Also known as
La Coquille et Le Clergyman
France [1928] - 41m
Directed by
Germaine Dulac
More info on
The Seashell and the Clergyman poster


July 17, 2020


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.

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.