Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir -- son of the Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste -- returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. At his ...
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Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir -- son of the Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste -- returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. At his side is Andrée, a young woman who rejuvenates, enchants, and inspires both father and son.Written by
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Official submission of France to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »
When Pierre-Auguste walks in on Jean Renoir being bathed, a modern toggle-style light switch is visible on the wall. The toggle switch wasn't invented until 1917, which is a few years after that part of the film. Earlier light switches were push-button style, and the switch on the wall is also of a modern plastic style that is very much later. See more »
Everybody shimmies now
Music by Joe Gold and Edmund J. Parray (as E.J. Porray)
Lyrics by Eugene West (as E. West) See more »
Beautiful, loving, and slow slow slow...be prepared
So promising. And so beautiful without depth. See it if you love beautiful, patient (aka slow) movies. It's set in the French countryside during WWI, and is filled with loving scenes of the fields and woods and streams there, drenched in gorgeous light. And it is filled in wonderful interiors, day and night, including some lovemaking. And it is filled frank nudity, in the name of art.
You see, the main character, which should have been the name of the movie, is the model of the great Impressionist painter
But late Renoir compared to early Renoir—that is, late works by the painter compared to early works by the filmmaker—are no contest. One artist is checking out, and leering and relaxing. The other is striving and incomplete, entering a new medium and a new age. History might say that the father was more important overall, and I agree that some of his early paintings are monstrously perfect. But by the 20th Century, some 30 or 40 years after his heyday, it's another story, and his studies, many of them nudes, are weak and indefinite. I teach art history, which is no great claim, but I study and look at this stuff all the time, and late Renoir is to be avoided!
Not so early Renoir, the son, the film director. By 1939 Jean had made one of the truly great masterpieces of the period, in any medium: "Rules of the Game," as it's called in English. It gives away his own familiarity with the rich and cultured world of France before WWII. It gives away what he disdained about his upbringing, in fact, as he critiques it in the film, with a laugh and some true pathos. That's 20 years after what you see here, but this is a film site, and if you want to connect the dots, see that one.
But look, this isn't a documentary, it's a movie, a bio-pic in a way, lush as it is. And it's slow. It avoids actual depth and substitutes profound (and often touching) commentary. It resides in the color and light and smoke made during the filming, which isn't really the point—except for the flimmakers. In a way I'd say it conjurs up the time, in a precious and empty way, very well. No contradiction intended. It won several best costume awards.
But be prepared. If you love art and love Renoir, you'll be disappointed, in the end. (The paintings in the film were made by a notorious forger.) If you just love beautiful films to get lost in, this might do the trick. It's immersive. And it does remind us of the real depths of the original Impressionists and their love of light, and their love of life. That's the real point here. What is the true interest—the beginning of the son's film career, is left a footnote.
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