Claude Autant-Lara

Claude Autant-Lara

Claude Autant-Lara

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Claude Autant-Lara (5 August 1901, Luzarches, Val-d’Oise – 5 February 2000, Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes), was a French film director and later Member of the European Parliament (MEP).


Autant-Lara was educated in France and at London's Mill Hill School during his mother's exile as a pacifist. Early in his career, he worked as an art director and costume designer, his best known work in this vein was possibly for Nana (1926), a silent film directed by Jean Renoir. Autant-Lara also acted in the film.

As a director, he frequently created provocative movies, saying "if a film does not have venom, it is worthless". In the 1960s, he turned his back on the New Wave movement, and from then on he had no popular successes.

On 18 June 1989, he came to public notice again, controversially, when he was elected to the European Parliament as a member of the National Front and the oldest member of the assembly. In his maiden speech, in July, he caused a scandal by expressing his "concerns about the American cultural threat", provoking a walkout by the majority of the deputies.

In an interview granted to the monthly magazine Globe in September 1989, he engaged in what Minister of Justice Pierre Arpaillange referred to as "racial insults, racial slandering and incitements to racial hatred". He also described Nazi gas chambers as a "string of lies". The resulting scandal led to his resignation as European deputy. Moreover, the members of the...
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