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Author: David Cairns

The Divided Artist: Germaine Dulac

Germaine Dulac is a schizoid artist, like the famous image of the human head cracking down the middle in “The Seashell and the Clergyman” (1928): a corpus callosum separates her drawing-room dramas from her experimental phantasmagorias, though plenty of her films straddle the divide, veering from elegant explorations of bourgeois life and marital discord, into delirious evocations of dream states and abstract angst. In this, Dulac was in tune with a certain loose school of French cinematic impressionism, encompassing the work of Jean and Marie Epstein, Louis Delluc, Marcel L’Herbier, Dmitri Kirsanoff, and most famously Abel Gance. This is...

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