Claude Autant-Lara

  • Claude Autant-Lara – Le Franciscain de Bourges AKA Franciscan of Bourges (1968)

    Synopsis
    Story of a German Christian prison guard and the way in which he helped his prisoners.Read More »

  • Maurice Lehmann & Claude Autant-Lara – Fric-Frac (1939)

    Synopsis:
    Marcel works as assistant to a jeweller whose bossy daughter Renée keeps hitting on him. When he meets lovely Loulou and her lazy friend Jo, he is fascinated by the girl and somehow attracted by their world : Loulou and Jo are crooks. As Marcel naively tries to bring some morality in their lives, the pair turn him into an unwilling accomplice in the robbery of his boss’s jewels.Read More »

  • Claude Autant-Lara – Fait-divers (1923)

    Young Autant-Lara’s (1901-2000) avant-garde debut, made a decade before his first feature and two decades before his breakthrough. It features his mother, who was a famous actress, as well as Antonin Artaud, who was a friend of the family.
    The films circulates around a triangular love drama with a lot of faux avant-garde effects: filming only hands and feet, rotating camera, dream sequences expressing the tensions between the protagonists etc. etc. Given that this was made many years before Un chien andalou and most of the titles that can be found in Kino’s box sets, this was pretty cutting edge in 1923.Read More »

  • Claude Autant-Lara – La Traversée de Paris AKA Pigs Across Paris AKA Four Bags Full (1956)

    Two men, a painter and a poor guy have to cross over Paris by night during world war II and nazi occupation to deliver black market meat. As they walk along dark parisian streets they encounter various characters and adventures.Read More »

  • Claude Autant-Lara – Sylvie et le fantôme AKA Sylvia and the Ghost (1946)

    Synopsis:
    Claude Autant-Lara’s literally haunting romantic tale Sylvia and the Phantom stars Odette Joyeaux as Sylvia, an imaginative young girl who lives in an old French castle. Fascinated by a portrait of the lover of her deceased grandmother, Sylvia fantasizes about having a romance with the lover’s ghost. On Sylvia’s 16th birthday, her father decides to amuse the girl by having the “ghost” make an appearance, and to that end engages the services of three men–a valet, a ham actor and a burglar–to impersonate the wraith. Though confused by the fact that the ghost seemingly has three distinct personalities, Sylvia nonetheless falls in love with the burglar, the most handsome of the trio. Disillusioned upon learning of her father’s subterfuge, Sylvia is unfortunately unresponsive when the real ghost (poignantly enacted by comedian Jacques Tati) makes a surprise appearance. Unfairly lambasted by American critics as “worthless,” Sylvia and the Phantom has since taken its place in cinema history as one of Claude Autant-Lara’s most beguiling works. The film was adapted from a play by Alfred Adam.Read More »

  • Claude Autant-Lara – Marguerite de la nuit AKA Marguerite of the Night (1955)

    Quote:
    Truffaut and Godard gave a bad name to the “quality” French cinema that preceded them. This film was one of their pet examples of what they saw as staid, boring, unadventurous cinéma de papa. Without an axe to grind, it is actually a breathtakingly bold modernization of the Faust legend, ravishing to look at with its highly stylized sets (Trauner on LSD) and containing multi-layered undercurrents, including a message on the unthinking destructiveness of youth which seems almost like a prescient reply to its New Wave critics.Read More »

  • Claude Autant-Lara – Tu ne tueras point AKA L’Objecteur AKA Non uccidere AKA Thou Shalt Not Kill (1961)

    Synopsis by Hal Erickson
    An Italian/French/Yugoslavian/Liechtensteinian coproduction (whew!), Thou Shalt Not Kill features Laurent Terzieff as a French conscientious objector. Interwoven with his story is the saga of a German priest (Horst Frank) who faces stiff punishment for killing a Frenchman during the Second World War. Director Claude Autant-Lara characteristically uses these twin plotlines as a platform to espouse his Leftist political beliefs and to heartily condemn the Catholic church. As a result, the fact-based Thou Shalt Not Kill (originally Tu Nes Tuera Point) caused quite a stir upon its first release. Many of its sentiments became more palatable in the late 1960s, though even at that time critics carped at Autant-Lara’s cut-and-dried directorial techniques.Read More »

  • Claude Autant-Lara – Occupe-toi d’Amelie! AKA Keep an Eye on Amelia (1949)

    Synopsis:
    Amelie is a Cocotte (=a tart); she trades on her charms,abetted by her father who plays a role generally delegated to mothers (Gremillon’s “Gueule d’amour” or Allegret’s “Maneges” ). She is wooed by every Tom, Dick and Harry passing by. She’s currently supported by a military man, courted by a foreign prince – who gives the equivalent of the French Legion d’honneur to dad, – and, besides, she is to marry a young lad who covets his wealthy uncle’s heritage: the necessary and sufficient condition for getting the dough is getting married.Read More »

  • Maurice Lehmann & Claude Autant-Lara – Le ruisseau AKA The Stream (1938)

    Synopsis/Review:
    Denise, a young orphan girl who has escaped from a convent, believes that her misfortunes have ended when she meets Paul , a young naval officer upon whose ship she has stowed away. Paul, initially seeks to take advantage of her naivety to seduce her before changing his mind and sending her to live with his mother who works in a cabaret while he returns to sea. But the habits of the girl will push her to the brink of prostitution…Read More »

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