Jean Renoir

Jean Renoir – French Cancan (1954)


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… Read More »

Jean Renoir – La Marseillaise (1938)


A news-reel like movie about early part of the French Revolution, shown from the eyes of individual people, citizens of Marseille, counts in German exile and, of course the king Louis XVI, showing their own small problems.

“An heroic romanticized telling of the French Revolution of 1789.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An heroic romanticized telling of the French Revolution of 1789. It covers the events beginning in 1789, when a constitutional monarchy was created after the storming of the Bastille. It leaves off in 1792, when the aristocracy led a counterrevolution that led to their overthrow and the citizen soldiers were last seen in battle with the invading Prussian army in the Battle of Valmy. It’s directed with great skill and feeling by Jean Renoir (“Whirlpool of Fate”/”Grand Illusion”/”The Rules of the Game”). This episodic epic (told in five chapters: The Court, The Civil and The Military Authorities, The Aristocrats, The Marseilles Locals, and The Ordinary Citizens), co-written with Renoir, Carl Koch and N. Martel-Dreyfus, comes with a cast of thousands dressed appropriately in period costumes. It effectively uses the director’s noted naturalistic style of filmmaking in its well-choreographed battles and chatty behind the scene political intrigues. Read More »

Jean Renoir – La chienne AKA The Bitch (1931)


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. Read More »

Jean Renoir – La grande illusion (1937)


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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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


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).- Read More »

Jean Renoir – La Règle du jeu AKA Rules of the Game [+Extras] (1939)


Widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s masterpiece The Rules of the Game is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners. At a weekend hunting party, amorous escapades abound among the aristocratic guests and are mirrored by the activities of the servants downstairs. The refusal of one of the guests to play by society’s rules sets off a chain of events that ends in tragedy. Poorly received upon its release in 1939, the film was severely re-edited, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II. Only in 1959 was the film fully reconstructed and embraced by audiences and critics who now see the film as a timeless representation of a vanishing way of life. Read More »