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The Rules Of The Game(1939)



Renoir said André was "the victim, who, trying to fit into a world in which he does not belong, fails to respect the rules of the game",[104] and that André thought he could shatter the rules by a world flight, while Christine thought she could do the same by following her heart.[107] The "rules" of the film's title are its only villain. Renoir said "the world is made up of cliques ... Each of these cliques has its customs, its mores, indeed, its own language. To put it simply, each has its rules, and these rules determine the game."[107] Renoir said all human activity is "subject to social protocols that are less apparent than, but just as strict as, those practiced by Louis XIV."[106] Renoir's son Alain said the film continues to be relevant and popular because it shows the artificial joy of the modern age in contrast to the rules of that (or any) age.[45]




The Rules of the Game(1939)


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The film especially was appreciated by filmmakers and film critics associated with the French New Wave movement. Bazin said "as a conventional love story, the film could have been a success if the scenario had respected the rules of the movie game. But Renoir wanted to make his own style of drame gai [merry drama], and the mixture of genres proved disconcerting to the public."[134] Film critic Claude Beylie called it "the cornerstone of the work of Jean Renoir, the point of arrival and the swan song of the French cinema of the thirties ...The Rules of the Game is a rare combination of satire, vaudeville and tragedy."[135] It was a major source of inspiration for Alain Resnais, who said seeing the film was "the single most overwhelming experience I have ever had at the cinema";[89]and Louis Malle, who said "for all of us, my generation of French filmmakers, La Règle du jeu was the absolute masterpiece."[136] François Truffaut articulated the film's enormous influence and said "it isn't an accident that The Rules of the Game inspired a large number of young people who had first thought of expressing themselves as novelists to take up careers as filmmakers." He also said "It is the credo of movie lovers, the film of films, the film most hated when it was made and most appreciated afterwards, to the extent that it ultimately became a true commercial success."[70]


Satyajit Ray called it "a film that doesn't wear its innovations on its sleeve ... Humanist? Classical? Avant-Garde? Contemporary? I defy anyone to give it a label. This is the kind of innovation that appeals to me."[137] Other notable filmmakers who have praised it include Bernardo Bertolucci,[41] Wim Wenders,[133] Peter Bogdanovich,[41] Noah Baumbach[121] and Cameron Crowe.[127] Henri Cartier-Bresson, who worked on the film before beginning a long career as a photojournalist, called it "one of the summits of art and a premonition of everything that was to happen in the world."[51] Robert Altman said "The Rules of the Game taught me the rules of the game."[127]


The movie takes the superficial form of a country house farce, at which wives and husbands, lovers and adulterers, masters and servants, sneak down hallways, pop up in each other's bedrooms and pretend that they are all proper representatives of a well-ordered society. Robert Altman, who once said "I learned the rules of the game from 'The Rules of the Game,'" was not a million miles off from this plot with his "Gosford Park" -- right down to the murder.


His film opens with a great national hero, the aviator Andre Jurieu, completing a heroic trans-Atlantic solo flight (only 10 years after Lindbergh) and then whining on the radio because the woman he loves did not come to the airport to meet him. Worse, the characters in the movie who do try to play by the rules are a Jewish aristocrat, a cuckolded gamekeeper, and the embarrassing aviator.


It is indeed all a game, in which you may have a lover if you respect your spouse and do not make the mistake of taking romance seriously. The destinies of the gamekeeper and the aviator come together because they both labor under the illusion that they are sincere. I said they are two of the three who play by the rules of the game -- but alas, they are not playing the same game as the others.


André understands the rules but remains hopelessly earnest. Robert is a charming dilettante, who tinkers absently with his music boxes. Like Schumacher, Christine is palpably out of place, at once the collective object of desire and at impervious remove from the action.


When Andre finds Christina and Saint-Aubin alone, Andre picks a fight with the man as the two of them duke it out on the staircase. Eventually after the fight Christine impulsively tells Andre in private that she loves him and for them to run away together that very night. Andre agrees but believes the right thing to do is let Robert know what they plan on doing since those are the rules of being a gentlemen. In a glorious scene Robert presents a musical show to his guests showing them all his musical instruments and toys play a song as Robert stands aside very pleased on presenting his toy collection. After the show Robert walks in on his wife and Andre embracing each other and Robert says to Andre, "well you have what you want...Your stealing my wife! I'll give you this you bastard!" and the two get into a brawl with each other while Octave walks in with Genevieve witnessing the altercation.


I don't even think anyone truly loves each other in this film except for Octave and Christine, but their friendship blinds their true love that they both long for. For all these other characters love is merely a game. Some of them abide by certain rules like Schumacher and Christine and some abide by other rules. I think for Andre his love for Christine is merely delusional, Schumacher thinks of love like more of a duty than a feeling, Marceau likes to chase woman instead of actually catching them, and Lisette seems to care more for the feelings of her boss then her own husband. No one really takes love seriously and yet they say the word 'love' all the time, as a way to pass the time. Its unfortunate but unenviable but the destinies of the gamekeeper and the aviator come together at the end because they both have the illusion that they are sincere in their love. It is Robert who I believe understands the game of love and life the most, which is why his true passion is for mechanical wind up musical instruments. At least with these machines (unlike life and people) they work exactly as expected with no surprises or disappointments.


Jean Renoir is considered one of the greatest French directors of all time and he inspired Orson Welles and several other filmmakers with his groundbreaking camera techniques and his lighting styles, and many of his films are now considered masterpieces. In 1932 he made another film that was also a comedy of manners called, Boudu: Saved from Drowning about a homeless man that's taken in by a wealthy family; but he is rude and ungrateful. La Cheinne is about a man who has a terror for a wife he is stuck with. Renoir then made a romantic short called, Partie de campagne which is considered one of the greatest film shorts of all time. His bleak masterpiece La Bête Humaine is about a violent man with serious violent tendencies. His film Grand Illusion which is about a prison camp during World War I, like The Rules of the Game, is considered a masterpiece and one of the greatest films of all time. He also made a beautiful European techno color film called The River which is about three British girls growing up in India. The great director Wim Wenders has cited that The Rules of the Game is what got him started as a filmmaker saying, "In the years before the Steadicam, you wonder how a film camera could possibly have been so weightless." The Rules of the Game has since become regarded as a classic of prewar French realism, showcasing the elemental but also an advancement of cinematography. Robert Altman was a huge fan of The Rules of the Game and even said, "I learned the rules of the game from The Rules of the Game" and even made a film very similar in style and tone with the film Gosford Park which also ends with a murder. Paul Schrader said "The Rules of the Game stands above all other films because, quite simply it has it all." Director Alain Resnais says, "I only saw it in 1944. And it still remains, I think, the most overwhelming experience I have had in the cinema in my whole life." The poll of international critics by the Sight & Sound magazine ranked The Rules of the Game #10 in 1952, and it then moved it up to #3, behind Citizen Kane and Vertigo in 2002. Empire magazine put The Rules of the Game at number 13 in its list of "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010. Behind all the comedy, alliances and romances, The Rules of the Game in the end is a tragedy. There are several tragedies for several of the characters at the end of the film and it's not Andre's murder. Another is Octave leaving without saying goodbye to Christine because of the guilt of Andre's death. What's also really tragic is that Octave wont be able to spend his life with the woman he's always loved, and that Christine will then remain with Robert; a husband she doesn't truly love. What is masterful about this film is it's theories on life, love and tragic coincidences which are so very true. Very few people find 'true love' in their life and actually make it last. It's because of these 'rules of the game' of life that occur that make it sadly impossible for most of us.


But that is awful. We long for the innocent and free expression of our emotions, but that way lies disaster. We need rules (pretenses, etiquette, machines) for life to go on even though these social mechanisms corrupt. Accordingly, Renoir re-establishes that corrupt order at the end of the film when Robert lies about the murder. 041b061a72


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