One of the all-time comedy classics, René Clair’s À nous la liberté tells the story of Louis, an escaped convict who becomes a wealthy industrialist. Unfortunately, his past returns (in the form of old jail pal Emile) 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. —The Criterion Collection
Born under the name of René Chomette in 1898, René Clair René Clair started life as a journalist and then turned to the cinema in 1920. At first an actor and assistant director, he started making films with Paris qui dort and Entr’acte (1924), a pearl of the surrealist cinema.
Commercial success and critical acclaim came with the brilliant farce comedy, An Italian Straw Hat (1927) followed by his famous early musical talkies, Le Million (1931) and A nous la liberté (1932). He continued his career in Hollywood during the war and came back to France to make the films of his mature years, Le Silence est d’or (1947) et Les Grandes manœuvres (1955). René Clair was elected to the Académie Française in 1960 and died in 1981. —Octuor de France
Most early sound films were static and unimaginative but in the same year that Lang directed M in Germany and was being innovative with sound and music, Clair was achieving a similar success in France. Influenced by American slapstick comedy - particularly Laurel and Hardy - and covering similar ground to Chaplin's later Modern Times, this satire on the industrial age still delights over 80 years after its release...
Tracing Bresson’s audio-visual sensibility back to the formally-ambitious film comedies of the early 1930s.