Jean Renoir's classic "" is one of the sacred cows of world cinema, considered by many to be the greatest French film ever made. Unsurprisingly, it lives up to the hype.
Renoir's film begins with the succesful completion of flying ace Andr
Although it isn't my favorite film, and isn't even one of my favorite films by Renoir, there's absolutely no denying that "The Rules of the Game" is one of a handful of uncontested masterpieces of film, right up there with "" and "." Renoir's film is both a landmark achievement in film technique, featuring some of the most famous and admired scenes in film history, as well as in storytelling and satire. Renoir's film, which seems fairly tame to the modern viewer, was the height of controversy uponm its release in 1939 and was roundly banned, booed, and decried as a slap in the face to the French bourgeoisie which, of course, it was. The insults lobbed at the the french upper middle class weren't accidental either, as Renoir relentlessly skewers his character's empty and superficial lives. As Europe began to crumble under Hitler's bootheel, Renoir's characters retreat to the country where they abandon themselves fully to their shared passion, running after one another with reckless passion. Renoir, in an introduction to the Criterion Collection's release of "The Rules of the Game" recalls attending a showing of the film where a man lit a newspaper on fire with, according to the filmmaker, the obvious intent of burning down the theater. Renoir's film was, to say the least, incendiary but it did so without being cheap or facile. Rather, as the great did with Sicilian society, Renoir simply held up a mirror to the French upper classes and told them to take a look. Suffice it to say, the didn't like what they saw.