but in particular to her experimental “technical studies,” or “abstract” films, as well as her commissioned films musicaux (musical films) and her disques illustrées (record illustrations).

Perhaps best known for The Seashell and the Clergyman, an "experiment in rhythm" that history recognizes as the first Surrealist film, pre-dating the first screening of Un Chien Andalou by more than one year, Dulac’s hands-on influence reached deep into both national and international film culture: she contributed significant pieces on moving image theory, including the early article "Mise-en-scène," and "La Musique du Silence;" was founding President of the French Federation of Cine-Clubs, a network for film clubs and avant-garde exhibition throughout France; and served as an organizer of the Société des auteurs de films, an association that attempted to form cohesive guidelines of ownership for independent, artist-made works. This September, the Archive is pleased to present 13 of the artist’s long- and short-form works from each stage in her exquisite career.

All films directed by Germaine Dulac.

Special thanks: Amélie Garin-Davet and Mathieu Fournet (New York), Séverine Madinier and Lise de Sablet (Los Angeles), Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Dan Sullivan, Film Society of Lincoln Center; Tami Williams, curatorial advisor and author of Germaine Dulac: A Cinema of Sensations.

Los Angeles Filmforum members receive free admission to this series at the Billy Wilder Theater box office!

Past Programs & Events

Title Date and Time Location
La Princesse Mandane

La Princesse Mandane

Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The Smiling Madame Beudet

La Souriante Madame Beudet  /  La Folie des vaillants

Friday, September 21, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The Seashell and the Clergyman


Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 3:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater