Germaine Dulac's earliest surviving feature -- albeit in an erratically chipped copy -- is a story about the old man Gabriel Signoret (41, albeit in a white wig) married to a young woman, Andrée Brabant. He's an archeologist working on a new display of the mummy of a young Egyptian princess whose elderly husband grew jealous and had her killed with a poisoned seedcake. Signoret grows suspicious that Mlle Brabant is carrying on with Jules Raucourt, whose twin professions are dancing and golf. Determined to kill himself, he poisons a cigarette, puts it in his case, and writes a note to be discovered after he uses it at random. Immediately people start bumming smokes off him, including the innocent missus. I first encountered Mme. Dulac's movies in the winter of 2003-2004, when a program of them played at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Each film was preceded by a lecture by an earnest young woman. Reading from notes, at each showing she informed the audience that Dulac was a Lesbian and a woman, and that was why she was an important film maker. I preferred to look at the movies instead of being told they were important. I discovered she was a highly competent film maker whose male characters behaved stupidly, often selfishly, occasionally villainously. viewed as. a corrective to the vamp movie, it might be considered turbabout in fair play. However, she had a propensity for dragging out the big scene past my patience. In short, I found her movies tiresome. Perhaps it is bumptious of me, but this one strikes me as more of the same. Dulac fills the screen with images of Mlle Brabant's innocence. She kisses white doves around the house's fountain.She plays with a white dog. She is vivacious and flirty, but she's fond of the old fellow, little though he deserves it. Just like all men.
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A Parisian museum director believes his wife has lost interest in him and so places a poisoned cigarette in the box on his desk - thus allowing chance to decide the moment of his death.
August 26, 2020