The Golden Coach

Screening on Film
Directed by Jean Renoir.
With Anna Magnani, Duncan Lamont, Riccardo Rioli.
France/Italy, 1952, 35mm, color, 103 min.
In English.
Print source: Janus Films

Renoir took Prosper Mérimée’s play about a commedia dell’arte troupe in 18th-century Peru and used it as an entry point for his greatest investigation of theater and performance. Shot at Cinecitta in Technicolor by Claude Renoir, starring the great Anna Magnani and featuring a beautiful score culled from the works of Vivaldi, The Golden Coach opens on a shot of a curtain rising to reveal a stage. As the camera moves slowly in, we are spectators in a theater hovering in front of the proscenium, but then a door opens on the stage and the camera follows a character through it and we enter the play, or, more accurately, the movie. Renoir considered Vivaldi one of his principal collaborators on the film, one whose music contributes to the film’s spirit of light-hearted irony, as the director put it.

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