Tag Archives: Raymond Cordy

René Clair – Quatorze juillet AKA Bastille Day (1933)

Quote:
René Clair, the most distinguished of the French motion-picture directors, is one of the great men of the cinema. His triumphant photoplays, Sous les toits de Paris, Le Million and, the finest of them all, A nous la liberté, stand among the genuine classics of the films. Now M. Clair, who has tried cheerful sentiment in Sous les toits, farce in Le Million, and brilliant social satire in A nous la liberté, gives up some of his adventurousness and returns to the quiet romantic mood of his earliest success in the new work called Quatorze juillet (“Fourteenth of July”). Read More »

René Clair – À nous la liberté (1931)

One of the all-time great comedy classics, René Clair’s À Nous la Liberté is a skillful satire of the industrial revolution and the blind quest for wealth. Deftly integrating his signature musical-comedy technique with pointed social criticism, Clair tells the story of an escaped convict who becomes a wealthy industrialist. Unfortunately his past returns to upset his carefully laid plans. Featuring lighthearted wit, tremendous visual innovation, and masterful manipulation of sound, À Nous la Liberté is both a potent indictment of mechanized modern society and an uproarious comic delight.

Perhaps the most elegantly rendered feature film of the very early days of sound production (barring, perhaps, Chaplin’s CITY LIGHTS), Clair’s classic is such a seemingly effortless blend of romantic melancholy, bitter social criticism and gentle surrealism, that its many aesthetic qualities tend to overshadow the film’s astounding technological innovations in the poetics of sound. Read More »