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A Nous la Liberte
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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!
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
... The film is fully intact as Clair intended, and the deleted scenes are available for us to see. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2002
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