matt daniels (barkingsparrow) wrote,
matt daniels

La Règle du jeu

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"Take two classic films from 1939: Selznick's Gone With the Wind and Renoir's La Règle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game). There's room enough to love both films--the all-time success and the box office failure, the landmark and the masterpiece. But observe how fully the Renoir picture is committed to real nature and human nature: the array of characters in which the people seem more from life than from a fashion magazine; the general eschewing of adoring close-ups by Renoir in favor of a camera style that keeps people in groups, in social interaction; the way the French film employs locations, a true out-of-doors and real rooms. Wheraeas, for Selznick, Georgia was a place not visited until the film's premiere. His southern mansions, his Atlanta, his battlefields are fabricated on sets and on the back lot, or even painted on glass. Studio control attends everything and makes it handsome, significant, or vivid. There is never a dull moment or a plain view in Gone With the Wind; is that one reason why it feels so removed from real life? On the other hand, the Renoir film--indeed, the entire body of Renoir's work--makes us feel the relationship between fiction and life, meaning and chaos."
- The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood, David Thomson

This is the only movie I have seen in which the technical perfection can compete with Citizen Kane's.
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