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La Souriante Madame Beudet

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La Souriante Madame Beudet
Directed byGermaine Dulac
Written by
  • Denys Amiel (play)
  • André Obey
Produced by
  • Germaine Dermoz
  • Alexandre Arquillière
  • Maurice Forster
  • Paul Parguel
Release date
  • 1923 (1923)
Running time
38 mins.
LanguagesSilent film
French intertitles
La Souriante Madame Beudet

La Souriante Madame Beudet (The Smiling Madame Beudet) is a short French impressionist silent film made in 1923,[1][2] directed by pioneering avant-garde cinema director Germaine Dulac.[3] It stars Germaine Dermoz as Madame Beudet and Alexandre Arquillière as Monsieur Beudet. It is considered by many to be one of the first truly "feminist" films.[2][4][5] It tells the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage.


Monsieur Beudet frequently puts an empty revolver to his head and threatens to shoot himself as a practical joke or to emphasize his frustration. He does this so often that it no longer surprises his wife or friends. One night, Monsieur Beudet gets some theater tickets, but his wife refuses to go with him. While he is gone, Madame Beudet spends some time reflecting on her marriage to a slovenly, unromantic man who does things like lock the lid of her piano when he's upset with her; she puts a bullet into her husband's revolver so he will accidentally kill himself the next time he repeats his joke.

After a sleepless night, Madame Beudet comes to feel remorse for the trap she has set. Unfortunately, that day Monsieur Beudet's office is never unoccupied long enough for her to remove the bullet from the revolver. Monsieur Beudet calls for his wife to ask her about some large household expenses. He gets worked up and, thinking the revolver is empty like it usually is, he points it at himself and then turns it on his wife. He shoots, but the bullet misses Madame Beudet. Monsieur Beudet wrongly surmises that his wife was trying to commit suicide. He embraces her and says "How could I live without you?"


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cheryl Hindrichs (2009). "Feminist Optics and Avant-Garde Cinema: Germaine Dulac's "The Smiling Madame Beudet" and Virginia Woolf's "Street Haunting"". Feminist Studies.
  2. ^ a b Colin Marshall (18 November 2015). "The First Feminist Film, Germaine Dulac's The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922)". OpenCulture. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Themes and Variations". Toronto International Film Festival. 2016. Archived from the original on 18 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016. ... the pioneering avant-garde filmmaker Germaine Dulac ...
  4. ^ adamvasco (11 May 2012). "Friday Feature: First Feminist Film". MetaFilter. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  5. ^ LH (10 September 2012). "La Souriante Madame Beudet [film review]". TimeOut London. Retrieved 17 November 2016.

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