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THE RULES OF THE GAME
1939 - Jean Renoir
France
83
Opening Shot

The opening shot of The Rules of the Game is quintessential Jean Renoir not only in the simple complexity of the shot button the details and the uniqueness of it as well. The image opens of a long cable wire and tracks towards a woman walking through a large crowd of people, holding a microphone an announcing over a radio telecast a remarkable achievement of aviator Andre Jurieux.

The Film

Jean Renoir's 1939 film Rules of the Game is often considered among the greatest films of all-time. That should be enough reason for anyone, especially those who appreciate cinema and it's history, to at least see this film. This film is flawless in all aspects of filmmaking. The inventive cinematography, perfect blend of comedy and drama, and bold French society social commentary remain brilliant. Ultimately the film observes a man who chooses to defy high-class societies standards (or rules of the game) through love and the result is a failing and tragic one. Renoir's masterful touch with details is what really brings The Rules of the Game alive. He presents the film as simple comedy and entertainment, but there is plenty more subtexts under the surface of this film. Renoir's style has, and still is influencing some of cinema's great filmmakers, and Rules of the Game has been referenced, homaged, or imitated in some form or another. The Rules of the Game is a masterpiece of film history from a master filmmaker of human emotions and morality. Anyone interested in films, absolutely must experience this classic at least once. "That's become rare."

The Filmmaker

In terms of importance and influence, France's Jean Renoir would easily rate among the top filmmakers of all-time. Renoir was born an artist as his father was legendary Impressionist Painter Pierre Auguste Renoir. Jean Renoir would master the art of filmmaking in a way his father did with paintings. Renoir began making silent film before moving on to his most definitive work during the 1930s (most notably Rules of the Game, The Grand Illusion, Boudou Saved From Drowning, and La Chienne). These films were truly groundbreaking works from a unique visionary of filmmaking. These were complex, unusual films that were equally fresh and exciting as well as technically inventive. As a result, Renoir was a filmmaker far ahead of his time and was never truly appreciated until the emergence of the New Wave generation of the 1960s. Renoir above all was one of cinemas greatest humanist filmmakers. His films capture the essence of human behavior. They are full of visual invention, as well as complex characterization and character richness and depth, much more so then plot. Yet everything is handled with such ease and control from Renoir who blends the humor and energy of the characterizations with the complexity of the dialogue and visual expression. Renoir is a filmmaker of satire, but a satire that is bitter and gloomy as his characters are flawed humans. Through themes and especially visual composition, Renoir expressed the contrast of a pure nature and a complicated society. Renoir very often composes the frame full of depth to capture the essence or even the disconnections of nature and society. To heighten this contrasting expression Renoir was a master of lighting and shadows, as well as depth and a conscious focus on camera framing. Renoir's films are fully appreciated the more you see them and the complexities and layers are revealed. There is humor and irony to his films that are very often carried by a depressing and sad undertone. However Renoir simply had a great understanding of humanity and of behavior and of culture, which makes his films so deeply profound and timeless. After the Nazi invasion of France in 1941, Renoir left to Hollywood where he made several acclaimed films. After the war Renoir returned to France (on his way back he made his first color film 1951's The River in India thus inspiring the humanist work of Satyajit Ray, who worked as second unit director on the film). He only made a few more films (including one of his best 1953's The Golden Coach), but Renoir paved the way for the emergence of the New Wave movement and his influence remains as evident as ever today (most notably in contemporary filmmakers such as the great Robert Altman, who certainly displays an influence from Renoir).

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