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Jean Renoir

MUBI Special

MUBI is proud to present a lilting overview of the cinema of one of the most important of all directors and one of the 20th century’s greatest artists: Jean Renoir. Beginning with the first feature he directed himself (Whirlpool of Fate), threading through the 1930s with his magnificent historical films (WW I in Grand Illusion, the French Revolution in La Marseillaise) and the less-known masterpiece The Crime of M. Lange and concluding with two under-appreciated late career pictures, including a wild experiment for television (The Testament of Dr. Cordelier), this survey presents the bountiful range of individuals, loves, crimes, passion, evils, communities, actors and genres that Renoir was magnificently able to express. With a sensibility and a camera open to life’s liveliness and contradictions, Renoir took cinema to its apex.

Detail of painting “Jean Renoir dessinant” (1901) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

The Crime of Monsieur Lange

Jean Renoir France, 1936


The best least-known film from Jean Renoir’s vibrant, politically provocative 1930s period, this masterpiece of social exploitation and cooperation conflates genres, crosses class divides, is sexy and sad, critical and wonderful all in one picture. That is, it’s an unforgettable film by Jean Renoir.

Picnic on the Grass

Jean Renoir France, 1959


Recalling the sun-swept pastoral scenes of his father’s paintings, this late work by Jean Renoir turned his focus to the dichotomy between science and the forces of nature. A deeply personal drama from one of cinema’s finest filmmakers reaching the logical conclusion of his artistic project.

La Marseillaise

Jean Renoir France, 1938


We move from Renoir’s early films to his justly praised 1930s heights with this under-known but visionary period drama capturing French Revolution. It justly sweeps across French society, creating a far richer, more complex portrait of the era than the original Popular Front producers had desired.

Whirlpool of Fate

Jean Renoir France, 1925


We continue our Jean Renoir retrospective by leaping back to his sophomore feature, Whirlpool of Fate: a saga of romance and class struggle realized through a budding yet distinct lyricism. Too often is America’s contribution to silent cinema overstated, and this film’s feats alone argue otherwise.

The Testament of Dr. Cordelier

Jean Renoir France, 1959


Jean Renoir’s oeuvre is one of boundless ambition in humanism, satire, and delicate dramatics. His final films play as zeniths to all these aspects, and amongst them is this invigorated Jekyll & Hyde revision which stands as one of his finest treatments on the theme of the individual versus society.

Grand Illusion

Jean Renoir France, 1937


Today begins a new retrospective devoted to one of the greatest directors, Jean Renoir. We begin with his anti-war classic starring Jean Gabin and Erich von Stroheim, a film of tremendous warmth, wit, and wisdom. Orson Welles once said if he could only choose to save one film, it would be this.

Life is too short for bad films

Every day we hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have a whole month to watch it, so there’s always 30 perfectly curated films to discover.