Partie de Campagne DVD
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Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced in 1936
Main Language - FRENCH with English subtitles
Sylvia Bataille, George St. Saens, James Marken
Fresh from a trio of contemporary pictures and keen to find a vehicle for Sylvie Bataille, Jean Renoir selected a short story by Guy de Maupassant to recall the era before the banks of the Seine were overrun by factories and suburbs. Moreover, the tale of an 1860s Parisian quartet, whose picnic brings unexpected romantic diversions for the ladies, enabled him to pay lyrical tribute to the work of his father, Auguste Renoir, and his fellow Impressionists. Thus, he decided to shoot at Montigny-sur-Loing and encouraged his cinematographer nephew Claude to evoke rather than duplicate such canvases as Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe and La Balancoire.
But inclement weather intruded upon the project's sunny nostalgia and with the budget exhausted, Renoir abandoned his bickering cast to commence work on Les Bas-Fonds. Determined to salvage his investment, producer Pierre Braunberger saw a rough cut and commissioned script extensions from Jacques Prévert (which the director detested) and Michele Lahay (which he grudgingly accepted before disappearing to make La Grande Illusion). It was only when Braunberger was in hiding from the Nazis that he devised the idea of using captions to link the separate episodes.
However, Margueritte Renoir's edit had been destroyed during the war. Yet Braunberger managed to unearth an uncut negative in the Cinémathèque Française and released a 40-minute featurette in May 1946. Less politically strident than Renoir's other Popular Front era films, it still criticised the complacency of the bourgeoisie and shared the ominous atmosphere of his masterpiece, La Règle du Jeu.
David Parkinson on 30th June 2003
Author of 191 reviews
Renoir’s unfinished masterpiece. A family picnic in the countryside sees a young girl leaving her dull fiancé and falling into a short but intense romance with a handsome stranger. A bittersweet tale of the transience of innocence and love, and (as you would expect from Renoir) a satire on middle-class conventions. Adapted from a short stort by Maupassant, it’s thoroughly magical, and as complete an unfinished film as you could hope to find.
Length: 39 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.33 Full Screen
Cat No: BFIVD576
Format: DVD B&W
- Commentary from Philip Kemp
- 42 mins extra material from the Cinematheque Francaise (discarded takes and screen tests never seen before)
by Barry Forshaw on 2nd September 2003
Renoir's exquisite masterpiece remain as beguiling as ever, particularly in this excellent DVD transfer. Read on
Renoir's exquisite masterpiece remain as beguiling as ever, particularly in this excellent DVD transfer. Hide
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