1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://worldfilm.about.com/library/weekly/aafpr082002.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Full Review
À nous la liberté
reviewed by Jurgen Fauth

Guide Rating -  


Rene Clair's 1931 comedy about the fate of two escaped convicts looks fresh and clean in this new DVD transfer courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

The film opens in prison, where fellow inmates Emile (Henri Marchand) and Louis (Raymond Cordy) spend their days assembling toy horses and planning their escape. Their breakout doesn't go as planned, and Louis stays behind while Emile escapes. The story picks up many years later when Louis is finally released. In the meantime, Emile has become a successful industrialist, and Louis finds a job in his factory, working an assembly line that uncannily resembles the one he left behind in prison. The old friends recognize each other, and after much confusion, general mayhem and madcap adventures, our heroes dance off into the sunset, chanting their theme song: "À nous la liberté - freedom for us!"

While it's not quite as funny as Chaplin's "Modern Times," Rene Clair's film is well worth watching for the gallic humor and its innovations in sound and vision. One of the earliest French sound films, "À nous la liberté" does not feature continuous synchronized sound. Some parts are silent, with accompanying music only, while others have dialogue and musical numbers. The result is an odd hybrid that feels quite natural after you get used to it. Visually, "À nous la liberté" is a joy. The sets are fascinating, replete with echoes of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," and the cinematography is deliberate and pleasing.

Because the movie finally becomes an indictment of materialism, greed and worldly attachment, it is often considered a left-wing treatise -- but its themes are couched in so much wit and silliness that it doesn't take a communist to enjoy it. The political satire is thoroughly undermined by the slapstick humor.

Special features include an audio essay about a plagiarism suit against Charlie Chaplin, a surrealist short by Clair, deleted scenes, and a video interview with the filmmaker's wife.

 Related Reviews    Related Resources
• The Visitors
• Children of Paradise
• With a Friend Like Harry
• Belle De Jour
• Before You Buy
• DVD Reviews
• French Film

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email


spacer
Important product disclaimer information about this About site. 
spacer

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.