In an effort to rejuvenate my thirst for film I have partaken on an ambitious endeavor. I have decided to compile my list of 100 favorite films, “rewatch” them, and write a brief review. I encourage you to follow along.

 85.  The Rules of The Game (Renoir, 1939)

The characters in Jean Renoir’s The Rules of The Game are less people, and more celestial bodies. They move throughout the vast empty of space with a blind trust in the rules of gravity. Gravity will guide them clear of danger. Gravity being the social norms and protocol of societal living. But, in their universe, just like ours, the bodies will find each other. The irresistible pull of gravity can cause violent crashes. Within the violence the known principles of gravity change, become unrecognizable, and destroy.

Renoir is not interested in pitting one side against another with his film. Making the bourgeoisie look vile and unfeeling would be too easy. Instead, he gives us  human beings from all ends of the socioeconomic universe, with all the range of emotions, and vulnerabilities we recognize in ourselves. We watch them crash into each other, attract, and repel. And all of them with varying degrees of understanding in the rules of society. Renoir takes a great deal of delight in playing out the absurdity and constraints of societal protocol. One can almost hear him giggle with every breakdown.

– James Merolla

 

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