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

The Surreal Impressions of Germaine Dulac

The Seashell and the Clergyman
September 15, 2018 -
September 23, 2018

Suffragette, journalist, theorist and feminist filmmaker 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 Parisian upbringing allowed for early encounters with the arts, her first professional foray was as editor for the suffrage journal La Française and the radically feminist La Fronde, both socially-activated publications of the 1910s. 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 de Napierkowsa, 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 22 fiction films (nine of which are considered “lost”), but in particular to her “technical studies,” her Films musicaux (musical films), and her Disques illustrées (record illustrations).

Perhaps best known for The Seashell and the Clergyman, which history has proven to be the first Surrealist film, pre-dating the first screening of Un Chien Andalou by one year, Dulac’s hands-on influence reached deep into her national film culture: she contributed significant pieces on moving image theory, including the article Mise-en-scène; co-founded and was acting secretary to Club Français du Cinema, a hub for film clubs throughout France and a network for avant-garde exhibition; and served as a key 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.

Programs & Events

Image Title Date and Time Location Buy Tickets
The Seashell and the Clergyman


September 15, 2018 - 3:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The Smiling Madame Beudet

La souriante Madame Beudet  /  La folie des vaillants

September 21, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
La Princesse Mandane

La Princesse Mandane

September 22, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Disque illustrée

Films Musicaux, Disques Illustrées and Documentary Work

September 23, 2018 - 3:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater