PostED ON OCTOBER 10 AT 9:12 AM
Seduction without relying on words was a challenge of silent film, and the challenge for filmmaker Jacques de Baroncelli with The Woman and the Puppet (1928)… In Spain, Don Mateo finds himself bewitched by Conchita Perez, the woman "who is not afraid of anyone".
Conchita is a dancer, and therefore enticing, yet it is not her body, but a magnificent close-up of her profile, that de Baroncelli chooses to show for the first time on screen, and which makes the protagonist’s heart leap. A close-up with mixed messages, since this beguiling character wears a chaste white kerchief to cover her hair, yet her mouth glares with ultra-seductive makeup. By these simple details, the director warns us all: with this woman, nothing will be easy, nor decipherable. Then a rhythmic work commences, drawing a modern portrait of a lively and confident heroine, who lies down on the ground to converse with the man who has an uncontrollable desire for her. In this role, Conchita Montenegro, with a ferocious smile, heightened by a gaze that no one can ever escape, carries this catastrophe of emotions that will ensue with uncanny grace and vitality. Feeling inspired, de Baroncelli allows himself all indulgences, like filming a long nude dance scene, sliced by stripes of shadows, opting to catch the shine of an openwork stage curtain, and finishing with the reflection of the dancer on the glass of a bottle of champagne. For this scene alone, The Woman and the Puppet is an unforgettable whirlwind.
In the presence of Sophie Seydoux