The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928)
Along with being a central figure in the French avant-garde of the 1920s, Germaine Dulac was its only female director and the first decidedly feminist filmmaker, her debut film Mort du soleil (Death of the Sun, 1921) centered around a young female doctor torn between her career and the demands of family life.
Dulac had been a photographer and writer for feminist journals at the turn of the century, and founded her own production company, focused mostly on melodramas, in the mid-1910s. She was also active as a critic and theorist, writing early formative texts on avant-garde film.
The first surrealist film, The Seashell and the Clergyman was based on a scenario by Antonin Artaud, and made a year before Un Chien Andalou by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali.