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Jean Renoir: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers)
The son of Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir (1894-1979) became one of France's most loved and respected filmmakers during the middle of the twentieth century. Throughout his career, which began during the silent era and continued until 1970, Renoir's style embraced a multitude of genres; indeed, its permutations make it almost...
The son of Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir (1894-1979) became one of France's most loved and respected filmmakers during the middle of the twentieth century. Throughout his career, which began during the silent era and continued until 1970, Renoir's style embraced a multitude of genres; indeed, its permutations make it almost impossible to characterize. One thing is certain: at his best-in Grand Illusion (1937) and The Rules of the Game (1939)-he gave us cinematic masterpieces of the highest order that explored class, war, nationality, friendship, and social structure. With these two works, Renoir represents the flowering of the period of poetic realism in film (roughly 1934-1940), when French films were generally regarded as the most important and sophisticated in the world. Renoir, as a pioneer of uncut compositions and long takes, had enormous influence on directors all over the world, including Orson Welles, Franois Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, and Roberto Rossellini. Like his cinematic oeuvre, Jean Renoir: Interviews spans several decades. The interviews-some in English for the first time-disclose a candid, cultivated, and unselfish man, genuinely but also slyly self-critical, and always a warm conversationalist. In a movie career that lasted forty-six years, he never ceased to experiment and explore. These conversations show his ideas evolving and ripening along with the movies he was making. Throughout, Renoir is revealed to be subtle, graceful, prophetic, witty, complex, stylish, lucid, and passionate. Bert Cardullo, Milford, Connecticut, is NEH Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Colgate University and visiting professor of drama at New York University. He is the author of In Search of Cinema: Selected Writings on International Film Art, Vittorio De Sica: Director, Actor, Screenwriter, and other books.
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