In the 1920s, the Provence is a magnet for immigrants seeking work in the quarries or in the agriculture. Many mingle with locals and settle down permanently – like Toni, an Italian who has moved in with Marie, a Frenchwoman.
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The moment when Marie rows to jump into the water, and suddenly the lake blends with the sky and the rowboat seems to float in nothing. The beauty of this shot is in the lake itself, and it doesn't get more or less beautiful because of the drama that is taking place. The character's conflicts aren't going to stop the work in the quarry or make the grapes stop growing. And that's a great way to tell a story.
A humanistic and striking film that reflects the meaningless of life, as it comes and goes as the train that brings new foreign people to the country. Innovative in its social backround. Disquienting as cinema should be.
One of Renoir's darkest but most interesting films. Because Renoir keeps such humanistic ideals in his work, it is easy to forget that he does not shy away from the dark side of humanity, a la his inspiration Erich von Stroheim. In Toni the earthiness of the peasantry and the immigrants are bookends to the human aspect of the tale, Toni's sexual obsession with Josefa, which ultimately leads to his downfall.
"There is nothing in fact more ignobly useless and superfluous than the organ called the heart, which is the vilest means that one could have invented for pumping life into me." (Artaud) Pumps life out too.. Axiomatic cinema for finding the just intonation to picture human Babylon's two major equalizers: Love and Pain. Distinct psycho-geographies aside, we traverse them in roughly same ways, paying the same price. It
Excellent film by Jean Renoir that often feels like it comes from the 'neorealist' movement that wouldn't come for another decade. The novelty of the film, for the time period, is the location shooting which gives the film a naturalism missing from much work of this period. Story and performances also excel.
There's a type of (gen. humanist) cinema whose claim to legitimacy as an art form is made in literary terms e.g. can rival the novel’s subtlest signifiers; the sweep of being caught up in a thing that felt somehow not at all like artifice; the poetry of every day, and human-sized lives. Futility, dignity, drops in buckets, driving cycles… Like a rainy day novel. Renoir is master of whisper & suggestion in narrative.
Tout est à l'intérieur du film qui se déroule à l'intérieur d'un monde, celui des immigrés. Tout est à l'intérieur du coeur du personnage principal et de son amour fou. C'est l'intimité de ces sentiments que Renoir filme dans des scènes inoubliables de beauté, le temps suspendu et piétiné, une vie directe perdue d'avance. Éblouis par tant d'intelligence sensible nous regardons avec Jean Renoir, filer la misère.