La regle du Jeu ( The Rules of the Game)

Director: Jean Renoir

The centenary of cinema marks an appropriate time for a reissue of Jean Renoir’s masterpiece, which is still regulary cited in critics’ polls as one of the ten best films of all time. A commercial disaster on its first release, and banned in France as too demoralising for a nation on the brink of war, La Regle du Jeu found audiences and acclaim in 1956 when it was reconstructed from extant prints after the negative was destroyed during the war. Inspired by the 18th century comedies of Beaumarchais and Marivaux, the film melds tragedy, melodrama, farce and ironic comedy of manners. It tells of a lavish week-end party held at the chateau of the Count and Countess de la Chesnaye, where tensions erupt between hosts, guests and servants. In 1939, French audiences expressed outrage at Renoir’s vision of a society undermined from within. Subsequent viewers have found a profound tragi-comedy about the absurdity of heroism in the modern world and the fatal barriers of social and moral convention.

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