Jean Renoir – La chienne AKA The Bitch (1931)

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Maurice (Michel Simon) is a married cashier who meets Lulu (Janie Marèze), a streetwalker. Their chance meeting results in Maurice falling in love with Lulu. She, however, is in love with her boyfriend-pimp, Dédé (Georges Flamant). Together, Dédé and Lulu plot ways to get Maurice to give cash to Lulu, mostly at the urging of Dédé. Continue reading

Jean Renoir – French Cancan (1954)

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Synopsis
Henri Danglard, proprietor of the fashionable (but bankrupt) cafe ‘Le Paravent Chinois’ featuring his mistress, belly dancer Lola, goes slumming in Montmarte (circa 1890) where the then-old-fashioned cancan is still danced. There, he conceives the idea of reviving the cancan as the feature of a new, more popular establishment…and meets Nini, a laundress and natural dancer, whom he hopes to star in his new show. But a tangled maze of jealousies intervenes… Continue reading

Jean Renoir – Une partie de campagne AKA A Day in the Country (1936)

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Quote:
This bittersweet film from Jean Renoir, based on a story by Guy de Maupassant, is a tenderly comic idyll about a city family’s picnic in the French countryside and the romancing of the mother and grown daughter by two local men. Conceived as a short feature, the project had nearly finished production in 1936 when Renoir was called away for The Lower Depths. Shooting was abandoned then, but the film was completed with the existing footage by Renoir’s team and released in its current form in 1946, after the director had already moved on to Hollywood. The result is a warmly humanist vignette that ranks among Renoir’s most lyrical works, with a love for nature imbuing its every beautiful frame. Continue reading

Jean Renoir – La grande illusion (1937)

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One of the very first prison escape movies, Grand Illusion is hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. Jean Renoir’s antiwar masterpiece stars Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as French soldiers held in a World War I German prison camp, and Erich von Stroheim as the unforgettable Captain von Rauffenstein. Continue reading

Jean Renoir – Le Petit théâtre de Jean Renoir AKA Little Theater of Jean Renoir (1970)

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Made for television, this film consists of four parts: Part One, “The Last Christmas Dinner,” is about the relationship between an old man and an old woman, both homeless. Part Two, “The Electric Floor Polisher,” is an opera-like story of a woman who is obsessed with polishing her floors. Part Three is a musical interlude featuring Jeanne Moreau singing “When Love Dies.” Part Four, “The Virtue of Tolerance,” concerns an old man, his young wife, and how they come to terms when she has an affair with a man her own age. Continue reading

Jean Renoir – La nuit du carrefour AKA Night at the Crossroads (1932)

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Plot (from Allmovie):
La Nuit du Carrefour (A Night at the Crossroads) may well be the least known of Jean Renoir’s sound films. Adapted from a novel by Georges Simenon, the story concentrates on a gang of thieves who utilize a cross-road garage as the hideaway. During their last caper, the gang has accidentally murdered a jewel thief, and the heat is on. Winna Winifred, the beautiful ringleader of the gang, makes the fatal mistake of falling in love with Pierre Renoir (the director’s brother), the detective who’s been assigned to bring her in. The only one of Renoir’s productions to thoroughly qualify as a “crime picture,” La Nuit du Carrefour was often dismissed by the director, who felt that he was so successful in creating a “mysterious atmosphere” that no one understood what was going on (He did, however, enjoy working with Georges Simenon, who became a lifelong friend).- Continue reading

Jean Renoir – Le bled (1929)

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Synopsis
On a streamer bound for Algeria, Pierre Hofer meets and is enchanted by the beautiful Claudie Duvernet, who is travelling to Algeria to collect her vast inheritance. Claudie is being pursued by some unscrupulous relatives, including the cruel Manuel, who intend to rob her of her new-found fortune. Fortunately, Pierre is on hand to thwart their schemes… Continue reading