Autant-Lara, Claude


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Autant-Lara, Claude

 

Born Aug. 5, 1903, in Luzarches, department of Val d’Oise. French film director.

Autant-Lara studied at a school for state design. He first worked in films in 1919 as a costume designer and set designer, later becoming an assistant director and then director. Under the influence of the avant-garde (a trend in French cinema), Autant-Lara made a number of experimental films. In 1930 he shot one of the first wide-screen movies, To Build a Fire (based on a story by J. London).

Autant-Lara’s first sound film was the comedy Chives (1933). During World War II he made the films Chiffon’s Marriage (1941), Love Letters (1942), and Gentle (1943), which were distinguished for their poetic sensitivity in conveying the psychological experiences of their heroes and for their dramatic presentation of events from the beginning of the century.

Social concern and antiwar protest characterize Autant-Lara’s postwar films, including The Devil in the Flesh (1947), Crossing Paris(\956), Thou Shalt Not Kill (1963), and Potatoes (1969). Among his best works is a film version of Stendhal’s novel The Red and the Black (1954). Autant-Lara also filmed the musical comedy Take Care of Amelia (1947), the tragicomedy The Red Inn (1951), and the melodrama Love Is My Profession (1958).

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