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A Nous La Liberte

7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Raymond Cordy, Henri Marchand, Rolla France, Paul Ollivier, Jacques Shelly
  • Directors: René Clair
  • Writers: René Clair, Francis Picabia
  • Producers: Alexandre Kamenka, Frank Clifford, Roger Le Bon, Rolf de Maré
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Aug. 20 2002
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067IY4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,401 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Daffy Bibliophile TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Aug. 25 2011
Format: DVD
A wonderful film by the French director René Clair about the mechanizationand increasing regimentation of society. Produced in 1931, this film was the inspiration for Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times".

"À Nous la Liberté" begins with two men in prison, one escapes and becomes what they both detested: a modern man with a cash register for a heart and no sense of the value of individual freedom, no sense of the simple pleasures of life. His friend is released in a few years and finds his old cell mate now the owner of a phonograph factory that employs men in the same regimented atmosphere as that of a prison. From the prison work shop to the factory assembly line, full circle. The film itself is a delight, a tale of friendship that is full of humour, but it's also a frank satire on the dehumanizing effects of industrialization and consumerism.

This Criterion DVD includes a twenty-five minute interview from 2002 with a film historian about the litigation between Clair's studio and Charlie Chaplin's studio, the former having charged the latter with plagiarism. There is also a fifteen minute interview with René Clair's widow, filmed in 1998.

As has already been mentioned by other reviewers, the film is the edited version with the singing flower scene cut out, however this scene has been included separately on the DVD along with another less contentious edited scene.

All in all, highly recommended!
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Format: DVD
Yes, it's sad Criterion didn't restore the scenes... and, deleting the lovely singing flower bit diminishes the poignancy of the leads wooing of his new love. But, like all good editing, you'd never know those two scenes existed if you weren't told. Clair's film is beautifully shot, art direction is stunning, and it's theme of Man vs. Mass Society (not my phrase, but Gabriel Marcel's)a telling comment on the state of affairs in early 1930's Europe. Clair uses sound to great effect (other directors of the time struggled with it... see Fritz Lang's on again off again sound in "M", released the same year). It's not a laugh-out-loud comedy... it's more sweet and witty. It's gags are inventive, though. The scene of the business elite chasing francs around a windy courtroom is a lovely image, given the economy of 1931. All in all, a classic which will be a delight to anyone interested in the history of film... or, for that matter, the history of Europe.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 24 2002
Format: DVD
Just a response to another reviewer; yes, this is Clair's 1950 recut of the film. But the recut is ill-advised, and is generally considered by most historians as a prime example of someone far removed from the circumstances of the film's actual production butchering their own work.
Is this the 1931 classic, intact, as Clair originally intended?
No, it is a recut, which most critics feel strongly is a disgrace.
Do NOT buy this DVD; get the uncut version on VHS while you still can. Once again, Criterion should have restored the original version, rather than presenting this cut version; anything less violates entirely the spirit of the original film.
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Format: DVD
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.
The fact that Criterion has thrown Clair's short film ENTR'ACTE onto the disc is reason enough to buy the dvd. The transfers of both the feature and the short are of superlative quality. It's an invaluable release.
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