THIS WEEK'S FILMS
The players scramble over the checkerboard
in Rules of the Game
I first saw The Rules of the Game during a summer film comedy class at university during the 80’s. It wasn’t the typical comedy I was used to in this class, but I did like this French comedy of manners and social class from director Jean Renoir. I took a History of Film class (So I like classes where you get to watch movies!) the next year and saw this film again and really began to appreciate it so much more. It’s so smooth and so perfectly done it strikes me as a rare combination of slapstick silliness, ballet, operatic drama all spread over the canvas of the director which is certainly on a par with anything that his father Auguste painted. I have seen The Rules of the Game about five times over the years and it is definitely a movie to be watched and appreciated over several viewings over any cinephile's lifetime.
|Michel Simon's everyman falls for the pretty bitch|
in La Chienne
Renoir’s La Chienne is an interesting film about an unhappy middle-aged married cashier that falls in love with a pretty younger woman whose devious motivations are geared towards using the poor man for his money and is assisted in her nefarious scheme by her boyfriend/pimp. Like Rules of the Game, La Chienne also explores class in a natural but complex way and in a way that can only lead to a tragic conclusion.
All the world's a stage...Anna Magnani in The Golden Coach
Jean Renoir as Octave in Rules of the Game