The Rules of the Game

Monday, March 18
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1hr 46mins // directed by:Jean Renoir // featuring:Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Jean Renoir // 35mm // in French with English subtitles

Made on the cusp of World War II, Jean Renoir’s satire of the upper-middle classes is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. Taking place during a shooting weekend at a country house, the film captures an upstairs-downstairs world where servants and masters become enmeshed in a tangle of desire.

At la Colinière, the deceptively idyllic country estate of a wealthy Parisian aristocrat, a selection of society’s finest gather for a rural sojourn and shooting party, and over the course of the weekend reveal themselves to be absurdly, almost primitively, cruel and vapid. 

It took decades for Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game to be recognized as a masterpiece. The film received terribly negative reviews and even provoked near riots in Paris upon its release. As a result, Renoir cut twenty-three minutes from the original version. And even then, it was banned by the French government. The original negative was destroyed during World War II, and only in 1959 was the film fully reconstructed from surviving prints and embraced by audiences and critics alike.

Now, thanks to an unprecedented digital restoration, audiences can see the film in a form as close to Renoir's original intentions as possible. Playing with the lightest of touches, yet stinging like the greatest of tragedies, The Rules of the Game has come to be regarded as one of the finest movies ever made.