It may be only a featurette, but this masterly adaptation of a Maupassant story is rich in both poetry and thematic content. On an idyllic country picnic, a young girl (Sylvia Bataille) leaves her family and fiance for a while and succumbs to an all-too-brief romance. The careful reconstruction of period (around 1860) is enhanced by a typically touching generosity towards the characters and an aching, poignant sense of love lost but never forgotten.
According to Alain Bergala in the Magnum book, ‘One day during the shooting of Une partie de campagne, Renoir asked Cartier-Bresson if he would play one of two young seminarians (the second one was none other than Georges Bataille), who, looking dumbfounded, see up Sylvia Bataille’s skirt while she is on a swing. It seems, however, that Cartier-Bresson himself never even though of becoming a film-maker while carrying out his diplomatic task of assistant.’