La Souriante Madame Beudet (The Smiling Madame Beudet) is a short French impressionist silent film made in 1923, directed by pioneering avant-garde cinema director Germaine Dulac. It stars Germaine Dermoz as the protagonist Madame Beudet, who has grown tired of her husband’s foolish antics and Alexandre Arquillière as Monsieur Beudet. It is considered by many to be one of the first truly “feminist” films. It tells the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage.
Madame Beudet is used to Monsieur Beudet playing a stupid practical joke. A frequent stunt is one in which he puts an empty revolver to his head and threatens to shoot himself. After getting into an argument with Monsieur Beudet, she secretly puts bullets into the revolver, hoping that he will accidentally kill himself next time he pulls the same practical joke. However, after a sleepless night she becomes stricken with remorse and tries secretly to retrieve the bullets the next morning. Unfortunately Monsieur Beudet gets to the revolver first, thinking the revolver is empty as usual, and this time he points the revolver at her and shoots. The bullet misses her, and he thinks she was trying to commit suicide; he embraces her and says “How could I live without you?”