Boudu saved from drowning (1932 / France / Jean Renoir)

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Boudu saved from drowning (1932 / France / Jean Renoir)

Postby A » Sun Mar 26, 2006 10:07 pm

Watched Boudu sauv des eaux at the cinema.

The copy was quite old, and the sound bad, but imo it didn't do much damage to the film. It's still very beautiful, and Renoir's early handwriting very legible. The very beautiful and expressive photography by Lonce-Henri Burel and Marcel Lucien comes to its fullest in the sometimes long but always cinematically rich pauses of the narrative Renoir likes to use. Ordinary Observations of people and their surroundings that become transcendent. It's apparent that renoir loves all his characters equally, and even without the satire and social commentary the film would have kept its significance.
Looking at the images, at times I felt as if I had entered a time-machine, but simultaneously the story and characters depicted are so universal that the film has actually aged quite well. What may be problematic today is the romanticised depiction of the tramp on the road, but times may have been different in the 30s than today...
Anyway, the film works best as a satirical poem, and thus the poetic quality stands out more than anything else. At the end of the film we have a beautiful plan-sequence accompanied by a "live" version of Joseph Strauss' "An der schnen blauen Donau", that reflects the same use Kubrick would put it to some 30 years later. Watching this scene evolving a wedding party on a boat in the Seine, I was reminded of Renoir the painter. An impressionistic tableau, that showcases the beauty of the moment. It is in these moments of outward calmness and inward upheaval that Renoir's style comes to its fullest. A movement that contradicts the apparent calm, but with a tenderness that seems to balance the characters roughness. If anything else these moments just express a love for life that is beautifully to behold.

I seem to be getting into Renoir, as I'm more and more appreciating the lyrical qualities in his work.

Re: Boudu saved from drowning (1932 / France / Jean Renoir)

Postby Johndav » Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:22 pm

A witty poetic satire! I've had a soft spot for this film since studying it on my French course at uni (a group of us were lucky to be able to have French cinema in the 30's as a specialist subject), years ago. I'm sure seeing the film again the day before the exam, rather than spending time checking out critics in the library, helped improve my grade. It certainly sends up Bourgeois morals and hang-ups (imagine spitting in Balzac!), though Boudu's anarchic behaviour and sexual carryings-on may be either irritating or- his erotic appeal i'm thinking of here- not very credible to many viewers. Yeah, the river scenes, as in Partie de Campagne, are not only among his most lyrical, but as you say, reminiscent of his dad.

I hated the Hollywood remake Down and Out in Beverly Hills and have no interest in seeing the apparently dire moderrn French remake.

Re: Boudu saved from drowning (1932 / France / Jean Renoir)

Postby A » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:31 pm

I could imagine that for the times it was made in, his behaviour may have been even more extreme than it would be today. As for his sexual attraction, I guess it is because he just is the way he is, while the others are always pretending. And the other guys in the film don't look much better on the outside, as far as I could tell. Anyway it's Michel Simon - that may have been enough reason
Don't have a particular interest to see a remake, but it could be interesting if somebody would try to make this film in today's France. I wonder if it would be as positive...
Do you by chance happen to remember the beginning of the film? I missed the first five minutes (or so), and would like to know if there was anything essential going on. I entered, just when Boudu lost his dog in the park (saw him still in a last frame).

Re: Boudu saved from drowning (1932 / France / Jean Renoir)

Postby wpqx » Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:26 pm

I can't remember much before that, in fact the earliest thing I remember happening is him jumping in the river. All that was shown I believe was just plot building character things, nothing really vital towards the story, but it's been at least 2 years since I've seen it.

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