Retrospective 2016

La Chienne

Die Hündin
Jean Renoir
FRA 1931
95min
V'16

Jean Renoir’s ruthless love triangle tale LA CHIENNE is a true precursor to his brilliantly bitter LA RÈGLE DU JEU, displaying all of the filmmaker’s visual genius and fully imbued with his profound humanity. Michel Simon cuts a tragic figure as an unhappily married cashier and amateur painter who becomes so smitten with a prostitute that he refuses to see the obvious: that she and her pimp boyfriend are taking advantage of him. Renoir’s elegant compositions and camera movements carry this twisting narrative – a stinging commentary on class and sexual divisions – to an unforgettably ironic conclusion. Renoir films the story with flashes of spontaneous lyrical imagination, including close-ups with other characters crowding in at the edges, a conspiratorial dance scene done in one long take with daringly roughedged and hand-held camera work, a scene of shocking revelation done with the wry distance of a carefully choreographed shot through a window, and a sequence of violence that’s filmed with a rare poetic delicacy that has nothing to do with fetishizing or aestheticizing that violence but, rather, quietly extracts from its horrors a prismatic range of the chaotically tangled and overstoked emotions that flow into and from it. (Richard Brody)

Credits
  • Janie Marèse - Lucienne «Lulu» Pelletier
  • Michel Simon - Maurice Legrand
  • Georges Flamant - André «Dédé» Joguin
  • Jean Renoir
  • André Girard
  • Theodore Sparkuhl
  • Denise Batcheff
  • Paul Fejos
  • Gabriel Scognamillo
Les Établissements Braunberger-Richebé
35 mm
bw
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