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Paris qui dort

Now part of the sci-fi canon, Rene Clair’s witty fantasy is a youthful ‘what if?’ whose delightful airiness will linger.

Dir-Scr René Clair
Prod Henri Diamant-Berger
With Henri Rollan, Madeleine Rodrigue, Albert Préjean
France
1924
59min
Prod Co Les Films Diamant
With no dialogue

A young man, the night watchman on the iconic Eiffel Tower, wakes to find he is alone in the world. Descending from his iron eyrie, all is eerily frozen, apart from a few souls who have escaped a mad scientist’s immobilising ray. The streets of Paris briefly become a Garden of Eden to play in, as the friends indulge in their new-found liberty. Like Powell and Pressburger’s A Canterbury Tale, this is a film to be carried in the heart. This English language version, taken from the ‘A’ negative, was released in England in January 1925, shortly before it came out in France.

Bryony Dixon

Additional information

Restored in 4K in 2018 by Fondation Jérôme Seydoux- Pathé at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory from a tinted nitrate print preserved by BFI National Archive with funding provided by CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée. Live musical accompaniment by Costas Fotopoulos.

+ Every Day

Hans Richter, Sergei Eisenstein and others made this ‘city symphony’ of the daily grind in London, presented here from a pristine 35mm source recently rediscovered in Lausanne.

Dir Hans Richter. UK 1929. 16min

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