Friday, August 29, 2008

The Rules of the Game

La Règle du jeu; Drama, France, 1939; D: Jean Renoir, S: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Mila Parély, Roland Toutain, Paulette Dubost, Odette Talazac, Jean Renoir

France. Reporters gather around an airport to celebrate the pilot André Jurieux who flew over the Atlantic for only 23 hours, but he tells them he is disappointed because his big love didn't show up, Austrian girl Christine. She is married to Robert who cheats on her. On their estate, poacher Marceau is caught, who was hired to get rid of rabbits. Octave manages to push Andre into the castle to the great party led by Robert, where Christine is also there. Andre tells him he loves her. But Octave also admits he loves her. Schumacher shoots Andre, mistaking him for Octave, while Robert says it was an accident.

The film magazine "Sight & Sound" made a poll back in '72 to determine the best movies in the history of cinema, and Jean Renoir's "The Rules of the Game" got a very high spot by ranking at the 2nd place. That gave that film a high assertiveness towards the critics, but many will be baffled by that reputation. Namely, despite the elegant direction and top-notch actors, it seems as if the story is in oscillation of quality due to episodic characters and mild plot without highlights. "The Rules of the Game" is a very competent film that has a few neat humorous moments, like when the hunters find a cat in a rabbit trap; Octave who doesn't want to sleep with a pillow or Marceau who comforts Schumacher whose wife he "stole", but at the same time there dominates a bitter sequence where it explicitly shows rabbits dying from shots fired by the hunters. The unsuccessful romance between Andre and Christine is well crafted, yet it's completely conventional and normal for today's standards.


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