Clément, René

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Clément, René


Born Mar. 18, 1913, in Bordeaux. French motion-picture director.

Clément studied in the architectural division of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He began his motion-picture career as a cameraman, working on advertising and travel films. In the late 1930’s he worked for the Army Film Service. During World War II, Clément was in the Resistance Movement.

The first major work that Clément directed, Battle on Rails (1946), made him famous. In a severe documentary manner, the film depicts the struggle of French railroad workers against the German occupiers. World War II has an important place in Clément’s work and is central to such films as The Damned (1947), Forbidden Games (1952), The Day and the Hour (1963), and Is Paris Burning? (1966). Motifs of the poetic realism characteristic of prewar French films appeared in On the Other Side of the Fence (1949; shown in the Soviet Union as The Walls of Malapaga). Clément created one of the best screen adaptations of a work by E. Zola, Gervaise (1956, based on the novel L’Assommoir).

Clément was a founder of the Youth Center, a group of beginning cinematographers; in 1943 it became the Institute of Higher Education in Cinema. Clément has received numerous prizes at international film festivals.


Leprohon, P. Sovremennye frantsuzskie kinorezhissery. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from French.)
Farwagi, A. René Clément. Paris, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.