3. The Rules of The Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)
This is one of those films that I don’t really understand it’s greatness. If you asked me why it’s number 3 all-time, I couldn’t tell you. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just that I didn’t really get it. Basically a bunch of rich people fuck around and some servants and working class folk get involved and then a guy gets shot. It has some screwball elements but never goes fully in that direction and there is an underlying kind of ugliness amongst every character so it was unsettling in some ways. I guess as a viewer I didn’t know how to respond. Was I supposed to laugh, cry, sympathize, or be disgusted? Stupid Euros and their assuming the audience can think.
This is yet another film I think I would need to re-watch to really appreciate. I have now seen 4 of Renoir’s films and looking back I can see how this film fits nicely in with his stylistic and thematic tendencies, namely the relations between the classes and the leisurely pace of everything. It’s one of those films I think where there is a lot more going on than appears at first glance, and given its healthy reputation I expect that I will watch it again and again until I figure it out.
On filmaffinity.com I rated it a 7/10 primarily because it was enjoyable, but didn’t engage me like I hoped it would.