Eye on Sound: L'invitation au voyage
Director Germaine Dulac is best remembered for La coquille et le clergyman (1928), ‘the first surrealist film’. The year before, however, she directed a story about a married woman looking for adventure in a night club which was inspired by a symbolist poem by Baudelaire. Thijs Havens accompanies the film on guitar and piano.
The result is an atmospheric avant-garde cinematic poem, a “melody of images”. Dulac was a true pioneer; she abandoned the theatrical performance and narrative style of early cinema – when actors still expressed their feelings with exaggerated mimicry – and allowed the images to speak for themselves.
Dulac presents a married woman whose husband neglects her emotionally. She starts looking for attention elsewhere and ends up in the decadent night club 'L'Invitation au voyage”, where she is courted by a young officer. She is drawn into a romance, only to discover her admirer is a married man.
The film shows the attraction between a man and a woman in a rhythmic montage of scenes. The gender roles are shown to be equal and reversible: who has power over whom?
Eye on Sound
What would Sergio Leone’s films be without Ennio Morricone’s world-renowned scores? And what remains of Blade Runner without Vangelis’ unworldly synthesizers? Who doesn’t immediately think of Miles Davis’ languid nocturnal jazz in the case of Ascenseur pour l’échafaud? Music and sound are an essential part of the cinematic experience. In fact, they are vital to the experience of film.