Famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the major figures in the establishment of Magnum. Cartier-Bresson dabbled in film-making before joining the agency, having worked with Paul Strand before finding a job as assistant to Jean Renoir on La Regle du jeu and Une partie de campagne. Strangely, Cartier-Bresson didn’t take any pictures while working on Renoir’s great films, which he explained by saying that his libertarian stance meant that he never wanted to be labelled as a photographer.
One of cinema’s great masterpieces, Renoir’s brilliant social comedy La Regle du jeu is epitomised by the phrase ‘everyone has their reasons’. Centring on a lavish country house party given by the Marquis de la Chesnaye and his wife, the film effects audacious slides from melodrama into farce, from realism into fantasy, and from comedy into tragedy. Romantic intrigue, social rivalries and human foibles are all observed with an unblinking eye that nevertheless refuses to judge.