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Entr'acte. Entreacto. (1924). Rene Clair

Entr'acte. Entreacto. (1924). Rene Clair

Entr'acte -Entreacto- es una composición fílmica de clara vinculación dadaísta y surrealista en donde la construcción narrativa convencional del modo de representación clásico no tiene cabida. Así, las secuencias se van sucediendo una a otra sin aparente vinculación (ausencia de raccord). 

Fuente de experimentación a su vez de las teorías acerca del ritmo en la composición cinematográfica desarrolladas por el propio René Clair, un siniestro y a la vez cómico cortejo fúnebre va acelerando el paso hasta que de repente, un féretro cae al suelo y el supuesto muerto sale del mismo vestido de prestidigitador y rompe el cartel que anuncia el final de la película. 

Algunos sostienen que la película hace una alusión al poeta Arthur Cravan, en base a la aparición de objetos como un cañón de guerra, el ballet, guantes de boxeo, un barco de papel, un muerto que desaparece, entre otros. Situaciones que estuvieron presentes en la vida del poeta-boxeador Cravan y en su misteriosa desaparición.

Version con musica de Henri Sauguet

Version con musica de The Cinematic Orchestra



Director: René Clair 

Script: Francis Picabia, René Clair 

Photo: Jimmy Berliet 

Music: Henri Sauguet 

Cast: Jean Börlin, Inge Frïss, Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Darius Milhaud, Erik Satie, Mamy 

Country: France 

Language: French 

Runtime: 22 min; B&W; silent 


Two men approach a canon and fire it. Rifle-range dummies sway in the wind. A dancing ballerina turns into a strange bearded man. Two men on a roof-top terrace play a game of chess. A funeral procession, moving in slow motion, follows a coffin pulled by a camel. What can it all mean...? 


This extraordinary early film from director René Clair was originally made to fill an interval between two acts of Francis Picabia’s new ballet, Relâche, at the Théâtre des Champs- Elysées in Paris in 1924. Picabia famously wrote a synopsis for the film on one sheet of note paper, headed Maxim’s (the famous Parisian restaurant), which he sent to René Clair. This formed the basis for what ultimately appeared on screen, with some additional improvisations. Music for the film was composed by the famous avant-garde composer Erik Satie, who appears in the film, along side its originator, Francis Picabia. The surrealist photographer Man Ray also puts in an appearance, in a film which curiously resembles his own experimental films of this era. 
Entr'acte is a surrealistic concoction of unrelated images, reflecting Clair’s interest in Dada, a fashionable radical approach to visual art which relied on experimentation and surreal expressionism. Clair’s imagery is both captivating and disturbing, giving life to inanimate objects (most notably the rifle range dummies), whilst attacking conventions, even the sobriety of a funeral march. 
When the first performance of Relâche was cancelled because of the ill-health of one of is stars, the public were outraged. There was a belief that Picabia had staged the ultimate Dada stunt - the title of the show means "respite" in French. The controversy was laid to rest when the show opened, a few days later than planned. For its part, Clair's Entr'acte won widespread praise, although the response from the paying public was divided. As to what the film actually means, well that's anyone's guess. Like all good surrealist art there are an infinite number of possible interpretations, and one's appreciation and understanding of this film is very much a subjective experience. Themes which appear to dominate the work are death, mortality and the hastening pace of technology. Hence, one possible interpretation is that the film is mocking mankind's attempts to cope with the brevity of his existence. As progress is made, man has to run faster and faster to cram more and more into a fixed duration, his limited lifespan. Could the Entr'acte of the film's title represent that short period of what we call "life", that too brief an interval between two acts of an eternal duration? 

©James Travers 2000 

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