Friday, January 8, 2010

Favorites of My Favorites #1 -- Jean Renoir

Today I thought I'd start a new series of entries, entitled "Favorites of My Favorites".  Basically I will list the films of my favorite directors, in preferential order.  In each entry, I'll focus on a different director.  And the entries will probably be pretty intermittent, going forward.

Since there are so many films to see, I always like when someone I respect tells me what to see from a certain director.  I'm hoping that perhaps these entries will serve that purpose for somebody, somewhere.

I thought I'd kick things off with one of my very favorites, the French director Jean Renoir.  During 1996-97, I lived in Montpellier, France. In town, there was a place called the Videotheque where you paid like $50/year and could go and watch movies.  It had about thirty study carrels, each equipped with its own TV screen.  The Videotheque sported a library of about 50,000 movies and would load up the movie you requested, and you could watch it, with headphones, at your carrel.

Anyway, that year, since I didn't go to film school, I decided to do my own little thesis on Jean Renoir.  Most French cinephiles kept telling me that he was the greatest director in their country's history so I wanted to find out the big deal.

I started with Renoir's earliest film and slowly worked my way through his oeuvre, in chronological order.  I took notes on each film.  And by the end (two or three months later), I had a good sense of Jean Renoir, the filmmaker, and why he was held in such high esteem.

JEAN RENOIR (in preferential order)
1.  La Chienne
2.  Toni
3.  Les bas-fonds
4.  Partie de campagne
5.  Night at the Crossroads
6.  La bete humaine
7.  The Crime of Monsieur Lange
8.  Nana
9.  The Grand Illusion
10.  The Rules of the Game
11.  The Diary of a Chambermaid
12.  The Southerner
13.  The Golden Coach
14.  The River
15.  Le dejeuner sur l'herbe
16.  French Cancan
17.  Paris Does Strange Things (Elena and Her Men) watched 1/14/10
18.  On purge bebe
19.  Boudu Saved from Drowning
20.  Whirlpool of Fate watched 10/30/11
21.  La petite marchande d'allumettes watched 10/30/11
22.  La Marseillaise
23.  Sur un air de Charleston (Charleston Parade) watched 10/15/11

Need to re-watch:
La petite marchande d'allumettes
Swamp Water
This Land is Mine
The Woman on the Beach
Paris Does Strange Things
The Elusive Corporal

Never seen:
Charleston Parade
Whirlpool of Fate
The Sad Sack
The Tournament
Le bled
The Bitch
Chotard and Company
Madame Bovary
La vie est a nous
The Story of Tosca
The Amazing Mrs. Holliday
Salute to France

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