A Day in the Country & The Lower Depths

“Impressionism multiplied by the cinema”: The Films of Jean Renoir

Two films for one admission!

Thursday, July 7 | 7:30 pm

Originally conceived as a short feature, A Day in the Country follows the extended Dufour family as they leave the city for an afternoon idyll in the French countryside. There, the married Madame Dufour and her betrothed daughter, Henriette (the exquisite Sylvia Bataille), are approached by a pair of young men who offer to take them on a boat ride. Agreeing, the group travels to a secluded spot on the riverbank. Featuring at least three reproductions of Renoir’s father, Pierre-Auguste’s paintings, A Day in the Country is among the most poetic and bittersweet of romances ever to grace the screen. Nearing the end of the production, Renoir was called away to direct his version of Maxim Gorky’s proletariat play, The Lower Depths. In the latter, French film icon Jean Gabin (The Grand Illusion) stars as Pépel, a thief who plans to rob a destitute baron. Shot at the height of the anti-Nazi Popular Front, The Lower Depths provides “a remarkable gallery of the dissatisfied,” for critic Claude de Givray. Softening the original, Renoir shows us men and women who are “fiercely individualistic, nicely revolutionary characters, more sociable than socialist… [They] live as they think.”

A Day in the Country

Director Jean Renoir 1936 France 41 minutes NR Blu-ray

The Lower Depths

Director Jean Renoir 1936 France 89 minutes NR DVD

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