Widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s masterpiece The Rules of the Game is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners. At a weekend hunting party, amorous escapades abound among the aristocratic guests and are mirrored by the activities of the servants downstairs. The refusal of one of the guests to play by society’s rules sets off a chain of events that ends in tragedy. Poorly received upon its release in 1939, the film was severely re-edited, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II. Only in 1959 was the film fully reconstructed and embraced by audiences and critics who now see it as a timeless representation of a vanishing way of life.
The son of the painter Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir became one of France’s most important and respected filmmakers during the middle of the 20th century. A Philosophy and Math student, Renoir became a cavalryman, but was invalided out of the army before World War I. Later, he married a model and aspiring actress, and, following the death of his father and the acquisition of an inheritance, set up his own production company to produce movies for his wife. Renoir learned from these early experiences of financing movies and watching other films, and became a director in 1924. With the advent of sound, Renoir’s career was quickly made with a series of profitable films, including La Chienne (1931), a savage and dark drama about a man’s self-destruction, which was later remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street. Renoir’s subsequent films, including The Lower Depths (1936) and Grand Illusion (1937), were among the finest made in France before the war, and were well acknowledged at the time of… read more
Renoir's complex, cool comedy still carries its sting almost three-quarters of a century later. Equal parts foreboding statement on the impending World War II and savage mutilation of French bourgeois sensibility, The Rules of the Game grapples with modernity and shows its putrid boils.
Like a Mahler symphony, a totentanz seeming at once elegant and graceful while delving into profanity and with sinister undertones woven throughout, coming together in chaotic harmony. Gradually revealing a society’s underlying urges which seeks to create and preserve for itself but yields only destruction.
Never before and never since has chaos been so elegantly portrayed on film. Masses of bodies and figures from the sky and earth, from upper to lower class societies meld together seamlessly in carnivalesque fashion. No matter how many rules and regulations civilization imposes on itself, "everyone has their reasons" and it's these reasons which always paradoxically lead to anomy.
The British magazine unveils the results of their 2012 poll of the greatest films of all time.
Also: Andrei Ujică at the Museum of the Museum Image, NYFF notes and remembering Paulette Dubost.
"As soon as you make a theory, facts destroy it."”– Jean Renoir Jean Renoir is not "elegant." Jean Renoir was never a "master." Though he
You know that feeling you get when you watch a film and you feel like at least a dozen things aesthetically and thematically went over your head? Yeah, I got that feeling constantly while watching… read review