Madame Bovary | Chicago Reader

Madame Bovary

Flaubert's tale, rendered in a seldom-seen 1934 film by Jean Renoir. Eric Rohmer noted that the theatricality of the style is required by the self-conscious theatricality of the characters, particularly that of Bovary herself, the greatest self-dramatizer of literature. But Rohmer's ingeniousness doesn't quite explain away the general stiffness—deliberate, presumably, because it is so uncharacteristic of Renoir. In its original version, the film ran 210 minutes; the problems of pacing, perhaps, were not solved when it was reduced to 117. Not the best Renoir, but Renoir nonetheless—and so, very well worth seeing.


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