René Clair

René Clair – À nous la liberté (1931)

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Quote:
René Clair’s exuberant anti-capitalist satire À nous la liberté was one of the early triumphs of sound cinema and is still considered one of the all-time greats of French cinema. The film is a light-hearted comic tour de force, erupting into unbridled farce in a few places, and yet it also offers an intelligent reflection on one of the major social preoccupations of the time: the gradual dehumanisation of mankind through technological progress. In characteristically humorous vein, Clair gives us a speculative glimpse of the future in which human beings are reduced to quasi-machines to meet the remorseless capitalist imperative for ever greater efficiency and increased output. The demoralising repetitiveness of life on the factory production line mirrors the endless monotony of the prison scenes at the start of the film, and both contain echoes of the Fascistic nightmare that would overrun most of Europe in the 1930s. In an era of immense social and technological change, Clair poses a timely question: what is man’s destiny, to be a free individualist or a robotic slave to corporate greed? Read More »

René Clair – Le Million (1931)

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Synopsis
A penniless artist, Michel, is pursued by creditors when he discovers he has won the million florin lottery. He realises that he left the winning lottery ticket in his jacket, which he gave to his girlfriend, Béatrice, to repair. However, Béatrice, upset when she saw Michel with another woman, gave the jacket away. What ensues then is a madcap chase by Michel and his friends to recover the missing jacket – and the million florin prize.
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René Clair – Tout l’Or du Monde AKA All the Gold in the World (1961)

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Synopsis:
The small village of Cabosse is renowned for one thing: the people who live there can enjoy a long and healthy life, thanks to the pure country air. Seeing a chance to make some easy money, businessman Victor Hardy decides to buy up the entire village and transform it into an upmarket community for the well-off. Within a few weeks, everyone in the village has agreed to sell his house to Hardy, except one man. The elderly Mathieu Dumont refuses to sell up because he is determined to preserve an old family tradition, namely that every Dumont who has lived in the Cabosse should die and be buried there. Hardy sees a potential ally in Dumont’s timid son, Toine, and wastes no time trying to win him round. However, his troubles are far from over… Read More »

René Clair – Cinema Yesterday and Today (1972)

Originally released in 1970 under the title “Cinema d’hier, cinema d’aujourd’hui”. This is the 1972 English translation. Read More »