Tag Archives: Rene Clair

Midnight Screening: And Then There Were None

>Rene Clair didn’t have it easy. Soundly trounced by the French New Wave and never really forgiven in the public consciousness, Clair was a hot button go-to guy in the early days of sound cinema, a born-and-bred scientist with tools in sound and space who saw cinema – like all the great early masters – as an expressive, flexible plaything more than a get-the-job-done tool. Play he did, although his somewhat overly-formed style admittedly hit a limit when it traded in the dangerous waters of experimentation for something a touch more gentle and composed. Clair enjoyed a good composition as much as the next director, but there was his compositions always ran the risk of boxing him in to a settled path, rather than letting him loose to ravenously tear down the walls and traverse new, unsettled regions of cinema. He had his limits, in other words, but the 2010s hardly even acknowledge him. Clair was a class act, and whatever his American films did to keep him away from true adventure and challenge, he never gave a film less than his full attention. The no man’s land that is his reputation today seldom takes into account his very real, if somewhat overly-rigid, talents as a filmmaker. Continue reading