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"The credo of film lovers, the film of films" (François Truffaut), Jean Renoir's sublime masterpiece recounts the dalliances, intrigues and tragedies among the French upper crust during a weekend at a country chateau.
A painstaking digital restoration revives the glory of Renoir's masterpiece, often voted the greatest film ever made. Once reviled, now revered, The Rules of the Game was attacked by the French press and public and banned as "demoralizing," but came to be considered "the credo of film lovers, the film of films" (François Truffaut). Inexhaustibly rich and suggestive (its complex deep-focus photography demands that the film be seen on the big screen), Rules opens at Le Bourget airfield as daring aviator André Jurieux (Roland Toutain) finishes a solo trans-Atlantic flight. His lover (Nora Gregor) is the wife of a marquis (Marcel Dalio) who invites a group of friends and hangers-on to a party at his country chateau. Copious upstairs-downstairs intrigue ensues, with Renoir's expansive, Mozartian vision encompassing the amorous dalliances and moral betrayals of aristocrats, servants, and hapless bystanders. (Renoir himself appears as Jurieux's kindly confidant Octave.) Daring in many ways, especially in its shifting tone, the film has the fizz of classic French farce but is shadowed by tragedy, the sense of a world heading blindly into horror. "The greatest film ever made... If one movie can stand for all others, represents all that film can be, that film is The Rules of the Game" (Paul Schrader).