Claire Barliant

Delphine Drawings

About the Delphine Drawings

It is fitting that Delphine means “dolphin,” since the French actress Delphine Seyrig slipped with astonishing fluidity from one twentieth-century auteur’s film into another. Her IMDB filmography looks like a cinephile’s dream syllabus: films by Alain Resnais, Jacques Demy, Luis Bunuel, Chantal Akerman, William Klein, and Ulrike Ottinger. Her first film—her first film—was Pull My Daisy (1959) by Robert Frank, with narration by Jack Kerouac. And yet I could find no book or article, even, that seemed to fully address the span of her career. One (male) critic dismissed her as the Flying Dutchman of actresses, as though all of those appearances were some kind of accident, and not due to her chiseled features (that were also so mutable) or her uncanny skills as a performer.  

So I began making these drawings, just loose, quick renderings of stills I found on the Internet. It was a way to get to know her, but it never really got off the ground. Part of the reason I backed off was that I was daunted by the breadth of her career. Still, I hope to finish this project someday, if only to understand her powerful draw as muse to some of the greatest directors in film history.

—Claire Barliant

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