films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
more info


The Seashell and the Clergyman

La Coquille et Le Clergyman
1928 / 41m - France
The Seashell and the Clergyman poster

An odd little film. First of all, make sure you get the restored version because it's about 13 minutes longer than earlier versions. And even though these extra minutes probably won't help to clear up the narrative, I don't think there's much that deserves to be cut, so it would be a real shame to miss out on the full experience.

Read all

Credited as a big inspiration for Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou, it's one of the earliest surrealist films out there. And Dulac's work is impressive. There's no lack of memorable scenes, intriguing stages and oddball moments here. Strong visuals help to set a perfect mood, that carries the film with ease.

The score is somewhat problematic though, as the longer version doesn't have the most fitting music. Earlier versions (like Luigi Morleo's work) are better, but they don't fit the longer runtime. It's no doubt the trickiest part of rating these classic silent shorts, but regardless of the quality of the soundtrack, there's plenty here that hasn't lost its charm.

The Smiling Madame Beudet

La Souriante Madame Beudet
1923 / 38m - France
The Smiling Madame Beudet poster

Often cited as one of the first true feminist films. While not something I'm going to contest, almost 100 years later that part of the film has little to no impact anymore. What remains is a simple drama about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage.

Read all

That's pretty much the entire story right there. Mme Beudet sulks and pouts, whilst her husband behaves like a comic book villain. When it gets too much for Mme Beudet, she decides to take matters into her own hands, devising a plan to get rid of her husband.

The film offers a mix of functional shots and close-ups of characters trying very hard to express basic emotions. The cinematography is plain, the drama doesn't work well and even though it's a very short film, there's hardly enough here to warrant the runtime. Not impressed.