Renoir Baby

Jean Renoir Collection (3-Disc Collector's Edition)
“Jean Renoir Collection (3-Disc Collector's Edition)” (Lions Gate)

The Artist’s Artist: Movie Revivals: The New Yorker Throughout his long career, the director Jean Renoir (1894-1979), the second son of the painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, displayed a fascination with all sorts of artistic creation. Most of his films feature painting, music, dance, or writing; his masterwork, “The Rules of the Game” (1939), about the collapse of Old World values on the eve of the Second World War, turns on an amateur theatrical soirée. The remarkable new Jean Renoir Collector’s Edition Box Set (Lionsgate), offering seven rarely seen works, shows how he reworked his artistic heritage with increasing depth from the silent era through the age of television.

Renoir considered his 1926 adaptation of Émile Zola’s “Nana”—presented here in a splendid tinted restoration—his first fully realized film. In the title role, Catherine Hessling (Renoir’s wife at the time) gives a gleefully over-the-top performance as the flamboyantly vulgar showgirl who becomes a cruelly capricious courtesan and drives two despairing lovers to suicide. Renoir turns the melodrama by Zola (a friend of his father) into a meticulous reconstruction of the Second Empire as well as a tribute to the world his father painted: the outdoor ball where Nana does a rousing cancan is Impressionism in motion.

speaking of over-the-top.... “cruelly capricious courtesan”.

I'm still adding the collection to my Netflix queue.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on May 8, 2007 1:43 PM.

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