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Renoir Reprise


June 30 (Wednesday) 7:00 pm

The Crime of Monsieur Lange (Le Crime de Monsieur Lange)

Directed by Jean Renoir
France 1935, b/w, 35mm, 90 min.
Sith Jules Berry, René Léfévre, Sylvia Bataille
French with English subtitles

Shot in 25 days, this classic film of workers’ solidarity, presented in the language of ironic, Brechtian black comedy, expresses the optimism of the Popular Front days. It’s a comedy-thriller-romance about a group of exploited employees in a publishing firm whose oppressive boss (Berry) suddenly ups and disappears. They set up a successful co-operative in his absence, but chaos reigns when he suddenly reappears, only to be held at gunpoint by Lange (Lefèvre), a writer of pulp Westerns. Fantasy, politics, and gentle naturalism combine to perfection, and the two contrasting central actors — evil Berry and good Lefèvre — are superb.

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July 5 (Monday) 7:00 pm
July 6 (Tuesday) 9:15 pm

Grand Illusion (La Grande Illusion)

Directed by Jean Renoir
France 1937, b/w, 35mm, 117 min.
With Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio, Erich von Stroheim
French with English subtitles

Set during WWI, most of Grand Illusion takes place in a German prisoner of war camp for officers, including Frenchmen, who have been captured on the front. Through the relationships between the prisoners and their jailers, Renoir explores confinement and humanity’s essential longing for freedom; male friendship and its erotic overtones; class and racial ties. With Grand Illusion, Renoir broke new ground in the spontaneity and freedom of performance and shooting style, attaining a warmth and compassion for people and their suffering. Unfortunately, he failed at his main objective: to have Grand Illusion persuade the Germans not to precipitate WWII.

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July 7 (Wednesday) 7:00 pm

The Rules of the Game (La Règle du Jeu)

Directed by Jean Renoir
France 1938, b/w, 35mm, 110 min.
With Marcel Dalio, Nora Grégor, Jean Renoir
French with English subtitles

Renoir’s belief that "honest sincerity is catastrophic in a world where everyone has his reasons," is extraordinarily articulated and intricately examined in this satirical, multilayered anatomy of French aristocracy. Its balanced mixture of farce and brittle irony have led many to consider The Rules of the Game Renoir’s masterpiece.

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July 12 (Monday) 7:00 pm

The River

river.jpg (14176 bytes)Directed by Jean Renoir
India 1950, color, 35mm, 99 min.

With Patricia Walters, Radha, Adrienne Corri, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight

"I can’t imagine cinema without water. The movement of cinema has something ineluctable about it, like the current of a stream." Renoir’s use of water imagery in his French films continued during his wartime exile in Hollywood (Swamp Water, The Southerner) and culminated in this tableau of life by the Ganges River. He worked closely with author Rumer Godden to adapt her account of her childhood in India, incorporating documentary and poetic interludes. The director’s worldview had progressed (or regressed?) from the protest and satire of a social critic to the reverence of a philosopher. The River was the first film in color for both Jean Renoir and his nephew Claude, the cinematographer. "This film, so rich in metaphor, is ultimately only about metaphor itself, or absolute knowledge."-Jacques Rivette

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