Total Film - 07/01/2003
"...Jean Renoir's masterpiece -- the daddy of ensemble movies. An illustrious antecedent to Altman's GOSFORD PARK..."
Sight and Sound - 09/01/2003
"...Renoir includes elements of Feydeau-like farce, but there's also an air of melancholy..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/23/2004
"Quite simply one of the greatest films ever made."
USA Today - 01/23/2004
"Humor, poignancy and social criticism converge for an even better movie than the recent one it brings to mind: GOSFORD PARK."
Premiere - 03/01/2004
"[R]emarkably fluid and entertaining. It boasts impeccable performances....Essential."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/17/2006
"Renoir's staging set the tone for Altman and everyone else -- action that spills in three directions at once." -- Grade: A
Widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir's masterpiece THE RULES OF THE GAME is a devastating satire of the pre-WWII French aristocracy. Starring Marcel Dalio as wealthy landowner Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye, it charts the shifting relationships among the guests at a weekend hunting party on his vast estate. The guest list includes Robert's mistress Genevieve (Mila Parely), from whom he's trying to part, and Andre Jurieu (Roland Toutain), a famed aviator who is in love with Robert's wife, Christine (Nora Gregor). As they begin a dizzy dance of escape and pursuit, their games are observed and echoed by the servants below the stairs. The gamekeeper Schumacher (Gaston Modot) is trying to keep the poacher, Marceau (Julien Carette), from poaching on his pretty wife, Lisette (Paulette Dubost), unaware that his boss also has his eye on her. The passionate Jurieu, the only guest incapable of the appropriate hypocrisy, finds Christine in an embrace with a random lover (Pierre Nay), and the startled woman decides to leave Robert and go away with the aviator. Renoir's subtle deployment of long tracking shots in multiplanar deep focus reveals the relations of both groups and individuals as he dismantles the rituals of hypocrisy that make this society run smoothly.
Possibly the pinnacle of Jean Renoir's career, THE RULES OF THE GAME is a witty, elegant, and pessimistic comedy of manners set among the French aristocracy on the eve of the Nazi invasion. Marcel Dalio stars as Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye, a wealthy landowner who organizes a weekend hunting party at his vast estate. Among the guests are Andre Jurieu, a famed avaiator who is in love with de la Chesnaye's wife, Christine, and Robert's mistress Genevieve.
Essential Cinema |
Love Triangles |
Social Issues |
World War II
Theatrical release: July 7,1939.
The film was shot in Aubigny, Chateau La Ferte Saint-Aubain, La Motte-Beuvron, Brinon-sur-Sauldre, France.
The film was widely derided at its premiere and banned as a threat to morale during the Nazi occupation. Later versions were cut from 110 to 80 minutes.
Special camera lenses were ground to achieve the depth of focus Renoir desired.
The famous hunting scene took two months to shoot.