The Rules of the Game

La règle du jeu

The crème-de-la-crème of the French posh circles is about to spend a hunting weekend at a patrician castle. Intrigues, machinations, self-centered behavior, petty rivalries, self-indulgent pleasures, childlike whims and endless misunderstandings make up a mosaic of moral decadence and flimsy arrogance. The drums of war and horror are already looming in 1939, but this self-absorbed island refuses to step out of the stupor and keeps getting consumed in the meaningless and the trivial. Jean Renoir, at the heyday of his career, forces his compatriots to take a long hard look in the mirror. Appalled at their own monstrous reflection, they choose to look away. A box-office bomb and a butchered victim of the critics, the film of Jean Renoir went on to be banned by the French government of the time, on the grounds of “subverting society’s ethics and corrupting the French youth.” Prescient, insightful, and riddled with technical novelties (shot two years prior to Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane), The Rules of the Game is a film hailed as outrageously modern even today. Maybe because it lays out, in such a universal and timeless way, the rules of the game called human condition.

Screening Schedule

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Direction: Jean Renoir
Script: Jean Renoir, Carl Koch
Cinematography: Jean-Paul Alphen, Jean Bachelet, Jacques Lemare, Alain Renoir
Editing: Maerthe Huguet, Marguerite Renoir
Sound: Joseph de Bretagne
Music: Joseph Kosma
Actors: Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mola Parély, Odette Talazac, Claire Gérard, Anne Mayen, Lise Elina
Production: Nouvelles Éditions de Films
Producers: Jean Renoir
Costumes: Coco Chanel (Maison Chanel)
Production Design: Max Douy, Eugène Lourié
Format: DCP
Color: B/W
Production Country: France
Production Year: 1939
Duration: 106'
Contact: Films sans Frontières

Jean Renoir

Jean Renoir (1894, Paris, France – 1979, Los Angeles, CA, USA), French film director and son of the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. His films, in both silent and later eras, were noted for their realism and strong narrative and include such classics as Grand Illusion (1937), The Rules of the Game (1939), and The River (1951).


1931 La Chienne
1934 Madame Bovary
1936 Life is Ours
1937 Grand Illusion
1938 La Marseillaise
1946 The Diary of a Chambermaid
1951 The River