MSU Cinema International Presents New Take on Jekyll and Hyde Classic

Jan 30, 2020

Murray State Cinema International will continue its theme of women-featured French films with Madame Hyde. Director of Cinema International, Dr. Thérèse St. Paul, visits Sounds Good to discuss the upcoming screening.

From Rotten Tomatoes:

"High school science teacher Mrs. Géquil is struck by lightning on the night of a harvest moon. The woman begins to embody a powerful alter ego, Mrs. Hyde, that instills a newfound confidence in her. However, the new persona is dangerous and must be controlled."

"Of course, everybody thinks of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and indeed, [Madame Hyde] is a loose adaptation," St. Paul says. "I say very loose, but still, the idea is a passage of this gothic genre. A physics teacher who happens to be a woman, Madame Géquil, is really not having good success in her classes and get students interested. One day she gets some kind of explosive transformation after being struck by lightning through an experiment in her lab. She's unaware of that, but what happens is the experiment reveals - just like in the original story - the other side, the sinister side of Madame Géquil. This is where it veers into fantasy."

"The whole film takes on a very black comedy, deadpan humor style," St. Paul continues. "It is an interesting take on the story, but definitely very modern. It takes place in a suburb school of Paris where there are indeed difficulties. That's where the director, Serge Bozon, who was a schoolteacher himself in the suburb years ago, talks about the experience of being a schoolteacher in difficult classes. There are issues of integration. There's a lot of diversity [and] multicultural issues in suburbia of big cities in France. [Bozon] believes in the power of education, which is definitely seen. Madame Géquil is doing her best but is ill-equipped. At the same time, [the director] shows that there are some old-fashioned classist approaches to the French education still."

While Madame Hyde delves into the issues within the current French education system, it also highlights the same concept of the duality of man found in the original story fo Jekyll and Hyde. "This teacher is very meek. She's trying to do her best and has an alter ego she doesn't even know about. Just like in the story, the experiment reveals that other side," St. Paul explains. 

Screenings for Madame Hyde will take place on Thursday, January 30th, and Saturday, February 1st, at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center Theater. Admission is free and open to the public. Donations to the Cinema International program can be made at the theater or online. For more information on Cinema International and the rest of the spring 2020 season, visit their website