Paul Ollivier

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À Nous La Liberté Review


Very Good
I'd wager that for most readers, the thought of watching a classic French "early talkie" from 1931 is about as appealling as a Mama's Family reunion. And while René Clair's À Nous la Liberté (literally "Liberty for Us") may not be for all tastes, this glimpse into comedy from a long-gone era is definitely worth a look for film buffs.

The story follows an escaped convict who schemes to becomes a wealthy businessman, only to be foiled by another con who shows up when everything is going well. There is much singing (and little dialogue otherwise) and dancing en route to the rise of the movie's theme, a lambasting of technology and modernization (or else it's a celebration of the legendary French laziness, you be the judge). It's ground that Charlie Chaplin would explore five years later in Modern Times -- earning him a plagiarism lawsuit in the process. (Clair's production company would eventually lose the suit as it was dismissed during the chaos of WWII, as is revealed on bonus materials on the Liberté DVD.)

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