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The Rules of the Game
(La Règle du jeu)

Screening on Film
Directed by Jean Renoir.
With Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Roland Toutain, Jean Renoir.
France, 1939, 35mm, black & white, 110 min.
French, German & English with English subtitles.
Print source: Janus Films

Jean Renoir’s last film made in Europe for a dozen years seems to predict the coming war that would displace him. The filmmaker’s belief that "honest sincerity is catastrophic in a world where everyone has his reasons" is examined at length in this satirical, multilayered anatomy of French aristocracy, set at a weekend retreat in a countryside chateau. The intricately plotted ensemble piece shows the influence of the stage comedies of Beaumarchais and Marivaux even as it remains resolutely modern in its comprehensive and gimlet-eyed glance at a world ruled by status, hypocrisy and other “rules.” Its balanced mixture of farce and brittle irony has led many to consider The Rules of the Game Renoir’s masterpiece.

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