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06 July 2016

La liberté surveillée (1958)

Today, a film special at EFSP about the unusual French-Czech coproduction La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady, Robert Hossein and René Lefèvre. In the middle of the Cold War, there was this non-political film about love and nature. The East-German film distributor Progress produced this series of cards for the film.

Marina Vlady, Robert Hossein
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1842, 1963. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein.

Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 1, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein.

Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 2, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein.

Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 3, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein.

A good use of colour and cinemascope


La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) is a French-Czechoslovakian co-production, with two directors and a cast with both French and Czech actors, all speaking their language.

The screenplay was co-written by Colette Audry, Marie Epstein, Joseph Picek and Vladimír Vlcek.

Filmed on location in Eastern Europe, the photography by Vladimír Novotný and Gustave Raulet of the landscapes is beautiful, with a good use of colour and cinemascope.

The stars are Marina Vlady, who was of Russian descent and Robert Hossein, born in the Ukraine, but he plays a French man in the film.

La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 4, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958).

Marina Vlady in La liberté surveillé (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 5, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady.

La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 6, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958).

Robert Hossein and Marina Vlady in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 8, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein.

Marina Vlady in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 9, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady.

Yearning to live in communist Czechoslovakia


The first scene of La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty shows Hossein with the police hot on his heels.

DB DuMonteil at IMDb: "But, and that's the main originality of the screenplay, we only learn why in the very last scene.The rest of the movie is not really a thriller. The impostor subject does not really interest the writers who depict some time in Czechoslovakia."

What is unusual here is that the hero is a Frenchman who yearns to live in communist Czechoslovakia. His wish is granted when, mistaken as a masseur of a French boating team, he manages to elude the democratic authorities long enough to scamper over the Czech border.

It turns out that he is motivated by romance rather than politics. The film shows a race, a funny scene when Hossein is taught his job by an ageing René Lefèvre, then a holiday on a peaceful river, complete with country fair, campfires, songs, and a love affair between Hossein and Vlady.

DuMonteil notes that 'River movie' best depicts this unusual film, which has almost nothing to do with the gangster flicks which were thriving in France during the 1950s.

Marina Vlady in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 11, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady.

Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 13, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Marina Vlady and Robert Hossein.

Robert Hossein in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 15, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958) with Robert Hossein.

René Lefèvre and Robert Hossein in La liberté surveillée (1958)
Big East-German card by Progress, no. 13002, 16, 1963. Publicity still for La liberté surveillée/Provisional Liberty (Henri Aisner, Vladimír Vlcek, 1958)  with René Lefèvre and Robert Hossein.

Sources: DB DuMonteil (IMDb), Unifrance and IMDb.

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