Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays

Issue 9 – 2022 (1)

L’unique. Maria Casarès. 1922-2022

Carmen Ciller & Irene Azuaga (University Carlos III of Madrid)

How to cite this article: Ciller, C. & Azuaga, I. (2022) L’unique. Maria Casarès. 1922-2022. Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays, 10, 2022(2). ISSN: 2659-4269

This audiovisual essay revisits the performance of actress Maria Casarès in Orphée (1950) directed by French filmmaker Jean Cocteau. Her hypnotic presence mesmerizes us through a story of desire, love and death. The direction that the filmmaker activates of the body and the depth of the actress’s gaze converge in an infinity of shots sizes of the protagonist’s face, which Cocteau, again and again, frames and reframes to extol her disturbing interpretation. In the form of four acts, the musical piece “Maria Casarès”, taken from the soundtrack of the film Camus, composed by François Staal, contributes to the exaltation of an actress who appears on screen wrapped in a majestic characterization highlighted by an exquisite wardrobe. The recuperation of the text “This is Love, whoever tried it knows it” by Lope de Vega, recorded by herself, encourages us to continue delving into the body and soul of a woman who has become an icon of freedom and feminism through a heartbreaking and dramatic performance. As Margarita Ledo states “the filmed body speaks of women, of the experience of the body as film, and of locating the signs of the latent conflict with those values imposed as feminine: body to be seen, soft and clear skin, tears. To exist as a filmed body and as a body that films” (Ledo Andión, 2020: 43). 

Born in A Coruña on November 21, 1922, with the outbreak of the civil war, in 1936, María Casares went into exile in France with her family. She was the daughter of the politician Santiago Casares Quiroga, minister and Head of Government of the Second Spanish Republic under the presidency of Manuel Azaña. She died in exile and would never return to Spain. On her centenary we want to remember María Casares, already converted into the French actress Maria Casarès. Her artistic biography, which includes more than a hundred theatrical productions and twenty works directed by filmmakers such as Carné, Bresson or Cocteau, encompasses a cinematic work in which a  disturbing and dazzling presence never ceases to resonate.


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  • Revista Luzes. “María Casares. A única”, nº 107, 2022.
  • Sande, José Manuel, “A tercera patria” en Revista Luzes, nº 107, 2022
  • Tecmerin, Colección Cuadernos Tecmerin: https://e-archivo.uc3m.es/handle/10016/16734

Other sources

  • Casarès, M. & Philipe, G. (1962) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMWqR0JHfn8 (Online), del poema original de Lope de Vega “Esto es amor, quien lo probó, lo sabe”. 
  • Orphée (Jean Cocteau,1950) 
  • Staal, F. (2017) Camus – Suite Symphonic (Online)

Other videoessays in this issue

Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays
ISSN: 2659-4269
© Tecmerin Research Group
University Carlos III of Madrid