Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game
“THE FILM OF FILMS.”
– François Truffaut
“THE RULES OF THE GAME taught me the rules of the game.”
– Robert Altman
A shooting party at the country château of Parisian aristocrat Marquis Marcel Dalio goes from targeting rabbits to people, moving from sophisticated byplay to slapstick farce to tragedy, amid pioneering deep focus photography that keeps multiple intrigues running simultaneously, romantic escapades above and below the stairs, and the bumbling Octave (played by Renoir himself) providing playful and ironic commentary. THE RULES OF THE GAME is both a light, even frivolous, comedy of manners and a biting, satirical look at a corrupt society under the shadow of war.
The last film Renoir made in France before fleeing the Nazi invasion for the United States and Hollywood, the exhibition history of THE RULES OF THE GAME is a drama in itself: trimmed from Renoir’s ideal cut to 94 minutes, it was shortened another 13 minutes after a disastrous premiere (one enraged patron reportedly tried to torch the theater). Two months later, it was banned as “demoralizing,” and later, its negative was destroyed by Allied bombs. Then, in 1959, over 200 boxes of forgotten RULES materials were unearthed, resulting in a reconstructed version by Renoir himself that played to worldwide acclaim, hailed internationally as a lost masterpiece. Starring Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély, Marcel Dalio, Julien Carette, Roland Toutain, Gaston Modot, Pierre Magnier, Jean Renoir.