Like Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich, Jean Renoir’s Cinema always hold a special place in my cinephile heart. His artistic vision from his father’s heritage is one thing. But Renoir’s storytelling is the greatest facet of his talent. Combining those elements and you have the favourite director of Welles and Bogdanovich. Even if you have just seen La règle du jeu or La grand illusion, you still have discovered two of the greatest masterpieces of all time. One of my personal favourite from Renoir is The River, shot in India and depicting an English family living in this “foreign’ country where tradition and exotism reigns. I always tend to admire a great director’s less famous work than his undisputed masterpieces. A great director can be observed when his lesser known work is still valuable and of high quality.
Jean Renoir’s Une partie de campagne is an unachieved masterpiece to be. With amazing imagery of romantic sensibility and many comedy elements this forty minute film feels like a fresh romantic comedy with a classic French tone. Adapted from Guy de Maupassant’s novel, Une partie de campagne depicts the innocence of young lovers, the essence of mature women, the egotism of men and their favourite sport, and the clash between urban and country life. The naive beginnings of the story slowly fells into the social study of Parisians coming to the country for a day and enjoying the simple pleasures of the rural people. While the men of the country enjoy the sophistication of the ladies of the city. The treatment of the story feels a lot like a tale about a secret love of two people distant from each other. The idyllic scenery and the amazing photography helps the viewer to appreciate the wonderful Sunday afternoon portrayed by Renoir. The brightness of the visual approach and the dramatic metaphor that the rain brought is more than a simple beautiful effect. This is the work of an artist and a storyteller in full mastery of the media.
We are lucky as cinephiles that Jean Renoir could have directed many films during his life. His career is dotted of wonderful films of cinematic bliss. Every self-respected film lover should discover Renoir’s oeuvre. It’s like a melomane who haven’t heard of The Beatles or if an Art lover doesn’t know Van Gogh, it is a shame! Renoir’s are a film reference that will never go out of style.