If you love the paintings of Auguste Renoir or the films of his son Jean, there's a good chance you'll sit through this slow-moving prestige item about their common infatuation with Catherine Hessling, who began as Auguste's nude model and wound up as Jean's wife and lead actress. It's rather depressing, given Renoir pere's history of turning his models into lovers and/or maids and Hessling's private life of kinky sex and fin de siecle night spots. Jean has just returned from fighting in World War I, and the scenes about his battlefront trauma are by far the most interesting, especially in relation to his classic war film Grand Illusion (there's even a maimed officer with a monocle in one scene). Gilles Bourdos directed his own script, adapting a memoir by Jean's nephew Jacques Renoir; with Vincent Rottiers, Christa Theret, and Michel Bouquet (How I Killed My Father) as Auguste. In French with subtitles.
By J.R. Jones