THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF DELPHINE IN THE LAND OF FEMINISM
Delphine Seyrig was one of the most spectacular actresses of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, as many of the films in which she starred are now some of the most ingenious of that time and the protagonists she payed are part of the feminist pantheon of the era. The role that launched her internationally was the one from the experimental “Last Year at Marienbad” (1961), directed by Alain Resnais, with whom she also participated in the creation of another masterpiece, the equally unconventional “Muriel, or the Time of Return,” released two years later.
Among her next collaborations, we remind those with Chantal Akerman, as she was the protagonist for three of the Belgian filmmaker’s works, including the most famous in her entire career, “Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (1975) – which was screened last year at One World Romania -, the one with Marguerite Duras, on four films, among which we find “India Song” (1974), the director’s masterpiece, or the one with Luis Buńuel, on two films, including “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972). The list of Seyrig’s cinema partnerships is impressive, but for now we will only mention the long-standing one with Ulrike Ottinger, to whom we dedicate a vast retrospective within the current edition of the festival. The two of them collaborated four times, including Seyrig’s last project, released shortly before her sudden disappearance, when she was only 58 years old.
This film, called “Joan of Arc of Mongolia” (1989) is part of a brief tribute we pay to the actress in May-June, in collaboration with the French Institute Bucharest and the Goethe Institute Bucharest, to accompany the focus section dedicated to her within the festival, by which we celebrate her feminist, complex and extremely visible activity during a time when the movement was in need of famous personalities at its forefront. The other three films that are screened are the already mentioned “India Song” (1974, directed by Marguerite Duras), “Golden Eighties” (1984, directed by Chantal Akerman) and “Delphine and Carole, insoumuses” (2019, directed by Callisto McNulty), a recent documentary on the personal and the professional relationship between Delphine Seyrig and Carole Roussopoulos.
The two of them initiated a feminist, artistic, activist group called “Les Insoumuses,” which, in the second half of the ‘70s, made a series of film-manifestos, marked by a playful vibe and a tendency to treat major issues of the French society, like sexism and misogyny, with irony. “Maso and Miso Go Boating” (1975) and “SCUM Manifesto 1967” (1976), made by this group, which also included Ioana Wieder, an artist of Romanian origin and mother of Claire Atherton, one of the special guests of last year’s One World Romania edition, will be part of the selection dedicated to Seyrig within the festival. Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that Seyrig, Roussopoulos, and Wieder founded, in 1982, the Simone de Beauvoir Audiovisual Center, which preserves a vast archive of audiovisual recordings made by women and focused on the important issues of the feminist struggles of the last four decades. At OWR #14 we also organize a retrospective of the Center, and we are honoured to have its current general delegate, Nicole Fernandez-Ferrez, as part of the Jury.
The third documentary in the focus section dedicated to Delphine Seyrig’s activity as a director - “Be Pretty and Shut Up!” (1981) is also the only one directed entirely by her, on a subject that she knew well, that of misogyny and sexism which mark the careers of actresses around the world.