Video Release: November 15, 2011
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion Collection
- Runtime: 106 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in French
Widely regarded as one of the best films ever made, Jean Renoir's masterpiece, THE RULES OF THE GAME, is a devastating satire of the pre-WWII French aristocracy. Starring Marcel Dalio as wealthy landowner Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye, it charts the shifting relationships among the guests at a weekend hunting party on his vast estate. The guest list includes Robert's mistress Genevieve (Mila Parely), from whom he's trying to part, and Andre Jurieu (Roland Toutain), a famed aviator who is in love with Robert's wife, Christine (Nora Gregor). As they begin a dizzy dance of escape and pursuit, their games are observed and echoed by the servants below the stairs. The gamekeeper Schumacher (Gaston Modot) is trying to keep the poacher, Marceau (Julien Carette), from poaching on his pretty wife, Lisette (Paulette Dubost), unaware that his boss also has his eye on her. The passionate Jurieu, the only guest incapable of the appropriate hypocrisy, finds Christine in an embrace with a random lover (Pierre Nay), and the startled woman decides to leave Robert, and go away with the aviator. Renoir's subtle deployment of long tracking shots in multiplanar deep focusn allows us to see the relations of both groups and individuals as he dismantles the rituals of hypocrisy that make this society run smoothly.
Renoir directed this social comedy satirizing the moral "decadence" of the French leisure class prior to World War II.
The film was released on July 7,1939. The film was shot in Aubigny, Chateau La Ferte Saint-Aubain, La Motte-Beuvron, Brinon-sur-Sauldre, France. The film was widely derided at its premiere and banned as a threat to morale during the Nazi occupation. Later versions were cut from 110 to 80 minutes. Special camera lenses were ground to achieve the depth of focus Renoir desired. The famous hunting scene took two months to shoot.