The Rules of the Game 1939
A tragicomic masterpiece and an all-around great, inventive, sparkling, deservedly revered movie, Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game (released in 1939) is the last, most powerful gasp of France's great cinematic tradition of poetic realism before World War II and German occupation put that humanistic tendency to a premature death. Even before the war, however, the film was violently rejected by its target audience, the Parisian bourgeoisie, who responded defensively to the film's satirizing of their hypocrisy, complacency, and decadence.

The story of the film concerns a weekend gathering of wealthy French socialites at a country estate. The focus is on various romantic flirtations and infidelities, involving servants and gentry alike, and as such and with its allusions to Beaumarchais’s Marriage of Figaro, it has all the external trappings of a light comedy of manners. Somehow, though, Renoir managed to mold this seemingly conventional material into a multi-layered and profound commentary on the nature of love, society, and the human condition. In the background, of course, was the generally shared feeling of impending catastrophe and social breakdown that would accompany another devastating world war.

Within a year the French Vichy government had banned the film, and during the war the original film negative was destroyed, and the original director’s cut was permanently lost. The version of The Rules of the Game that exists today is the result of a painstaking reconstruction from some existing, cut-down production prints some twenty years later, and it is not precisely what Renoir originally released.


Director: Jean Renoir
Cast: Nora Gregor, Jean Renoir, Marcel Dalio, Paulette Dubost, Roland Toutain, Pierre Magnier, Gaston Modot
Country: France
Genre: Drama, Comedy

BD50, 2xDVD9 | AVC 1080p, NTSC | 01:46:35 | 45.8 Gb, 7.71 Gb + 7.72 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Francais
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Commentary - this is the same audio commentary that appeared on Criterion's 2004 DVD release of The Rules of the Game. In it, writer-director Peter Bogdanovich reads a text written by film scholar and Renoir close friend Alexander Sesonske.

Introduction - a short introduction to the film by Jean Renoir. In French, with optional English subtitles. (7 min, 1080i).

Playing by Different Rules - a comparative analysis of the different versions of The Rules of the Game by film historian and professor of film studies Chris Faulkner (Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada). Also included is the ending of Jean Renoir's 1939 short version of the film.
-- Version Comparison. In English, not subtitled. (14 min, 1080i).
-- Short Version Ending. In French, with optional English subtitles. (9 min, 1080i).

Scene Analysis - professor Chris Faulkner comments on two specific scenes from the film. In English, not subtitled.
-- "Public and Private" (6 min, 1080i).
-- "Corridor" (3 min, 1080i).

Jean Renoir, Le Patron - a program, one of three, which director and critic Jacques Rivette (La belle noiseuse) created for the French television series Cineastes de notre temps. In it, Jean Renoir discusses the production history of The Rules of the Game, its message, etc. The program first aired on February 8, 1967. In French, with optional English subtitles. (32 min, 1080i).

Jean Renoir - part one of film critic David Thompson's two-part BBC documentary Jean Renoir. The documentary contains various interviews with Jean Renoir, directors Bernardo Bertolucci and Peter Bogdanovich, professor Alexander Sesonske, and relatives of the legendary French director, and focuses on his childhood years and legacy. In English and French, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (60 min, 1080i).

Production History - three wonderful video essays addressing the complicated production history of The Rules of the Game.
-- Chris Faulkner. In English, not subtitled. (9 min, 1080i).
-- Olivier Curchod. In French, with optional English subtitles. (28 min, 1080i).
-- Gaborit and Durand. In French, with optional English subtitles. (11 min, 1080i).

Interviews - production designer Max Douy, actress Mila Parely (who plays Genevieve in the film), and Jean Renoir's son, Alain, who worked as an assistant cameraman, recall their experiences making The Rules of the Game. In French and English, with optional English subtitles where necessary.
-- Max Douy (10 min, 1080i).
-- Mila Parely (17 min, 1080i).
-- Alain Renoir (19 min, 1080i).

2 x DVD9 | NTSC 4:3 | 01:46:25 | 7.46 Gb + 7.12 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Francais
Subtitles: English

Extras:
• Introduction by Director Jean Renoir
• Commentary Written by Film Scholar Alexander Sesonske and Read by Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
• Version Comparison of two endings with shooting script
• Selected-Scene Analysis by Renoir Historian Chris Faulkner
• Excerpts from "Jean Renoir, Le Patron: La Regle et L'Exception" (1966), a French television program
• Part One of Two-Part 1993 BBC Documentary "Jean Renoir" by Film Critic David Thompson
• Video Essay About the Film's Production, Release, and 1959 Reconstruction
• Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand discuss their reconstruction and re-release of the film (1965)
• New interview with Renoir's son Alain, an assistant cameraman on the film
• New interview with set designer Max Douy
• 1995 Interview with actress Mila Parely
• Written tributes to the film and Renoir by Francois Truffaut, Paul Schrader, Bertrand Tavernier, Wim Wenders, and others

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