Jean Renoir

"Renoir's warmth (amounting, he would say, to love) in the handling of actors and actresses, and the humility with which he has always been prepared to abandon the established rules of film-making and permit improvisation, led him to anticipate post-war neo-realism and some of the technical freedoms adopted later by the French New Wave." - Roger Manvell (The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972)

Jean Renoir

Director / Screenwriter / Actor / Producer
(1894-1979) Born September 15, Paris, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: France, USA
Key Genres: Drama, Comedy Drama, Comedy of Manners, Romantic Drama, Period Film, Psychological Drama, Crime Drama, Romance, Short Films, Melodrama, War Drama, Rural Drama
Key Collaborators: Marguerite Renoir (Editor), Joseph Kosma (Composer), Eugene Lourie (Production Designer), Jean Bachelet (Cinematographer), Claude Renoir (Cinematographer), Julien Carette (Leading Character Actor), Jenny Helia (Character Actress), Pierre Renoir (Leading Actor), Jean Gabin (Leading Actor), Catherine Hessling (Leading Actress), Pierre Braunberger (Producer), Georges Leclerc (Cinematographer)

"Son of the impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste, Jean Renoir was born with the advent of cinema itself. He went on to make more than forty films, stretching from the silent era to 1970. During his creative peak in the 1930s his abundant virtues were often overlooked, but Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin and François Truffaut would all name him the greatest of filmmakers and he was probably the single most influential model for the nouvelle vague." - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"For certain directors, performance is the very heart of cinematic art. Jean Renoir provides the most prestigious example of a humanist aesthetic: his famed deep-focus photography, elaborate tracking shots, and long takes represent a concerted, empathetic effort to preserve the integrity of his actors’ performances within a fully realized social world."- Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2006
"Renoir's ouevre stands as a monument and a model of cinematography. By summoning the conditions of illusion and artifice of film, it rises out of the massive production of poetic realism of the 1930s in France. He develops a style that is the very tenor of a vehicle studying social contradiction. The films implicitly theorize the limits that cinema confronts in any narrative or documentary depiction of our world." - Tom Conley (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Renoir asks us to see the variety and muddle of life without settling for one interpretation. He is the greatest of all directors; he justifies cinema. But he shrugs off the weight of "masterpieces" or "definitive statements". The impossibility of grasping final solutions or perfect works is his "rule". - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"His signature is discernible in the generous, unsentimental humanity, the assured evocation of milieu, an awareness of the transience of life and love, and a subtle realism whose deceptive simplicity is derived from unobtrusive artifice: deep focus, long takes, complex camera movements, elegant framing, and a wealth of telling incidental detail...He was unquestionably a master of cinema; the apparent effortlessness of his art only confirms his genius." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Renoir's career is a river of personal expression. The waters may vary here and there in turbulence and depth, but the flow of personality is consistently directed to its final outlet in the sea of life. If the much-abused term "humanism," could be applied to Renoir's art and to no one else's, it might still provide an accurate definition for his work as a whole." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)
"One of the great directors, Renoir combined a humanist view of the world with the use of deep focus shots, which enabled everything in a frame to be seen with clarity, thus enlarging the possibilities for action in each shot. This gave his films a richness of emotion and style few can match." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"The world's greatest film-maker." - François Truffaut
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
La Chienne (1931) , Partie de campagne (1936) , The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936) , La Bête humaine (1938) , The Rules of the Game (1939) , The River (1951)
Recommended
Charleston Parade (1927), Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932) , Toni (1935) , La Grande illusion (1937) , This Land is Mine (1943), The Southerner (1945), The Golden Coach (1952) , French Cancan (1955) , The Testament of Dr. Cordelier (1959), The Elusive Corporal (1962)
Worth a Look
Nana (1926), The Little Match Girl (1928), La Nuit du carrefour (1932) , Madame Bovary (1934), La Marseillaise (1938), Diary of a Chambermaid (1945), The Woman on the Beach (1947), Elena and Her Men (1956), Picnic on the Grass (1959)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    French Can Can
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