René Clair. Entr'acte. 1924
René Clair

Entr'acte

1924
Not on view
Production
France
Duration
17 min.
Credit
Film in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Object number
39148
Department
Film

A classic of avant-garde cinema, Entr'acte was made as an intermission piece for the Ballets Suédois production of Relâche, a Dada theater work that premiered in Paris in December of 1924. The ballet's director, Francis Picabia, gave René Clair a short scenario around which to build the film, and Erik Satie composed an original score to accompany it, but the finished work is "pure" cinema—the individual shots and the connections between them resulting in what Clair described as "visual babblings." Key figures of the contemporary Parisian art world appear in the film in absurd comic cameos, including Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Borlin (director of the Ballets Suédois), Georges Auric, Picabia, and Clair himself. As Picabia declared, Entr'acte "respects nothing except the right to roar with laughter."

Publication excerpt from In Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern Art by Steven Higgins, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 104

Additional text

Entr'acte is a veritable encyclopedia of the cinema of magic: the image plastic and kinetic, the sensibility comic, inventive, charming and absurd. Made as intermission entertainment for the Ballet Suédois, from an impromptu scenario by Francis Picabia and accompanied originally by an orchestral score by Erik Satie, the film stars a who's who of the Dada movement of Paris at the time. The plot, a series of improbable adventures, is inconsequential except as an excuse for Clair to explore the limits of the medium: the camera is run forward and in reverse, tipped side to side and upside down; the film is single-framed, undercranked, and run at high speed; the resulting action is animated, sped up, slowed down; the visuals are superimposed and transformed through various matte frames; the viewer is caught up and assaulted by the frenetic pace of the recorded and edited image. The sum of these parts is a charming but challenging vision of Paris as a world of the imagination and the Dadaist intellectual conceit.

Publication excerpt from Circulating Film Library Catalogue, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1984, p. 167

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource