Entr'acte (film)

Entr'acte is a 1924 French short film directed by René Clair, which premiered as an entr'acte for the Ballets Suédois production Relâche at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Relâche is based on a book and with settings by Francis Picabia, produced by Rolf de Maré, and with choreography by Jean Börlin. The music for both the ballet and the film was composed by Erik Satie.

Satie & Picabia, Clair & Biorlin (prologue de Relache).jpg
Directed byRené Clair
Produced byRolf de Maré
Written byRené Clair
Francis Picabia
StarringJean Börlin
Inger Frïis
Music byErik Satie
CinematographyJimmy Berliet
Distributed bySociété Nouvelle des Acacias
Release date
  • 4 December 1924 (1924-12-04) (United States)
Running time
22 minutes



For this production, the Dadaists collaborating on the project invented a new mode of production: instantanéisme. The complete film takes about 20 minutes using such techniques as watching people run in slow motion, watching things happen in reverse, looking at a ballet dancer from underneath, watching an egg over a fountain of water get shot and instantly become a bird and watching people disappear. The cast included cameo appearances by Francis Picabia, Erik Satie, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Borlin (director of the Ballets Suédois), Georges Auric, and Clair himself. The conductor of the orchestra at the premiere was Roger Désormière.


Film sequenceEdit

The two parts of the film are as follows:

  • A sequence of about 90 seconds (time indications are approximate: film and music techniques at the time of the premiere did not allow accurate timing), starring Satie and Picabia firing a cannon from the top of a building. This sequence, as silent movie, was played at the beginning of the ballet, right after the "little overture" ("Ouverturette"), and before the curtain raised ("Rideau"). The music to this part of the film is called "Projectionnette", and is included as 2nd item in the Relâche partition. There appears to be no real effort to synchronise music and action in this part of the film. Probably the "Projectionnette" music was played two or three times before proceeding to the "Rideau" part of the music.
  • The rest of the film was played as entr'acte between the two acts of the ballet. The score for this part of the film is not included in the Relâche partition, but was written down by Satie in a separate score, titled "Cinéma". This part of the music contains "expandable" repeat zones, in order to match the start of a new melody with certain events in the film, thus it was one of the earliest examples of music to film synchronization. In the score, Satie names 10 sections that are associated with scenes in the film.

In 1974 the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival.[1]


The film is included on the Criterion Collection DVD of Clair's À Nous la Liberté (1931).


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Entr'acte". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2009.

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