Under the Roofs of Paris

It's weird how Criterion sometimes translates a title and sometimes doesn't, isn't it?

Under the Roofs of Paris, or Sous les toits de Paris, was Rene Clair's first sound film, released the year before our other two Clair's: Le Million and A nous la Liberte. Clair is full on just experimenting with sound and silence in this movie and it's brilliant. We've got scenes of action with no noise -- or a loud noise covering everything -- scenes of noise with no visible action, conversations that take place behind glass...as if Clair was forced to put sound into this film and his response was, "Oh yeah? I'll give you sound, alright" while rubbing his hands together. Beyond the technical marvel, it's a funny movie, though a bit light on plot as Pat is so quick to point out.