Une partie de campagne

Jean Renoir

T. it.: La scampagnata. Sog.: dall’omonimo racconto di Guy de Maupassant. Scen.: Jean Renoir. F.: Claude Renoir. M.: Marguerite Houllé-Renoir. Scgf.: Robert Gys. Mus.: Joseph Kosma. Ass. regia: Yves Allégret, Jacques Becker, Jacques B. Brunius, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Claude Heymann, Luchino Visconti. Int.: Sylvia Bataille (Henriette Dufour), Georges Saint-Saëns [Georges Darnoux] (Henri), Jane Marken (Juliette Dufour), André Gabriello (Cyprien Dufour), Jacques Borel [Jacques B. Brunius] (Rodolphe), Paul Temps (Anatole), Gabrielle Fontan (la nonna), Jean Renoir (papà Poulain), Marguerite Houllé-Renoir (la cameriera), , Georges Bataille (seminarista) Henri Cartier-Bresson (seminarista), Pierre Lestringuez (il prete), Alain Renoir (un giovane pescatore). Prod.: Pierre Braumberger per Panthéon.. DCP. D.: 40′. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Une partie de campagne is one of the most beautiful examples of a unique mode of cinematic expression that Renoir perfected during the 1930s: a wandering camera that may or may not coincide with a character’s perspective in the course of its movements, close shots that convey the ambiguity of characters’ emotions, compositions in depth that reveal two or three levels of narrative attention, ambiance and incidental activities that disguise classically symmetrical story structures, lyrical beauty undermined by the dark side of human desire as governed by social conventions. Renoir reinvented and combined the heritage of Naturalism and Impressionism in his own idiom and nowhere better than in Une partie de campagne. What a paradox to learn that Renoir left the production before it was finished. Une partie de campagne was released in 1946, ten years after it was shot, by producer Pierre Braunberger who added two titles to bridge gaps in the story and authorized Marguerite Houllé-Renoir, Renoir’s editor and companion throughout the 1930s, to edit the film and Joseph Kosma, composer for La Grand illusion, La Marseillaise and La Bête humaine, to write the music. By then Renoir was living in Los Angeles as an American citizen. He consented after the fact and without seeing the film. Partie de campagne, as de Maupassant’s story and Renoir’s working documents were titled, was intended to be a medium-length film, not much longer than its current length. What started as a small project to be shot on location with family and friends for about a week near Renoir’s country home in Marlotte, where he had made his first film La Fille de l’eau and where his father had created memorable paintings, turned into an expensive three weeks dominated by rain and waiting for the sun to appear, straining personal relationships. But bad weather became one of the many happy accidents in Renoir’s career. He rewrote the script and retook shots to make rain part of the story. The impression the film leaves on us is inseparable from this dimension. Shooting was nearly complete when Sylvia Bataille and Renoir had a fight, and the director left to begin Les Bas-fonds.

Janet Bergstrom

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Restored and digitalized in 2014 by Les Films du Jeudi, Les Films du Panthéon and Cinémathèque française with the support of CNC and of the Franco-American Cultural Fund - DGA MPA SACEM WGAW