Week 10: French Poetic Realism
Rules of the Game (1939)
dir. Jean Renoir: b. 1894, son of Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir
-fought in WWI, as pilot, and was horrified at war and its devastation
-Renoir says that "Rules of the Game is a war film, and yet there is no reference to the war.
Beneath its seemingly innocuous appearance the story attacks the very structure of our society".
In 1939, Hitler's destabilizing political and military build-up had had consequences for Spain,
Austria, and Czechoslovakia: the invasion of Poland occurred a few months after the release of
the film. In a quiet and sophisticated way, Renoir laments the inevitability of violence in even the
most restrained of societies
Renoir was politically determined to avoid horrors: Renoir was member of the Communist party,
and was committed to social equality--but not in a didactic, dogmatic way, but in a quietly
He understands the temptations of wealth and elite classes, and refuses to romanticize the poor,
lower classes: he shows how class structures limit and restrain human beings. But unlike
Eisenstein, whose more scientific Marxism, based on b