Under the Roofs of Paris

Live set by DJ Mean Mr. Mustard

Under the Roofs of Paris begins with an engrossing establishing shot that drifts downward from the Parisian rooftops. A street singer transforms the cobbled streets into a church-like gathering place, inviting early morning passersby to congregate and join in the choruses in a warm display of local solidarity. Initially skeptical of the then-new sound-sync technology, Rene Clair’s first foray into sound film is an accomplished experiment, a sympathetic look at a working class love triangle that mixes subtle silent-film pantomime with sparse dialogue and engaging song. His dreamily fluid camerawork effortlessly situates the small-scale melodrama within the titular metropolis, making it emblematic without sacrificing its sense of intimacy.

Dir. René Clair, 1930, 35mm (Print Courtesy of the Institut Francais), 96 min.