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Gabriel de Gravone
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"Le Voyage Imaginaire" belongs to the most avant-garde first period of the frenchified film director René Clair. This is from his silent and experimental film period of which this German Count is very fond despite Herr Clair being a descendant of those revolutionaries who treated so badly the aristocracy of that country some years ago.
"Le Voyage Imaginaire" is full of suggestions in which different genres are mixed (avant-garde, comedy, surrealism) without any real connection. It's a really bizarre film that relates the complicated relationship between three bank clerks (and their boss) for the typist girl that works in the same office. Herr Clair creates a dream world which plunges the audience into a universe full of fantasy. There are lady fortunetellers, fairies, classic story characters and even modern heroes such as "Charlot" (for the frenchified people) not to mention the "Notre Dame" roofs and the museum "Grévin". To this German Count it seems to be a kind of deluded fairy tale, extravagant, anxiously exaggerated and very rich in film ideas.
That mixed dream world benefits from using all the special effects known at that time (slow motion, double exposure, optical effects) combined with simple backgrounds that are perfect for the formal aspect of the story. It all creates an unreal atmosphere, incredible and dumbfounding at times. Herr Clair directed a very special film that is thought-provoking and fascinating.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must return to the solemn, martial and aristocratic Teutonic world.
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