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aka - Day in the Country, A
France 1936
Directed by
Jean Renoir
39 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Partie De Campagne, Une

Based on a short story by Guy de Maupassant, Renoir’s Une Partie De Campagne tells the story  of a family of petty bourgeois Parisians, in the summer of !860 who spend a day in the country where they meet two young men, Henri (Georges D'Arnoux) and Rodolphe (Jacques B. Brunius) who flirt with the wife (Jane Marken) and daughter, Henriette (Sylvia Bataille). A brief coda, set some years later, looks at what happened to the relationship between Henri and Henriette.

Originally shot in 1936 the film was shelved by Renoir due to production difficulties (largely the shoot called for hot summer days and all they got was rain).  Ten years in 1946 the existing footage was assembled and released by his producer, Pierre Braunberger. Although only 39 minutes long it is a delightfully affectionate evocation of a bygone time (Renoir’s grandfather Auguste, was one of the leading Impressionists and a friend of de Maupassant) as well as being a humorously mocking account of the meeting of Bourgeois Man and Mother Nature, although you'd have to say that by today's standards Henri's seduction of Henriette is a little to the farmyard end of the spectrum.  The film was shot by the director's cousin, Claude, and edited by his wife, Marguerite, whilst he and his daughter appear as the inn-keeper and his daughter. Its visual grace is complemented by a delightful score by Joseph Kosma, Renoir's regular composer..

DVD Extras: Audio Commentary by Anna Dzenis and Rick Thompson of :La Trobe University; Un Tournage A La Campagne, a feature length making-of documentary; Le Direction d’Acteur, a demonstration of Renoir’s working methods; an insert essay by Ian Johnston.

Available from: Madman




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