À Nous la Liberté (1931)
- Summaries (4)
Seeking better life, two convicts escape from prison.
A famous left-wing satirical comedy about two ex-convicts, one of whom escaped jail and then worked his way up from salesman to factory owner, where he oversees a highly mechanized operation where the workers are reduced to mere automatons. Fearful of being exposed over his past, at first by his friend and later by another gangster, the owner chooses to give his factory to the workers, then escapes with his friend to the freedom of the open road. The production company for "A Nous la Liberte" was for more than a decade embroiled in a lawsuit claiming that Charles Chaplin had seen their film and plagiarized many ideas from it as he developed "Modern Times."
Émile and Louis are friends and cell-mates in a French prison. Their life inside is one where they are required to do labor intensive assembly work. They have a plan to escape together, but when time comes for the escape, only Louis is able to make it out. On the outside, Louis becomes a captain of industry by opening his own successful phonograph manufacturing company. Although he has no further plans for an escape feeling he wouldn't be able to do it without the assistance of his friend, Émile does manage to seize an opportunity for an escape himself. On the outside, he gets a job at Louis' primary phonograph factory, not initially knowing it is owned by his old friend. Their reunion coincides with Louis' plans to upgrade his factory operations to a more mechanized one. As they deal with their lives - which includes women issues and staying one step ahead of the law - they learn that modernization, either at the factory or elsewhere, may ultimately lead to that emotional freedom they so desire that doesn't come from escaping from the physical confines of prison walls. They also learn that this freedom has its own consequences.
Two prisoners agree with the wink to escape from the prison. During the escape, one is stopped and the other manages to escape, becoming an affirmed businessman. When his friend goes out of prison, he finds him in the industry and, winking, they happily resume their friendship. The entrepreneur is recognized and threatened by other former prison mates, who want their share. The businessman tries to cancel a trial, but they have more than one, so he closes them in a room in his house. By mistake the friend opens the door and the bandits come out warning the police. After a general pantomime set in the industry, the two friends run away without anything embraced but happy with the value of friendship and freedom, which is at the center of the song: "For us, freedom".
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