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The Rules of the Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-Ray] (Version française)
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Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La rÃ¨gle du jeu), by Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion), is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners, in which a weekend at a marquis’s countryside chateau lays bare some ugly truths about a group of haute bourgeois acquaintances. The film was a victim of tumultuous history—it was subjected to cuts after premiere audiences rejected it in 1939, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II; it wasn’t reconstructed until 1959. That version, which has stunned viewers for decades, is presented here.
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.
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The Criterion DVD is an all-region two-disc set with a newly restored video transfer and plenty of rewarding extra material. This eagerly-awaited disc was originally to be released last Fall, when Criterion had already finished a video transfer that would have looked better than any existing copy of the film. But at the last minute, Criterion received word that an earlier-generation fine-grain master of the film had been located in France, and that additional improvement, though not dramatic, could be made to the picture quality. Being the perfectionist that it often is, Criterion decided to redo the video transfer based on the fine-grain master, thus delaying the DVD's release by several months.Read more ›
As for the film itself, what's really striking is that what is one level a formalistic imitation of classical French drama interbreeds with some kind of prophetic documentary of sick souls and a sick society. Remember that in 1939, war was in the cards but nobody new if it would be a passing crisis or gateway to a new dark ages. Renoir didn't just stare into the abyss, he climbed down for a better look.
It's a cliche to say that they don't make 'em like that any more. But here I'm torn between regret that such a thing is no longer possible and relief that it's no longer necessary.
The transfer is good and the supplements are extensive. Criterions are expensive because of their limited audience and the amount of work they put into them. Rules of the Game won't be selling Bad Boys II numbers. For the film buff this DVD is worth the price.
A good example is Criterion's release of Tarkovsky's Solaris versus Soderberg's Solaris which was released by Universal. Criterion's extras are head and shoulders above the Universal release. As much as I loved Soderberg's version of the novel, the extras were painfully out of place.
When Criterion releases a film (especially in a double disc edition as is Rules of the Game) it isn't merely just your average dvd release, it is almost an event. And worth every penny.
Most recent customer reviews
“The Rules of The Game” is both a dramatic and enticing film about men and women from high French society who become involved in shocking exploits of their time. Read morePublished on July 8 2013 by marriedmoneywizardintraining
Let's see. We have an aldulterer, a cheat, a liar, a slut & a guy with anger management issues. They all exist in this ultra chic, super rich sub-culture. Read morePublished on June 18 2004 by JOHN GODFREY
"The Rules of the Game" directed by Jean Renoir is now ranked #1 on many film critic lists. Renior built a comedy of manners around old stories. Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by R. A Rubin
When affluent Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio) hosts a party at his sprawling property, emotions run high. Read morePublished on May 21 2004
Harold Bloom seems to think Richard III is kind of a so-so play and one Amazon reviewer considers Benvenuto Cellini, by Hector Berlioz, to be a lousy opera. Read morePublished on March 28 2004 by Wayne A.
...Everyone praises this movie, but no one can ever tell you why they liked it, unless it's to repeat Truffaut's opinion that Renoir's work is to be praised for having sympathy for... Read morePublished on March 25 2004 by McTeague
Here it is, in all its Criterion Collection Glory: La Regle du Jou, considered by critics worldwide as one of the greatest movies ever! Read morePublished on March 24 2004 by ixta_coyotl
One of the greatest films ever made? Just try to stay awake. Hilarious? Try to find a single laugh? Deep, moving? Are you kidding? Film critics need to get an honest job. Read morePublished on March 9 2004
I had no idea what to expect before watching this film. I purposefully kept myself ignorant of it because I wanted to experience it as fresh as possible. Read morePublished on March 7 2004 by JR Pinto