French Cancan

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

Thursday, July 21 | 7:30 pm

It’s Paris in the 1890s, and Henri (Jean Gabin) is the owner of an unsuccessful café. While visiting the city’s Montmarte neighborhood, he discovers that the old-fashioned cancan dance is still being performed. This gives rise to a business scheme that culminates in the opening of the famed Moulin Rouge. Describing French Cancan’s connection to the painting of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, director Jean’s father, legendary film critic André Bazin observes that this is “the film of a man who knows Impressionist painting better than anyone. He is not simply an admirer of the works, he knew the movement from the inside and was an intimate friend of its creators.” For Bazin, this joyous, Technicolor celebration of the belle époque is the “perfect homage” to the director’s father.

Director Jean Renoir 1955 France 105 minutes NR DVD

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