0012: The Smiling Madame Beudet (1923)

Rating: 9/10

A short film by French Impressionist Film Maker, Germaine Dulac. Madame Beudet is unhappy in her marriage and dreams of a better life.

Being that I started releasing two reviews a day, and on Friday’s I review video games now, I thought the other review I did on Friday’s could be films from that list I started the review for. I mean, I guess I can do that. But, as always, I can do what I want, it’s my blog.

This film feels very ahead of its time. It uses a lot of special effects and film camera techniques to show different parts of the story. A woman feels trapped with her husband and is only waiting for escape? why not show the passage of time with a light moving back and forth superimposed over her image lying in bed? This is great way to convey emotions like this, and these types of FX are still being used today.

As a fun fact, this is the film many consider to be the first feminist movie because it has a strong female lead who is trying to get out of a failed marriage during a time when the social rule was “once you were married, you stayed married!” I would say that the messages this film conveys are powerful, even today, but were probably much more potent at the time.

I do have a complaint about this film, and I think it might be what the director was going for and not a mistake. But when the woman is feeling tortured, isolated, and in waiting, it becomes kind of boring for a bit. Again, this is probably on purpose so the audience feels what she feels, but I know this same emotion can be shown in better ways that don’t make me itching for something more exciting to happen. It does become a very thrilling film after this point, but it’s a hump one has to get over to get to these better, more dramatic, moments.

SCORING:

+10: An amazing short film way ahead of its time

-1: It becomes stagnant for a few scenes, but during a point when the story is meant to be stagnant, but today I think most films would just skip those parts

Tips are appreciated!

1.00 $

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