The Rules of the Game

( 6 )

Overview

Now often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's La Règle du jeu/Rules of the Game was not warmly received on its original release in 1939: audiences at its opening engagements in Paris were openly hostile, responding to the film with shouts of derision, and distributors cut the movie from 113 minutes to a mere 80. It was banned as morally perilous during the German occupation and the original negative was destroyed during WWII. It wasn't until 1956 that Renoir was able to restore the film to...
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Blu-ray (Subtitled / B&W / Pan & Scan)
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Overview

Now often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's La Règle du jeu/Rules of the Game was not warmly received on its original release in 1939: audiences at its opening engagements in Paris were openly hostile, responding to the film with shouts of derision, and distributors cut the movie from 113 minutes to a mere 80. It was banned as morally perilous during the German occupation and the original negative was destroyed during WWII. It wasn't until 1956 that Renoir was able to restore the film to its original length. In retrospect, this reaction seems both puzzling and understandable; at its heart, Rules of the Game is a very moral film about frequently amoral people. A comedy of manners whose wit only occasionally betrays its more serious intentions, it contrasts the romantic entanglements of rich and poor during a weekend at a country estate. André Jurieu Roland Toutain, a French aviation hero, has fallen in love with Christine de la Chesnaye Nora Gregor, who is married to wealthy aristocrat Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye Marcel Dalio. Robert, however, has a mistress of his own, whom he invites to a weekend hunting party at his country home, along with André and his friend Octave played by Jean Renoir himself. Meanwhile, the hired help have their own game of musical beds going on: a poacher is hired to work as a servant at the estate and immediately makes plans to seduce the gamekeeper's wife, while the gamekeeper recognizes him only as the man who's been trying to steal his rabbits. Among the upper classes, infidelity is not merely accepted but expected; codes are breached not by being unfaithful, but by lacking the courtesy to lie about it in public. The weekend ends in a tragedy that suggests that this way of life may soon be coming to an end. Renoir's witty, acidic screenplay makes none of the characters heroes or villains, and his graceful handling of his cast is well served by his visual style. He tells his story with long, uninterrupted takes using deep focus cinematographer Jean Bachelet proves a worthy collaborator here, following the action with a subtle rhythm that never calls attention to itself. The sharply-cut hunting sequence makes clear that Renoir avoided more complex editing schemes by choice, believing that long takes created a more lifelike rhythm and reduced the manipulations of over-editing. Rules of the Game uses WWI as an allegory for WWII, and its representation of a vanishing way of life soon became all too true for Renoir himself, who, within a year of the film's release, was forced to leave Europe for the United States..
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Special Features

Introduction to the film by director Jean Renoir ; Audio commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich ; Comparison of the film's two endings ; Selected-scene analysis by Renoir historian Chris Faulkner; Excerpts from Jean Renoir, le patron: La règle et l'exception (1966), a French television program by filmmaker Jacques Rivette; Part one of Jean Renoir, a two-part 1993 BBC documentary by film critic David Thompson; Video essay about the film's production, release, and 1959 reconstruction ; Interview with film critic Olivier Curchod ; Interview from a 1965 episode of the French television series Les écrans de la ville in which Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discuss their reconstruction and rerelease of the film; Interviews with set designer Max Douy; Renoir's son, Alain; and actress Mila Parély
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Jean Renoir's masterpiece and his last French film before he went to Hollywood, Rules of the Game (1939) is an intricate, tragi-comic indictment of a decadent European culture on the verge of collapse and war. Renoir's innovative "observational" style of long takes, deep focus, and gracefully subtle camera movements relates the characters to their environment and to each other, communicating the complexity of the class-based society seen in microcosm at the film's central country house. Rather than overtly manipulating the viewer's attention and emotional responses, Renoir's style allows the audience to share his ambivalent view of human nature, playing out multiple, metaphorically loaded love triangles among the guests and servants at the estate. Setting up the story around contrasts between tradition and modernity, individual passion and social rules, and nature and culture (revealing the corrupting force of culture in a brutal hunting sequence), Renoir presents a declining society doomed by its intractable conflicts and adherence to superficial manners. In his role as Octave, Renoir literally orchestrates the events but even he, the wise artist, cannot prevent violent tragedy. After provoking a riot at its Paris premiere, Rules of the Game was edited to 80 minutes and finally banned by French censors as "demoralizing"; the Nazis banned it during the Occupation as well. Although the original negative was destroyed in World War II, Rules of the Game was restored under Renoir's supervision to its original length (minus one short scene) in the late 1950s, debuting to great acclaim at the 1959 Venice Film Festival. In this version, Rules of the Game has since come to be considered one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/15/2011
  • UPC: 715515088619
  • Original Release: 1939
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: Subtitled / B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:46:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 4,570

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nora Gregor Christine de La Chesnaye
Jean Renoir Octave
Marcel Dalio Robert de La Chesnaye
Roland Toutain Andre Jurieu
Paulette Dubost Lisette
Gaston Modot Schumacher
Camille François Radio Announcer
Mila Parely Genevieve de Marrast
Odette Talazac Charlotte de la Plante
Claire Gérard Mme. La Bruyere
Anne Mayen Jackie
Lise Elina Radio Reporter
Julien Carette Marceau
Pierre Magnier General
Eddy Debray Corneille
Pierre Nay M. de Saint-Aubin
Richard Francoeur M. La Bruyere
Leon Larive Cuisinier
Nicolas Amato South Americain
Henri Cartier-Bresson English Servant
Tony Corteggiani Berthelin
Roger Forster Effimine invitee
Jenny Hélia Kitchen Servant
André Zwoboda Ingenieur
Antoine Corteggiani Berthelin, the Huntsman
Technical Credits
Jean Renoir Director, Screenwriter
Jean Bachelet Cinematographer
Henri Cartier-Bresson Asst. Director
Coco Chanel Costumes/Costume Designer
G. Claret Score Composer
Joseph DeBretagne Sound/Sound Designer
Desormes Delonnel-Garnier Score Composer
Roger Desormieres Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Max Douy Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Camille François Score Composer, Screenwriter
Carl Koch Asst. Director, Screenwriter
Joseph Kosma Musical Direction/Supervision
Eugène Lourié Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Monsigny Score Composer
Marguerite Renoir Editor
Claude Renoir Sr. Producer
Earl Rose Score Composer
Salabert Score Composer
Vincent Scotto Score Composer
André Zwoboda Asst. Director, Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    brilliant

    nothing can be said to show what i feel for this film. not only has it influenced my life greatly, but it's also helped me have a different perspective on many other things. sure the hunting scenes seem cruel, but it's all part of the message renoir was trying to convey. buy this film, regardless the price!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted June 30, 2010

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    Posted July 14, 2010

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    Posted December 17, 2008

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    Posted November 19, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews