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469 Ratings


Directed by Jean Renoir
France, 1935


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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Toni Directed by Jean Renoir

Critics reviews

Writing about Jean Renoir’s Toni (1935) has focused on the way it anticipated neorealism with its use of location shooting, non-professional actors and environmental sound, and with its starkly un-idealized plot and characters. (Luchino Visconti was the assistant director.) But the film is stunning not for its realism so much as for its realness, a vivid sensuality born from the alchemy of documentary naturalism and unabashed artistry.
January 09, 2014
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Neither a major nor a minor work in the Renoir canon, Tonidemands to be regarded more as an adventure of the director in contact with his material than as an integral and “finished” composition… Over and around the largely melodramatic plot is draped an expansive mood of leisurely improvisation, like an ill-fitting but comfortable suit of clothes, often permitting the accidental and random to take precedence over the deliberate, the individual detail over the general design.
October 01, 1974
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What are people saying?

  • Hugo Poderoso's rating of the film Toni

    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.

  • Gonçalo Embaló's rating of the film Toni

    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.

  • Neil Bahadur's rating of the film Toni

    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.

  • francisca bacon's rating of the film Toni

    "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

  • chanandre's rating of the film Toni

    je suppose que michael bay a vu cette explosion et s'est dit a lui même 'darn i wanna be a director 'cause of this guy', un jour je le demanderai.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Toni

    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.

  • Petra Simmons's rating of the film Toni

    There's a type of usually 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.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Toni

    One of those pantheon films about the French countruside, where the deflected moral codes by passion's sudden bite undergo the reversal that awaits contingency's approval. The genius of Renoir blends a Sadean imagery (the whipping scene) with society's 'return' to the state of nature, all foretold in the brilliant scene of Josefa stung by a wasp when she meets Toni in the idyllic natural setting.

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