A French comedy, one of the greatest films ever made?

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First shown in 1939, Jean Renoir’s “rules of the game” So often it makes the list of the greatest films of all time that even its ranking is difficult to explain clearly. This French film cannot radically shake the conventions of cinematic storytelling “citizen Kane” Was done in 1941, nor does it have obsessive greed “Vertigo” Is very endlessly rewatchable. Although a part of the Renoir film’s reputation rests on its deep focus and long-term use, it did not invent either technique – and why does camerawork alone not do so.

But “The Rules of the Game” is the most perfectly balanced of the films: a film about Vivek who is a model in every way. The opening credits call it a “dramatic fantasy”, but it is not just a drama, a farce or a tragedy. It is a comedy of etiquette (even if the introductory text explicitly rejects that description) in which etiquette acts as an introductory. Manners and etiquette excuse the characters from dealing honestly with matters of the heart, and perhaps even blind them to the encroachment of World War II.

“Game of the Game” was made in France as Hitler threatened Europe. In that context, Renoir’s comic criticism of what he called “the decline of society” faces the dreaded air. The chaos and death of the final act seems like more than convenient ways to bring the proceedings to a close.

“rules of the game”: Stream on Criterion channel or Kanopy; Rent or buy It’s on amazon, Google play or Of vudu.

The description of the plot only scratches the surface. Aviator Andre Jurieux (Roland Touten) makes the mistake of getting embroiled in a grand romantic gesture: he is introduced to France after completing a solo trans-Atlantic flight to rival Charles Lindbergh. But after landing, he finds that Christine (Nora Gregor), the married woman for whom he had completed the flight – and whose affection he has probably lost – is not there to greet her. He expresses his displeasure with a radio reporter, and Renoir bites Christine upon listening to the live broadcast. She and her husband, Robert, (Marcel Dalio), are a mercurial, discussing soon after.

Why doesn’t Andre calmly accept his role as a national hero, his friend Octave (Renoir) asks, shortly after Andre drives his car into the ditch? Apparently Christine could not show up to greet him. “She is a society woman,” Octave says, “and society has strict rules.” How the characters follow those rules – or rather, smash them – becomes through the film’s line.

Robert, for one, understands how upset Andre must be. “He puts his life at risk,” Robert tells Christine with a sort of disgusting smuggling. “How could you deny him that little token of love?” Infidelity is not at all frowned in in circles of marquis; He is in an affair with Genevieve (Mila Paley), who is widely whispered about. Nevertheless, Christine’s unexpected display of allegiance to him led him to end piety.

Robert and Christine’s concern with maintaining appearances is a subtext: each is treated as an outsider – Robert, for his Jewish heritage, which he chooses when he is out of sight, And Christine, because she is the daughter of a prominent Austrian conductor, put him on a removal from French society.

Octave, who grew up with Christine in Salzburg and says he sees her as a sister, can move radically between the film world. He persuades Robert to invite Andre to flee the country; Robert congratulated his wife and her admirers that “they can see each other and talk on it.” Clearly, the only way to solve the love triangle is to get everyone in close quarters, among other members of high society, and to make everyone perform performances appropriate.

Robert extended the invitation to say, “The terrible thing about life is this: everyone has their own reasons,” Octave tells Robert. This is the film’s best-known line, and represents an idea that “The Rules of the Game” reflects both as a dramatic theory – the film would have been happy to illuminate its characters’ flaws and small moments of hypocrisy Is – and as an aesthetic strategy.

In earlier films, Renoir had already experimented with a deeper focus, which allows the foreground and background to be seen clearly at the same time. The device is used under “rules” to underline the acting of their characters, as they watch or chase each other in the ornate rooms and halls of a vast estate.

Film theorist Andre Bazin wrote that by the time of “The Rules”, the director had “uncovered the mystery of a film form, which would allow the world to do everything without cutting it into small pieces, revealing the hidden meanings in people” . And things are natural for them without disturbing Ekta. “Suddenly the camera moves – like a dolly shot when Christine approaches Andre on a chateau in a wet rain – The most delicate piece of Shaivas.

The film’s much-awaited focal point is a lengthy hunting sequence in which the characters superficially engage in gentile physical violence (hunting rabbits and shovels), while they carry out acts of equally emotional violence. André tells Jackie, Christine’s niece, that she is not interested in him. Robert breaks things up with Genevieve, though as he does so, Christine blurts them through binoculars, confirmed.

Upper-crusted characters are not merely deceived; Initially, Christine asks her estranged maid, Lisette (charming Paulette Dubost), about her lovers. Soon Lisket begins to flirt with a literal hunter (Julian Carette) who has angered Lisket’s husband, a gamekeeper (Gaston Modot). Class satire is nothing new for Renoir – “Bodoo Saved From Drawing” (1932), a great next step if you want to further his work, a bookseller saves a tramp from suicide and learns quickly Is that no good work was done.

But tensions in the “rules of the game” – between rich and poor, between justification and liberalism, between order and epistemology – are so sophisticated as to be almost sui genis. The characters seem a little different with each scene, and have some more devastating finale than the Marquis’s farewell words, as he invites his guests inside to hide from the cold.

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