La règle du jeu nº17 (Revue La Règle du Jeu) (French Edition)
To own a hovel in a village, it is not enough to have bought it cash down; you have to know all the neighbours, their parents and grandparents, the neighbouring farms, the beeches and oaks of the forest, you need to know how to plough, to fish, to hunt, to have carved notches in the trees as a child and find them grown bigger with age.
We can rest assured that the Jew does not fulfil these conditions. Prominent among them is, of course, Schumacher, whom we meet for the first time. Incidentally, he shares his name with that of a leading general in the Revolutionary armies. Do you want my rabbit?
We see Schumacher and his entourage, the hapless Marceau in tow, in deep focus with Robert in the foreground — visual space, as so often in this film, suggesting its social equivalent. The sympathy between Robert and Marceau — reinforced perhaps by a distant physical resemblance — is to be one of the most subversive relationships in the film, leading to further disruption rather than protective reinforcement of the existing order. Like Robert, in a curious sense his alter ego — an affinity perhaps reinforced by a certain physical resemblance between the two actors — Marceau has little time for barriers and walls.
Here, the camera, at one point, goes behind a pillar, almost as though it were spying on the guests from a hiding place — one instance of the way in which it can be seen as functioning as a character in the film. From this perspective, it can be argued that it is for attempting to break this implicit vow of chastity that he meets his death at the end. A few hours have doubtless passed before we find ourselves, once again, in the kitchens, where the servants are having their IBT — La Regle du jeu. Below stairs is the only place, we may infer, that so delicate an issue can be broached.
The salons, vain and distracted, have forgotten all about them. The sound of a piano can, meanwhile, be heard coming from upstairs, evocative perhaps of a certain closeness between the world of the servants and that of the masters. This is the longest shot in the entire film, lasting nearly two minutes, though, as Curchod points out, the speed and fluidity of the camera movements work against any impression of length.
It concludes as Marceau arrives, shot against a background of chefs and sous-chefs going about their business in the deepest focus to be found in the interior scenes at least — a suggestion of the complexities of the world he is about to enter. Mock hunting and duelling in a crane shot with a degree pan precede the guests retiring to bed. Robert elaborately thanks his wife for the panache with which she has dealt with a delicate situation. Christine turns melancholically to Lisette and asks whether she would like to have children.
The hunt sequence Even the hostile Vinneuil praised the hunt sequence. Venus, we may remember, was the goddess of the hunt as well as of love and was, therefore, the source of many plays on words in Shakespeare and elsewhere. It is characterized by a mobility of the camera that is extraordinary even for this film, running the gamut from close-up to tracking shot but with no sense of self-conscious virtuoso display. Two truths answer each other in the guise of two illusions.
Octave, for his part, decides to go as a bear, reverting we may think to type as Christine will do. There follows a comic but unmistakably erotically charged game of catch between them, accompanied by music from IBT — La Regle du jeu. This may seem an excessively apocalyptic approach to the farcical scene analyzed here, but the violence with which Schumacher grabs hold of the flirtatious Marceau, shaking him until his teeth rattle, sits disquietingly with the demands of his role.
- Wie man an die Spitze kommt (Erfolgsklassiker) (German Edition);
- The Rules of the Game!
He has already flouted these, as Corneille tartly reminds him, by straying into the kitchens; meanwhile, the guests are waiting for the shoes Marceau should by now have cleaned. From fancy dress to tragedy in less than an hour The next sequence is separated from what precedes it by a gap of about ten hours — the final interruption in the temporal continuity of the film.
The average shot length in this final section is actually very similar to that of the film as a whole — 24 seconds compared to 21; it is the rapid movements of the characters, and of the camera between and around them, rather than quick-fire cutting that give the sense of a headlong pile-up of events. Tracking shots and depth of focus combine throughout this part of the film to delirious effect. Christopher Faulkner has provided an admirable analysis of these on one of the Criterion DVDs, pointing out that the additional footage presents Octave in a far more sympathetic light than the truncated version would have done and thus renders the film as a whole less harsh and condemnatory.
Key moments of divergence between the two versions will be indicated below. According to the celebrated photographer Cartier-Bresson, who worked as an assistant to Renoir on the film and has a minor role as an English manservant, this was added at the last minute by way of a joke. If so, it is an extremely telling one.
The guests squeal and cower in mock — or is it entirely mock? Upstairs and downstairs, in a blatant violation of the regulation of social space, are now playing out their amorous rivalries on the same level.
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Saint-Aubin punches him twice and, for the first time in a film where violence has long simmered beneath the surface but become apparent only in the hunt scene, a fight breaks out, in the course of which the pugilists fall through a door and are then seen from the other side literally brawling their way up the stairs. The mobilization of the studio-set decor here is extraordinary yet, at the same time, unobtrusive.
Jackie collapses on witnessing what is going on, while the imperturbable Corneille has Saint-Aubin helped up. Cut from the bemused Christine to a song that presents more difficulty to the audience than any of the others in the film because of its exceptionally quick-fire delivery.
Such a reading, which I have developed at more length elsewhere,49 is certainly lent credence by the presence of the homosexual Dick among the singers. Desire, for Lacan, is always at least potentially castratory and systemically doomed to fix itself on this or that object rather than achieving a totality necessarily out of reach. Robert, at this point in the narrative, is grappling with a threat to his masculine dominance of a somewhat more circumscribed, but no less menacing, kind than that articulated by Lacan, so that the fetishistic pride he evinces in the limonaire is all too understandable.
Marceau and Lisette are flirting in the kitchen when Schumacher appears down the stairs, causing the former poacher to hide. Marceau, seen first in shadow and then attempting to slink out in the background — a reversal of the earlier kitchen scene where Schumacher has appeared in the background to surprise the flirtatious couple — is understandably spooked by this threat and noisily knocks over a tray.
In the next few scenes, the action proceeds with such breakneck speed, and on so many planes at once, that anything like a full account would slow this analysis down absurdly; there is really no substitute for a viewing or, indeed, repeated viewings here. Stendhal, in Le Rouge et le noir, famously compared politics in a work of art to a pistol-shot in the middle of a concert — an all but literal description of what we have just heard — but has one of his characters retort, in substance, that the political cannot plausibly be evicted from the novel for all that.
There follows a second scene absent from the version originally shown , a reflection and counterpart to that between Robert and Marceau earlier, which affords a moment of peace, like an adagio interlude amid the frenzied presto of the violence erupting all around. The musical comparison is appropriate, for Octave is relating to Christine his recollection of watching her father and his former teacher conduct. They move outside on to the terrace, where the remainder of the short scene is filmed largely in long shot, something of a relief from the unrelenting close-ups and medium shots of the previous episodes, and relies as much on movement and body language as on verbal narration.
The tranquil power of this scene resides partly in the gentle tenderness between Octave and Christine and partly in its IBT — La Regle du jeu. Like, in their different ways, the opening sequence at Le Bourget and the spyglass episode, this scene is self-reflective, the film operating a mise en abyme not of its own technologies as in the previous examples but of the very process of its directing.
The great escape: La Grande Illusion
Berthelin decides to turn off the limonaire — by now, in an incongruous piece of viennoiserie, playing a Strauss waltz — but, in keeping with his quietly sinister role, he succeeds only in disrupting it so that it emits hideously inharmonious sounds. This is to be the last we see of her.
So why do you expect mere private individuals not to lie as well? Christine, cleaving to her childhood friend and playmate as the only man she can trust, suggests to Octave that they go for a walk in the park. A gently flirtatious warmth pervades their conversation as they are spied on by Marceau and Schumacher who mistake Christine for Lisette whose cloak she is wearing.
50 years, 50 films Vol II: La Règle du Jeu () | Screenwriter
Imbroglios based on mistaken identity, often connected with the adoption of disguise and sometimes with cross-dressing, are a common device in comic theatre Twelfth Night and Le Mariage de Figaro are among the best-known examples , but here the comic, in contrast to the scenes that IBT — La Regle du jeu. La Chesnaye tells his guests and servants: Gentlemen, what has happened was nothing more than a deplorable accident. My gamekeeper Schumacher thought he saw a poacher, and fired as he had every right to do.
The final sentence was not included in the print. The difference with the two earlier shots is, of course, that their performances have shown their protagonists at their most sincere, whereas here Robert is telling the kind of omnipresent lie humorously denounced by Octave. La Chesnaye here receives the consecration of his aristocratic status from one who is all too likely, at least on the quiet, to regard him as an interloper; and that final acceptance, for a contemporary audience, is inevitably overshadowed by the exclusion that would have followed it on the fall of France.
The openness of the filming, the use of deep focus so admired by Bazin, the apparent naturalism of the transition between one scene and the next all give the impression of a seamless whole, yet close attention to the film reveals a host of formal and structural parallels and echoes that clearly knit the text together in all its contradictions. This is true of Christine and Lisette, and perhaps too of The General and Saint-Aubin, but more contentious elsewhere. The complicity between Schumacher and Robert implicit in this final speech is reinforced by the fact that both will shortly cease to be regarded as French — the former presumably to be redefined as German by the occupying forces who will condemn the latter to exile or worse.
With the departure of Marceau, Robert too lacks a double. If that role seems to be filled by Schumacher at the end, it is for reasons of structural rather than personal affinity. The shadows on the wall are like spectres returning to the feast, to resume dancing on a volcano. Curchod, Olivier ed. Guislain, Pierre et al. Both analyse the prevalence in French cinema, during this period, of quasi-Oedipal relationships, in which symbolic fathers figure a wider crisis of masculinity in French society. The rarity or absence of biological children serves, in this context, the better to concentrate attention on these symbolically Oedipal relationships.
Deleuze, Gilles trans. Guislain et al. Liselotte, Le Guide des convenances Paris: , 10th edition, no publisher given , p. Deleuze: Cinema 2: The Time-Image, p.
Joly, Jacques trans. To give a full account of this plethora of texts would be a self-defeating task so I propose here to review what seem to me the most significant, be they articles, book chapters or monographs. Politically inspired approaches Auteurism is, in many ways, the quintessentially humanist approach to cinema, viewing films as the product of a single unifying consciousness — one reason why, in the politically committed s and s, it fell from grace.
Its politics operate on the level of diagnosis — of the corruption of French society — and formal challenge IBT — La Regle du jeu. Poulle was writing in the immediate aftermath of the May events, which had involved the cinema world from the outset and inspired a great deal of reflection on what forms revolutionary artistic practice and cultural politics might take. Gauteur is concerned to re-inscribe the Renoir of the s as a committed figure not only as a film-maker but also as a journalist, through his contributions to various left-wing periodicals at the end of the decade. The Social Cinema of Jean Renoir published in — by which time such analyses had somewhat gone off the boil — argues that the working class, the Popular Front while it lasted and the history of France in and before the s are as important for the films of that period as Renoir-the-auteur.
The sometimes cumbersome framework Faulkner deploys to underpin his analysis may slow it down periodically but it emphatically does not invalidate its conclusion. The work of Daniel Serceau — to be considered later — notwithstanding, gendered views of French films tend, notoriously, to be the province of non-French critics. The death here — that perhaps of a civilization, though not necessarily of its discontents — is assimilated by Burch and Sellier, as in a different way by Serceau, to that of a certain order of gender relationships.
Historical and industrial approaches The s saw a burgeoning of historically based approaches to film, in some degree a reaction against what came to be perceived as the excessive formalism of s Cahiers in particular. Some of these comparisons may convince more than others but, taken as a whole, they are of immense value in placing the film IBT — La Regle du jeu. When he gives Lisette a cloth cape, Schumacher derives satisfaction from the saving he has made.
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He would like a happy life at home, with his wife, but between the money this would cost and his attachment to saving he chooses the second, even if he cannot be happy without the first. He is aware that he is all the time sacrificing himself for a goal which he does not realize is illusory considering his own behaviour. What seems clear is that the distinction between the political and the auteurist approach es to Renoir cannot be a hard-and-fast one. Leahy, James, in Senses of Cinema — www.
Premier Plan: Jean Renoir Lyon, , p. This contribution is not individually signed.