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Sur un air de Charleston (1927)

Shot in three days, this surreal, erotic silent short shows a native white girl teaching a futuristic African airman the Charleston dance.


Jean Renoir


André Cerf (idea by), Pierre Lestringuez (scenario)

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Cast overview:
Catherine Hessling ... Parisian Savage
Johnny Hudgins Johnny Hudgins ... African Explorer
Pierre Braunberger Pierre Braunberger ... Angel
André Cerf André Cerf ... Angel
Pierre Lestringuez Pierre Lestringuez ... Angel
Jean Renoir ... Angel


Shot in three days, this surreal, erotic silent short shows a native white girl teaching a futuristic African airman the Charleston dance.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Sci-Fi

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

19 March 1927 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Charleston See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Néo-Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

A Private Divertimento
16 February 2007 | by FerdinandVonGalitzienSee all my reviews

"Sur Un Air De Charleston" is a good example of the evil influences that came from beyond the Atlantic sea… strange customs, garments, gastronomy or dances; modernises that almost put an end the conservatives European habits.

A reputable French director (a frenchified dichotomy… ) instead of listening day and night to "La Marseilleise", changed such martial and delicate music rhythm to Jazz, that out-of-tune Amerikan music that was fashionable during the mad 20's in Europe (with the exception of the aristocratic circles that preferred dancing in circles in to dizzy waltzes). So, due to Renoir's liking of Jazz and with some left over stock footage of his excellent and previous film "Nana" (1926), he decided to have a good time making this surreal, bizarre but funny musical silent film (a frenchified incongruity).

In 2028, a mysterious African explorer puts his aircraft on Terra incognita. He meets a charming young native that is accompanied by a chimpanzee, who is going to introduce him to a dance of the wild natives (not the chimpanzee)…, that is to say, the Charleston.

That's the bizarre story of the film, a perfect excuse to put and show the French (Dame Catherine Hessling, natürlich! ) dancing the Charleston wildly… forward, backward in fast and stop motion. Meanwhile the astonished African explorer (Herr Johnny Huggings, a black actor characterized as a negro!) learns to dance quickly and hastily.

Obviously "Sur Un Air De Charleston" is a harmless, a private divertimento, a bizarre but charming short film made to show Renoir's wife's dancing talent. It is an oeuvre that includes the atmosphere that Herr Renoir was so fond of in some of his early films besides … all that Jazz.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must dance St. Vitus's dance.

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