Introduction by Pedro Costa

The relentlessly daring experimental French filmmaker Jean Grémillon, who made the bulk of his films before and during the Second World War, asked to have his name taken off the released cut of this mesmerizing, deeply unsettling work—his second sound film—after Gaumont hacked it to nearly half its original length. The beautiful Daïnah is a métisse: a mixed-race young woman married to a black magician who lives and works on a luxury ocean liner. One night, she meets a mechanic whose interest in her will lead to tragedy. Daïnah la métisse is a gritty, sinister fairy tale in the strong French fantastique tradition—its unforgettable magic show scene rivals that of George Franju’s Judex—with an attentiveness, characteristic of Grémillon, to the lives of the marginalized and under-noticed. Print courtesy of Institut Français, Paris.