A ferocious paragraph…

…courtesy of Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, from his latest piece over at the Auteurs, on the anti-mastery of Jean Renoir (a director whose work I’ve never cared much for but who has nevertheless inspired a wealth of awesome analysis):

And what’s The Rules of the Game if not the grandest of all rude gestures? It’s fuck-yous all around: the Beaumarchais quote in credits; naming the new servant Corneille; the decision to compose a shot of an upper-class couple leaving a room around their maid, on her hands and knees, playing with their lapdogs; letting characters recede into the background without disappearing from view; the idea to devote such a long and complicated shot to men in silly smocks waving sticks to scare a bunch of rabbits, and then to linger on the quivering tail and spastic legs of a dying animal; the frankness with which the characters talk, revealing their weaknesses and their pettiness; the act of placing the camera so far away from action that the details of a room become as important as the actors (it takes some nerve to decide that a sofa has as much of a right to space in the image as a star), [my emphasis] or so close that the actors’ faces becomes distorted and monstrous (Renoir himself looks hideous in the shot of the interior of the car before the crash, his face screwed up like Popeye’s).


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One Response to “A ferocious paragraph…”

  1. Anthony Says:

    I’m pretty sure the film we saw today borrowed a riff from Philip Glass’s opera “The Photographer.”

    It’s the part just before the vocals come in. The lyrics to the opera were written by David Byrne. Some say Byrne might be crazy rather than brilliant, but I don’t know how you can call him anything other than brilliant.

    Sorry for sending you a movie, I’m sure you’ve seen enough this weekend.

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