- Once (2006)
- All the President's Men (1976)
- Being John Malkovich (1999)
- In the Year of the Pig (1968)
- In The Mood For Love (2000)
- Hole, The (1960)
- Tokyo Story (1953)
- Ocean’s Eleven Blu-Ray Review
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- Gilda (1946)
- Rounders (1998)
- Masque of the Red Death, The (1964)
- Django Unchained (2012)
- Fat City (1972)
- Amélie (2001)
- All That Jazz (1979)
- Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
- King of Comedy, The (1983)
- Manhattan (1979)
- Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
- Sullivan's Travels (1941)
- Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994)
- Hecklefest Four-Word Film Reviews! August '12 - Week 4
- Playtime (1967)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
- Haunted Castle, The (1921)
- Last Wave, The (1977)
- Naked Lunch (1991) * Weird and Wacky *
- Phantom Carriage, The (1921)
- Lolita (1962)
Souriante Madame Beudet, La (1922)
Genre: Silent Avant-Garde Drama (France)
Starring: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière
Directed By: Germaine Dulac (The Seashell and the Clergyman)
Overview: Considered the first feminist film, this is a 32-minute look into the life of a woman in a loveless marriage.
What's with the wife not smiling! It's the husband who's smiling! They must have made a mistake in the title, or are you trying to be sarcastic?! Seriously, cast someone with facial muscles! The guy playing the husband must have pissed off that actress royal, all the time laughing and showing his teeth, rubbing it in her disabled face. Man, that's mean.
At least the first feminist film is better and shorter than the first African-American film, but to compare inferior things made by inferior people would be wrong. We must judge a film by its own merit. To say this is visually Avant-Garde is a stretch, unless you include double-exposures and iris-outs (you know, like in the endings of "Looney Toons", where focus is done by a pin-point of an image surrounded by vignetting, if you will). If you do include those things, they were indeed innovative at the time, but not truly vanguard. There are some interesting visual effects and professional framing, but a muddy print and scenes without action can kill something rather quickly.
What I remember most of all is that when there were intertitles, the left side was chopped off because who needs a quality recording? You should be thankful for being able to find the movie at all!
Andy Horbal asked me recently to think about what a film does to make it work, and so, rather than going off on a pure rant, I'll delve into the more enjoyable and effective storytelling elements: a woman with interests that are not only unappreciated but mocked at by her uncouth husband (how dare she read literature and play base piano music like Debussy!) fantasizes for herself a better life, dreaming of happiness. The story not only revolves around the bored, annoyed and dismissed wife, but it is her emotions that we explore, her perspective we are made to learn rather than his. A study into what drives a woman to exteme ends, is truly what makes it a unique story, and given that it's the first of its kind well that's as Avant-Garde as you can get.
I don't know, I'd still rather vent... I sure like that the first feminist film is about a woman who wants to murder her husband. Talk about making mountains out of molehills, Jesus. Mme Beudet is clearly just in the middle of a PMS bitch session and should learn to get over it. Why this husband of her's even offered her tickets to Faust in the first place when she should have been cooking for his friends when they got back from the play, I'll never know. She doesn't even go. As if she has interests outside of his. Give a inch and they take a mile. She should be happy that she's even allowed out of the house!
Overall Rating: 56% (I'm Not Smiling Either!)
I've been waiting a long time to get this one off the bottom of my 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list, and let me iterate unto you the utter disappointment I experienced as I watched. Perhaps that's too strong. Let's say 'unimpressed boredom'. Maybe it was the timing. After watching so much Avant-Garde from much later in film history I may have felt as though thrust back into a lesser time. More likely though, effects like double exposure and vignetting lost their pizzazz when I waited, easily distracted, for something to happen besides man-laughter and hair brushing. Reminiscent of clunky old Silents that tell the tale in intertitles while showing very little action, this felt very scholarly. I don't remember studying being very fun.