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782 Ratings

La bête humaine

Directed by Jean Renoir
France, 1938


Based on the classic Emile Zola novel, Jean Renoir’s La Bête humaine, a suspenseful journey into the tormented psyche of a workingman, was one of the director’s greatest popular successes—and earned star Jean Gabin a permanent place in the hearts of his countrymen.

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La bête humaine Directed by Jean Renoir

Critics reviews

A grimly fatalistic tale about a train engineer’s inbred compulsion to murder, and his desperate attempts to restrain it, it is graced by an iconic Jean Gabin performance that attempts to go beyond good and evil… Lantier is a devilishly difficult character to portray, a victim of fate and genetics who still, in the end, commits heinous acts. He is something of a monster, and yet Gabin’s sensitive, wounded and defeated performance imbues him with what amounts to a soul.
June 13, 2017
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It reads as being especially nefarious, and certainly psychological, but Renoir holds true to his style and doesn’t burden the film with inquiry. Rather, he extracts the poetry from Zola’s text and translates it as poetic realism instead of any variation of actual realism.
August 05, 2016
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