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Der Mann aus dem Süden
Jean Renoir USA, 1945
Renoir is very adept at blocking out scenes of group revelry, and there is a giddy wedding party sequence that acts as an oasis between emergencies, joining the entire town on bootleg liquor and dance… The Southerner is one of Renoir’s most direct, most simple films, and certainly one of his most moving.
July 25, 2017
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Renoir’s most perfect American film, which can also be counted among his greatest overall… The lyrical, cracker-barrel realism of The Southerner would provide a beacon for future followers – Charles Burnett, for example, has spoken of the film’s influence – but it remains in a class by itself, a pioneer piece of American neorealism.
March 04, 2016
Beulah Bondi’s grotesque Granny undercuts the family scenes, but Renoir’s life-embracing sensibility and veracious, atmospheric style sweep you up in the change of seasons and volatile environments. The film’s haunting possum hunt and nightmarish, disorienting flood are as visceral and poetic as the rabbit shoot in The Rules of the Game.
March 03, 2016
Renoir and the writers’ styles complement each other throughout, though in the final act one can see certain elements of the director’s tonal control get lost in translation… but The Southerner cannot quite handle the overlapping absurd comedy, hopeful relief, and cruel caprice that define the final act, perhaps the result of Renoir’s graceful observation clashing with the stiff theatricality of 1940s Hollywood acting.
February 09, 2016
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It is only through a twitch of the eye, an eye long distorted by this ugly game, that we notice shot changes and camera movements without actually being able to give them more importance than these things deserve. This total, immediate adhesion, this innocence of the spectator finally found, along with the impossibility of speaking of this film directly, and the obligation that it places on us to discourse only about him—such are the most immediate proofs of the total success of Jean Renoir.
June 02, 1950
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