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Learn about avant-garde films by women in this screening of Germaine Dulac’s The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928, 40 min.), considered one of the first Surrealist films, and Maya Deren’s A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945, 3 min.), which features the dancer Talley Beatty in a magisterial cinematic interpretation of dance. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Body in Pieces, these silent films feature innovative special effects that present the human form as physically fractured and fragmented across time.

A discussion following the screening with Dana Ostrander, assistant curator of modern art; Lionel Cuillé, teaching professor in French in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in Arts & Sciences and director of French Connexions; and Victor Putinier, PhD student in Romance Languages and Literatures, will explore these two key figures in the development of experimental cinema and proto-feminist practice. 

Free and open to the public with complimentary popcorn. Registration is requested.

ASL Interpretation

American Sign Language interpretation can be arranged for public events upon request. This service is free, but we ask for two weeks' notice. Requests can be made by contacting


This event is co-sponsored by French Connexions Center of Excellence at Washington University in St. Louis. Learn more.

About the Speakers 

Lionel Cuillé is the former Jane and Bruce Robert Endowed Chair in French studies at Webster University and current director of the French Connexions Center of Excellence at Washington University in St. Louis. His research and teaching focus on contemporary French poetry, the avant-gardes, and the representation of speed at the turn of the twentieth century. He has published extensively on the poets Blaise Cendrars, Francis Ponge, Arthur Rimbaud, and coedited Francis Ponge: Ateliers contemporains (Classiques Garnier, 2019). 

Victor Putinier is a PhD student in French Language and Literature and in Film and Media Studies. He holds a double-BA in French literature and in English studies from Université Lyon II-Lumière (2016), an MA in English studies from the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (2019), as well as an MA in French from Washington University in St. Louis (2020). His work focuses on the interactions between documentary cinema and poetics in the post–World War II French and Francophone context. His research interests include poetics, nonfiction cinema, experimental artistic productions, second language acquisition and communicative teaching. His research is forthcoming in the Journal for Medieval and Humanistic Studies

Image Credits

Still from Germaine Dulac, The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928, 40 min.).