The Smiling Madame Beudet (La Souriante Madame Beudet) (1923)

dir. Germaine Dulac. Silent film from feminist avant-garde filmmaker, Germaine Dulac. A dark comedy centering on Madame Beudet, who is married to a boorish garment maker who ignores, torments, and mocks her. She devises a plan to dispose of him, by using one of his irritating gags against himself. There are some charming special effects using double exposures, such as Madame Beudet daydreaming about a handsome tennis player coming alive from a magazine and carrying her husband away. Germaine Dermoz is Madame Beudet, giving a very real, naturalist performance, as she flips through a magazine, rearranges the flowers, or simply stares into the mirror whilst combing her hair. The title is ironic, given that Madame Beudet has little to smile about, outside her rich inner life of fantasy.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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