Avant-garde cinema
Pure cinema and Dada/Surrealist films
in Germaine Dulac
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This chapter discusses Germaine Dulac’s ties to Dada/Surrealist cinema, especially as they relate to her controversial collaboration with Antonin Artaud on La Coquille et le clergyman (1927), and her own experimental films. I use Dulac’s statements regarding the production of La Coquille et le clergyman, along with her theoretical writings on cinema, to discuss the aesthetics and the structure of the film. I refer to Alain and Odette Virmaux’s Artaud/Dulac: La Coquille et le Clergyman. Essai d’élucidation d’une querelle mythique (Paris Expérimental, 1999) to present the history of the film’s reception. As a director and theoretician of experimental film, Dulac proclaimed her goal to make ‘pure’ cinema, which she spoke of as ‘musically constructed’ films or ‘films made according to the rules of visual music’. I examine L’Invitation au voyage (1927), Disque 957 (1929), Thème et variations (1929), and Etude cinématographique sur une arabesque (1929) as further examples of Dulac’s ‘pure’ cinema or ‘musically constructed’ films.

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