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Picnic on the Grass (1959)

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (original title)
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 (... See full summary »


Jean Renoir


Jean Renoir (scenario)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Meurisse ... Etienne Alexis
Charles Blavette ... Gaspard (as Blavette)
André Brunot ... Le Curé
Régine Blaess Régine Blaess ... Claire (as Régine Blaes)
Marguerite Cassan Marguerite Cassan ... Mme Poignant
Robert Chandeau Robert Chandeau ... Laurent
Jacques Danoville Jacques Danoville ... Mr. Poignant
Hélène Duc Hélène Duc ... Isabelle
Paulette Dubost ... Forestier
Ghislaine Dumont Ghislaine Dumont ... Magda
Jacqueline Fontel Jacqueline Fontel ... Michelet
Micheline Gary Micheline Gary ... Madeleine
Jean-Pierre Granval Jean-Pierre Granval ... Ritou
Michel Herbault Michel Herbault ... Moutet
Raymond Jourdan Raymond Jourdan ... Eustache


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. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Here is a Film That Breaks Every Rule and Divides the Audiences Into Joyful Accomplises and Embarassed Prigs... See more »


Comedy | Romance


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Did You Know?


According to film critic Jonas Mekas, Jean Renoir made this film with the money he got from the American release of La grande illusion. See more »


Featured in Le Bonheur (1965) See more »

User Reviews

A beguiling film
19 July 1999 | by allyjackSee all my reviews

Seems to represent Renoir bringing his classic concerns into a modern format - the movie begins with a (slightly leaden) satire of modern media, and the plot relies heavily on artificial insemination, the politics of a modern Europe, the politics of image, and preeminently the relationship between science (here representing repression and fastidiousness and self-denial) and nature (here representing a rustic, lusty, idyllic, semi-slapstick integrity). That sounds a bit condescending, and indeed it s an old man's movie. But it's also a very good one, with superb choreography of the elements and many moments of bliss (the shot of the loosened-up professor beaming as he rides a motor scooter is priceless). Sadly, it s hard to get beyond the wretched quality of the Eastmancolor print - there s virtually no green left in it, just a sickly pink. A restored print would surely add to the movie s emotional lushness, perhaps revealing whole layers of additional subtlety in the design, and giving it a sharpened modernity. Even as it stands, a beguiling film.

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Release Date:

11 November 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Lunch on the Grass See more »

Filming Locations:

Auvergne, France See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Compagnie Jean Renoir See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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