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La Règle du jeu [The Rules of the Game] By Harley, Jeremy

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM349-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 19 September 2019, from
https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/la-regle-du-jeu-the-rules-of-the-game

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Abstract

La Règle du jeu [The Rules of the Game] is a 1939 humanist film by Jean Renoir satirizing the French aristocracy. Premiered at the brink of World War II, the film’s subject matter angered audiences, despite its gentle tone and a lack of any direct reference to politics or world events, and was subsequently banned with cuts ordered. The inspiration for what Renoir called a “more classical, more poetic” film (Durgnat 1974: 192) came to the director while working on his naturalist film La Bête humaine [The human Beast] (1938); however, his characteristic realism remained intact in La Règle du jeu. Renoir took an improvisatory approach to the film, beginning with a script inspired by French writers, including de Musset and Marivaux, and then revising it constantly according to the performances of his actors. The film is known for its pioneering use of deep focus, which had become technically difficult after the start of the sound era, and influenced the modernist directors of the Nouvelle vague [New Wave]. François Truffaut, in particular, called it “the greatest film in the history of cinema” (De Baecque and Toubiana 1996: 35). While the original negatives of La Règle du jeu were destroyed during the war, the film was later reconstructed in 1956, and has continued to influence generations of filmmakers.

La Règle du jeu [The Rules of the Game] is a 1939 humanist film by Jean Renoir satirizing the French aristocracy. Premiered at the brink of World War II, the film’s subject matter angered audiences, despite its gentle tone and a lack of any direct reference to politics or world events, and was subsequently banned with cuts ordered. The inspiration for what Renoir called a “more classical, more poetic” film (Durgnat 1974: 192) came to the director while working on his naturalist film La Bête Humaine [The human Beast] (1938); however, his characteristic realism remained intact in La Règle du jeu. Renoir took an improvisatory approach to the film, beginning with a script inspired by French writers, including de Musset and Marivaux, and then revising it constantly according to the performances of his actors. The film is known for its pioneering use of deep focus, which had become technically difficult after the start of the sound era, and influenced the modernist directors of the Nouvelle vague [New Wave]. François Truffaut, in particular, called it “the greatest film in the history of cinema” (De Baecque and Toubiana 1996: 35). While the original negatives of La Règle du jeu were destroyed during the war, the film was later reconstructed in 1956, and has continued to influence generations of filmmakers.

Jean Renoir in 1962 discussing his intentions in making The Rules of the Game and his reaction to the film’s reception.

Further Reading

  • Baecque, Antoine de, and Toubiana , Serge (1999) Truffaut. New York: Knopf.

  • Bazin, André (1973) Jean Renoir, edited by François Truffaut. New York: Simon and Schuster.

  • Durgnat, Raymond (1974) Jean Renoir. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

  • Renoir, Jean, and Denny , Norman (1974) My Life and My Films. New York: Antheneum.

  • Renoir, Jean, and Volk , Carol (1989) Renoir on Renoir: Interviews, Essays, and Remarks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Published

09/05/2016

Article DOI

10.4324/9781135000356-REM349-1

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Citing this article:

Harley, Jeremy. "La Règle du jeu [The Rules of the Game]." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 19 Sep. 2019 https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/la-regle-du-jeu-the-rules-of-the-game. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM349-1

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