Automation And Other Things In “A Nous la Liberte”

Rene Clair‘s 1931 film, A Nous la Liberte, ends (almost) with a comically ironic look at the replacement of man with machine in the factory—before it was known that society would weather this storm—and it induces us to wonder how relevant this matter is to our own time.  In any case, what is actually central to the film is that an escaped convict, Louis (Raymond Cordy), is hungry for freedom but, after becoming a wealthy manufacturer, leads men into forms of captivity.  He means no harm, though, and finally he loses his business and is free only in the way he was after escaping from prison.  He hits the open road.

Liberte is such a weird little flick it is not exactly my favorite Rene Clair.  Again, statements are put to music and the plot is bulging.  It is as artificial as it is satirical (more so).  But uniqueness is uniqueness; Clair is cannily and charmingly daring.  And Liberte does succeed at making you think.

(In French with English subtitles)

 

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