Delphine Seyrig

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Delphine Seyrig and Ioana Wieder holding a camera during a demonstration, 1976. Photo: Micha Dell-Prane. Courtesy of Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir.
Delphine Seyrig, Maria Schneider and Carole Roussopoulos during the shooting of Sois belle et tais-toi, 1975.

Delphine Seyrig (10 April 1932, Beirut, Greater Lebanon – 15 October 1990, Paris, France) is best known for the roles she played in French auteur cinema, most notably in Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad (1961), where she became the symbol of an idealized and sophisticated femininity. But “acting” was not merely a profession for Seyrig: during the 1970s, she became indeed an activist working collaboratively within the framework of the feminist movement. At the same time, working with women filmmakers such as Chantal Akerman, Marguerite Duras or Ulrike Ottinger allowed her to explore a variety of female roles and to unravel her own image as a diva.

Around 1975, together with activist video maker Carole Roussopoulos and translator Ioana Wieder, she produced a series of videos under the collective name “Les Insoumuses” (Defiant Muses). In their tapes, such as Sois belle et tais-toi (1976), SCUM Manifesto (1976), and Maso and Miso vont en bateau (1976), video became an emancipatory tool and an agent of political activism. In 1982, the three women established the “Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir” in Paris, thus providing an unprecedented audio-visual archive of the struggles of the time, in and beyond France, which include the fight for legal abortion, against torture and the Vietnam war, for the rights of sex workers’ and political prisoners, and the involvement in the antipsychiatry movement. (Source)