The Spanish Fete was credited by historian Georges Sadoul as the film that launched France’s first cinematographic avant-garde, the Impressionist movement.This surviving collage of two or three short extracts also employs outdoor settings, naturalistic acting, and, as Jean Epstein noted, a reflection on movement and rhythm, the key features of Dulac’s approach to cinema. In the original film, two male protagonists fight to the death over attractive Soledad, who, unaffected by their combat, leaves with a third male. Similar to La Cigarette (1919), this film reflects the post-war crisis in masculinity and the gap between men’s and women’s experience of the war. —Avant-Garde Film Festival
Germaine Dulac (17 November 1882, Amiens, France – 20 July 1942, Paris) was a French film director and early film theorist. Famously, she directed The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928), based on a scenario by Antonin Artaud. This film has been credited as the first surrealist film, released shortly before Un Chien Andalou (1929) by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí. However, other scholars, including Ephraim Katz, consider her an Impressionist filmmaker.
In 1920, at the height of the film Avant-Garde movement, its only female member Germaine Dulac released her tenth film La Belle Dame Sans Merci, which she wrote in collaboration with her friend Irene Hillel-Erlanger, a surrealist poet also known as Claude Lorey. In Hillel-Erlanger’s words La Belle Dame Sans Merci is “une histoire comme il y en a dans la vie de chacun de nous… riche de ces chocs et mouvements intimes qui bouleversent les coeurs et les ames”. This definition is evocative of melodrama… read more