Jean Renoir's 1939 classic is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, and Criterion is very proud to present the film in a special two-disc edition. Cloaked in a comedy of manners, this scathing critique of corrupt French society is about a weekend hunting party at which amorous escapades abound among the aristocratic guests - which are also mirrored by the activities of the servants downstairs. The refusal of one of the guests to play by society's rules sets off a chain of events that ends in tragedy.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Newly-restored, high-definition transfer of the 110-minute version of the film
- Introduction by Renoir
- Audio commentary written by film scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
- Selected scene audio commentary by Renoir historian Christopher Faulkner
- French television program about the film featuring interviews with the director and actors
- New video essay about the film's production, release and later reconstruction
- Written tributes to the film and Renoir by filmmakers Francois Truffaut, Paul Schrader, Bertrand Tavernier, Wim Wenders and more
Consistently cited by critics worldwide as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's bittersweet drama of life, love, class, and the social code of manners and behavior ("the rules of the game") is a savage critique undertaken with sensitivity and compassion. Renoir's catch-phrase through the film, "Everyone has their reasons," develops a multilayered meaning by the conclusion. A young aviator (Roland Toutain) commits a serious social faux pas by alluding to an affair on national radio. To avert a scandal, the cultured Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio), husband to the aviator's mistress, Christine (Nora Gregor), and a philanderer in his own right, invites all to a weekend hunting party in his country mansion. The complicated maze of marriages and mistresses (social register and servant class alike) is plotted like a bedroom farce, but the tone soon takes a darker cast. Renoir, who also takes the pivotal role as Andre's jovial pal and de la Chesnaye confidant Octave, deftly blends high comedy with cutting satire as he parallels the upstairs-downstairs affairs. The film builds to a comic pitch with the hilarious performance of Julien Carette as a rabbit poacher turned groundskeeper, but soon turns tragic in a devastating conclusion. The film was roundly condemned and banned in France upon its 1939 release, but years later (out of the shadow of WWII) the film was rediscovered for the masterpiece that it is. --Sean Axmaker
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.