Jacqueline Audry

Jacqueline Audry (September 25, 1908 June 22, 1977) was a French film director who began making films in post-World War II France and specialised in literary adaptations.[1] She was the first commercially successful female director of post-war France.[2]

Jacqueline Audry
BornSeptember 25, 1908
DiedJune 22, 1977(1977-06-22) (aged 68)
Poissy, Yvelines, France
OccupationFilm director
Years active1946–1973
Spouse(s)Pierre Laroche


Audry was born in Orange, Vaucluse, France.[3] Because there were few opportunities for female directors during the Nazi occupation,[4] Audry worked as an assistant to directors Jean Delannoy, G. W. Pabst and Max Ophüls and directed a short film of her own, Le Feu de paille (1943), with the help of the Centre Artistique et Technique des Jeunes du Cinéma (now La Femis).[4][5] The end of World War II and the liberation of France provided increased opportunities for women, but they still faced prejudice in the film industry.[4]

Audry's first feature film was Les Malheurs de Sophie (1946). This was based on the popular novel of the same name by the Comtesse de Ségur.[4] No copies of this film, which was censored for its "politically inappropriate" riot scenes, exist.[4] Unable to raise funds for her next film, she had to wait a couple of years before making Sombre dimanche[4] (1948). In the 1940s and 1950s, she directed three films based on Colette novels; Gigi (1949), Minne (1950) and Mitsou (1956), all three with actress Danièle Delorme. Mitsou, which featured sex outside of marriage, was heavily censored.[5]

Audry directed The Pit of Loneliness (Olivia, 1951), based on Dorothy Bussy's 1950 semi-autobiographical novel, Olivia.[4] Set in an all-girls boarding school, The Pit of Loneliness depicts a lesbian love story between a schoolgirl and her headmistress.[6] At the time, the film was very controversial and was censored in the United States and the United Kingdom.[6] Edwige Feuillère was nominated for a BAFTA award for Best Foreign Actress for her part as Mlle. Julie, the headmistress.[7] The film has been called a "landmark of lesbian representation".[8] She frequently collaborated with her sister, the novelist and screenwriter Colette Audry.[9]

Audry's film style was traditional and at odds with the French New Wave.[5] Her films had a feminist slant however.[5] Many of them had central female characters and they often gave a radical view of gender roles and female sexuality.[2][5][10] Audry died in a road accident in Poissy, Yvelines, France.[9]


See also


  1. Austin, Guy (1996). Contemporary French Cinema: An Introduction. Manchester University Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-7190-4611-4.
  2. Tarr, Carrie (2001). Cinema and the Second Sex: Women's Filmmaking in France in the 1980s and. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 251. ISBN 0-8264-4742-2.
  3. "Jacqueline Audry" (in French). Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  4. Kedward, Harry Roderick; Nancy Wood (1995). The Liberation of France: Image and Event. Berg Publishers. p. 105. ISBN 1-85973-087-6.
  5. Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey (1995). Women Film Directors: An International Bio-critical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 27. ISBN 0-313-28972-7.
  6. Darren, Alison (2000). Lesbian Film Guide. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 156. ISBN 0-304-33376-X.
  7. "Film Nominations 1952". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  8. Mayne, Judith (2000). Framed: Lesbians, Feminists, and Media Culture. University of Minnesota Press. pp. xix. ISBN 0-8166-3456-4.
  9. Pallister, Janis L.; Ruth A. Hottell (2005). Francophone Women Film Directors: A Guide. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-8386-4046-X.
  10. Leahy, Sarah (2007). Casque d'or. I.B.Tauris. p. 30. ISBN 1-84511-368-3.
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