10 April 2012 5:49 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

In the 1930s, with Europe on the brink of war, director Jean Renoir found inspiration in Pierre-Auguste's tranquil paintings

In Jean Renoir's film Boudu Saved from Drowning, a Parisian bookseller dives into the river Seine to rescue a homeless man who has thrown himself off a bridge. He is acclaimed as a hero for saving Boudu, but finds he also has to invite this wild-bearded clownish character to live with him. The bookshop-owner's cosy lifestyle, including his affair with the maid, is turned upside down as Boudu refuses to accept bourgeois rules and manners (I am not using the term bourgeois in an abusive or Marxist way – it is how the characters describe themselves).

Boudu Saved from Drowning is as comic and accessible as anyone could want, and as profound as a great novel. It is ambiguous and rich in the way art ought to be: the meaning of »

- Jonathan Jones

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Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)
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