George Méliès

film 40 of 70

Ten Ladies in an Umbrella

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 19, 2015

Andre Bazin suggested that the discovery of perspective was the original sin of Western painting. (“The Ontology of the Photographic Image.”) At that point the wonders of creation, the child’s pleasure in simple shapes and colours and forms, basically give way to vaunting ambition. Can the same be true of narrative’s advent? We all like stories, but they obscured the simple and profound sufficiency of a film like this, the simple and profound sufficiency of this whole period.

You’ll be surprised to hear it, but Ten Ladies in an Umbrella features ten ladies, coming out of an umbrella. But wait. There’s more, though mere synopsis can’t give us the flavour of it. They come out of that umbrella in such a pleasing variety of ways! You can’t see the joins as they proliferate, or as they actually appear from behind. This is semi (sub?)-erotic display, I guess, but I notice that these ladies are all dancers or actors, or at least models. Look how beautifully they move, or arrange their limbs, or even just cross their ankles. May I? It’s no victimization to be attractive when one is so comfortable or confident in her attractiveness. And it’s no objectification to admire it.