excerpt, more at my location - Feminist director Germaine Dulac shows a more commercial and populist approach in this 1928 feature than the avant garde and experimental style for which she is better known. The film reworks Pierre Benoit's novel, L'Oublié, but while Benoit's novel was a more straightforward tale of adventure and derring do, Dulac transposes the film's opening scenes to the mundane urban setting of a factory, and constructs a parable about the delights and dangers of fantasy and escapism.
Witty and clever, with a surprisingly modern and tongue in cheek send up of cinematic romance and heroics, it seems almost churlish to say that, like Etienne's daydreams, La Princesse Mandane does run on a bit. Edmond van Duren is dashingly handsome and conceited, Edmonde Guy makes the role of disdainful diva look easy, and there's a delightful visual playfulness in the film's artfully constructed shots. With the exception of one of her more avant garde features, La Coquille et le Clergyman (The Seashell and the Clergyman), Dulac's work is not on general DVD release, so film seasons such as this programme offered by the Fashion in Film Festival offer a rare opportunity to see another facet to this fascinating director's work – another reason for foreign film lovers to keep an eye on special programmes and festivals such as these.
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