films seen
average score
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La Bête Humaine

1938 / 100m - France
Crime, Thriller
La Bête Humaine poster

The film didn't start off too bad, but like too many films from the 30s, the narrative and dialogue get in the way of a decent watch. The cinematography is interesting and expressive, the narrative is pretty boring and the bland dialogues just slow things down even further. Not the worst of its kind though.

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When Roubaud hears Séverine, his wife, is sleeping with her boss, he simply can't stand the idea, and he forces his wife to join his murderous plans. Their mission is a success, except that there is a witness who saw Séverine kill the man. To make sure he doesn't talk, she also starts an amorous relationship with the witness.

The stark black and white cinematography is nice enough, and it's clear that Renoir made an effort to elevate it. Sadly, the plot is boring, so are the characters, and the soundtrack feels terribly out of place. The film starts off pretty decent, but once the noir elements find their way into the film, the quality takes a dip.

The Rules of the Game

La Règle du Jeu
1939 / 110m - France
Comedy, Drama
The Rules of the Game poster

The Grand Illusion

La Grande Illusion
1937 / 113m - France
Drama, War
The Grand Illusion poster

La Chienne

1931 / 95m - France
Crime, Drama
La Chienne poster

Early Renoir. Like most of these early 30s films, the ability to record sound shifted the focus from visual storytelling to dialogue-heavy stories. And so we get a film where characters are endlessly blabbering and chattering away, with a camera that mostly just registers people talking.

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Maurice is a simple guy who married the wrong woman. He isn't happy in his marriage and when Lulu, a young and seductive woman, comes along, he falls for her charms immediately. Lulu isn't too interested in Maurice, but to please her pimp Dédé, she hooks up with him anyway.

The performances aren't great, the cinematography is pretty dull and the plot is basic and predictable. Looking at the history of cinema it's obvious why and how this was made, but watching the film now it's hard to derive any fun from it. I'm not a big Renoir fan to begin with, this one certainly didn't help.

A Day in the Country

Partie de Campagne
1946 / 40m - France
A Day in the Country poster

Not sure what to make of this. Could be a romance, but is one rapey kiss really enough? Could be a love letter to the countryside, but was the grim black and white cinematography truly the best choice for that? And what about the farcical performances? At least it's short, but that's hardly a consolation when the rest of the film is beyond redemption.