Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Jean Renoir, the Boss: The Direction of Actors



Rarely screened, this is the 90-minute centerpiece to Jacques Rivette's three-part TV documentary Jean Renoir, the Boss (1966), made just before Rivette discovered improvisation in his fictional L'Amour Fou, Out 1, and Celine and Julie Go Boating. The full on-screen title is "Michel Simon as Seen by Jean Renoir or Jean Renoir as Seen by Michel Simon or The Direction of Actors," and the raw record of after-dinner talk between the great director and his greatest actor, both in their early 70s, is punctuated with relevant clips from Tire-au-Flanc (1928), On Purge Bebe (1931), La Chienne (1931), Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932), and Tosca (1941). Stills photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and producers Janine Bazin and Andre S. Labarthe are on hand to prod the two old friends, whose palpable joy in each other's company is complemented by Rivette's determination to take it all in. Clips of this are included in the Criterion DVD of Boudu, but the full version is as radical in its own way as Renoir and Simon's masterpiece. Reviewed this week in Section 1. DVD projection. Film scholar Gabe Klinger will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward. Wed 11/30, 7:15 PM, Alliance Francaise Auditorium, 54 W. Chicago, 312-337-1070.

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