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 accused ex-President of the European Parliament and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil of playing "ethnic politics" to try and "infiltrate and dominate", saying that "If they try to speak to me about genocide, I say they missed mother Veil!" He also described Nazi gas chambers as a "string of lies". Justice Minister Pierre Arpaillange described the remarks as "racial insults, racial slandering and incitements to racial hatred". The resulting scandal led to his resignation as European deputy. Moreover, the members of the Academy of the Fine Arts, of which he was a vice-president for life, voted to prohibit him from taking his seat thenceforth.
His memoir, The Rage in the Heart, appeared in 1984.
- 1920 : L'Homme du large (actor, set design, assistant director)
- 1928 : Construire un feu (in early Henri Chretien widescreen process)
- 1931 : Buster se marie (French adaptation of Buster Keaton film Parlor, Bedroom and Bath, co-directed with Edward Brophy)
- 1933 : Ciboulette; film version of the operetta Ciboulette
- 1937 : L'Affaire du courrier de Lyon (co-directed with Maurice Lehmann)
- 1939 : Fric-Frac
- 1942 : Le Mariage de chiffon
- 1942 : Lettres d'amour
- 1943 : Douce
- 1946 : Sylvie et le fantôme
- 1947 : Le Diable au corps
- 1949 : Occupe-toi d'Amélie
- 1951 : The Red Inn (L'Auberge rouge) [also screenwriter]
- 1952 : The Seven Deadly Sins [also screenwriter]
- 1953 : Le Blé en herbe
- 1953 : Le Bon Dieu sans confession [also screenwriter]
- 1954 : Le Rouge et le noir
- 1955 : Marguerite de la nuit
- 1956 : La Traversée de Paris
- 1958 : Le Joueur (fr)
- 1959 : En cas de malheur
- 1959 : The Green Mare (La Jument verte)
- 1960 : Tu ne tueras point
- 1961 : Le Comte de Monte-Cristo
- 1961 : Vive Henri IV... vive l'amour! ... aka Long Live Henry IV... Long Live Love (USA: literal English title)
- 1963 : Le Meurtrier
- 1964 : Le Magot de Josefa
- 1965 : Le Journal d'une femme en blanc
- 1967 : Le Plus vieux métier du monde
- 1967 : Le Franciscain de Bourges
- 1969 : Les Patates
- 1977 : Gloria
In addition, he was director of at least five other films produced between 1923 and 1936.
This article is based on the equivalent French-language Wikipedia article (retrieved November 30, 2005).