René Clair Gavin Lambert - Essay

Gavin Lambert

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Les Belles-de-Nuit contains elements of the earlier Clair, as there are constant elements in the work of any individual artist, but its material is entirely different. In Sous les Toits and the others, a formal pattern was imposed on simple everyday incidents; here, as in La Beauté du Diable, the material itself is deliberately formal, and if Clair returns directly to any personal source at all, it is, rather, to one of his first silent films, Le Voyage Imaginaire. But his art now is most nearly like that of an eighteenth century philosophical French conte (a period and a manner which he has always admired), and it gives the same kind of pleasure. The characters are not intimately...

(The entire section is 436 words.)