One of the all-time great comedy classics, René Clair's Ŕ 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 poi... more »nted 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, Ŕ Nous la Liberté is both a potent indictment of mechanized modern society and an uproarious comic delight.« less
"... The film is fully intact as Clair intended, and the deleted scenes are available for us to see. The circumstances of these cuts by Clair are fully explained on the DVD's deleted scene menu pages (Clair cut the scenes between the original release and the 1950 reissue), so it is totally inaccurate to say that the film has been "mutilated" since it was the director who made the cuts. The reviewer from Lincoln needs to pay a little more attention to history and stop writing such misleading gibberish."
An Unquestionable Classic
tashcrash | South Shore, MA | 09/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
A Nous La Liberte
tashcrash | 07/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A brilliant, elegant and sparkling French comedy. It resembles Chaplin's Modern Times, but is in many ways even funnier in depicting the similarity between factory and prison."
Great musical comedy
Ted | Pennsylvania, USA | 10/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This review is for the Critetion DVD editon of the film
À nous la liberté , also known as "Liberty for Us" is another very nice film by Rene clair. The film is a satire of life working in a factory.
It is about an assembly line worker who falls in love with a secratary who works at the factory. Theare is some slapstick humor in the film and has several scenes where the characters sing. The film is considered a musical as well because of this.
The DVD has some great special features.
There is an sudio presentation of the plagarism lawsuit against Charlie Chaplin over his film "Modern Times". There is also a 1998 video interview with Bronja Clair and two deleted scenes.
Finally, Rene Clair's 1924 surrealist film Entr'acte is also on the DVD. It is a short film about a funeral where pepole chase a runaway wagon carrying the casket. Some scenes are played in a very cool slow motion which is better seen than read about.
I highly recommend this film!"
Slapstick Gallic Satire Skewers Industrialism and Corporate
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 07/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This early talkie is an unexpected joy to watch and an artful piece of transitional cinema. It's difficult to believe that Charlie Chaplin claimed he never saw René Clair's fanciful 1931 musical comedy since it predates many of the same leitmotifs that came up in Modern Times five years later, including pointed jabs at corporate greed interlaced with Keystone Cops-style slapstick. In fact, Clair seems completely inspired by Chaplin in the way he carefully orchestrates the chase scenes and the robotic assembly line in this film, so much so that Chaplin borrowed back the visual cues in Modern Times.
Clair sets up his story as an elaborate parable centered on two convicts, best friends Émile and Louis, who make toy horses in the prison assembly line. In a long-planned attempt to escape, Émile escapes thanks to a generous leg-up from Louis, who is caught and returned back to their cell. Years pass, and Émile becomes a successful industrialist in charge of a phonograph manufacturing business. Meanwhile, Louis serves out his term and upon release, ironically finds himself working in the assembly line of Émile's factory. After some hesitation, Louis and Émile reunite and join forces with a rapid-fire series of chaotic complications leading the two friends to realize that a life away from work may be their true fate.
The film master does not belabor his sociopolitical statements about materialism, but it is intriguing in hindsight to appreciate the film's prescience in showing France disconnected from the encroaching Nazi menace. Moreover, the film boasts startling visual elements thanks to Lazare Meerson's unmistakably Expressionist art direction. Henri Marchand and Raymond Cordy make a fine comedy team as Émile and Louis, though what really shines is the timeless spirit that Clair imbues this film. The 2002 Criterion Collection DVD includes two deleted scenes, a brief 1998 interview with Clair's widow, and a twenty-minute short, "Entr'acte", that Clair made with French artists Francis Picabia and Erik Satie. Speaking of Chaplin, in an audio essay, film historian David Robinson describes the plagiarism suit that the film's producers brought against Charlie Chaplin when Modern Times was released."