Tag Archives: Charles Blavette

Jean Renoir – Le déjeuner sur l’herbe AKA Picnic on the Grass (1959)

Synopsis:
Etienne Alexis, a candidate for president of the new Europe, is a scientist promoting artificial insemination for social betterment and therapy to eliminate passion. His wealthy household (his family owns chemical corporations that will profit from his ideas) is stiff, intellectual, and sterile. To celebrate his engagement to a German cousin, he hosts an aseptic picnic, where mother nature asserts herself. A shepherd’s flute conjures a windstorm that throws Alexis together with the luscious Nénette, a farm lass who wants to have a baby but is unimpressed with men. Read More »

François Villiers – L’eau vive (1958)

Synopsis (courtesy of the IMDB):
Old Félix, a prosperous land owner in Haute Provence, will be expropriated because a dam is being built on the River Durance and his estate is to be flooded. He receives thirty million francs in compensation but dies soon after. Hortense, his only daughter, inherits the money but the trouble is that Félix has hidden the loot somewhere and it is nowhere to be found. All of Hortense’s next of kin suddenly take an interest in the “poor orphan” and those greedy ones – with the exception of kind-hearted uncle Simon – put pressure on the girl, and try – through wile, threat and even murder, to inveigle her inheritance. But however young and frail Hortense is, she is nobody’s fool. Read More »

Jean Renoir – Toni (1935)

Masters of Cinema wrote:
Financed by Marcel Pagnol’s production company, Jean Renoir’s Toni is a landmark in French filmmaking. Based on a police dossier concerning a provincial crime of passion, it was lensed by Claude Renoir on location (unusually for the time) in the small town of Les Martigues where the actual events occurred. The use of directly-recorded sound, authentic patois, lack of make-up, a large ensemble cast of local citizens in supporting roles, and Renoir’s steadfast desire to avoid melodrama lead to Toni often being labeled “the first ‘neorealist’ film”. Renoir himself disagreed. Although Toni is acknowledged as a masterly forerunner of neo-realist preoccupations and techniques he wrote: “I do not think that is quite correct. The Italian films are magnificent dramatic productions, whereas in Toni I was at pains to avoid the dramatic.” Read More »