Title: Shooting of Jean Renoir's film "A Country Party".
Author : LOTAR Eli (1905 - 1969)
Creation date : 1936
Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0
Technique and other indications: Negative gelatin silver bromide glass
Storage location: National Museum of Modern Art - Center Pompidou website
Contact copyright: © Anne-Marie and Jean-Pierre Marchand © Photo CNAC / MNAM Dist. RMN-Grand Palais - © All rights reserved
Picture reference: 05-522623 / AM1995-109 (1)
Shooting of Jean Renoir's film "A Country Party".
© Anne-Marie and Jean-Pierre Marchand Photo CNAC / MNAM Dist. RMN-Grand Palais - All rights reserved
Publication date: February 2008
An unfinished film
In the middle of the Popular Front, Jean Renoir, then very close to the French Communist Party, undertakes a short film (50 min) taken from Guy de Maupassant's short story Part of the countryside. As the filmmaker says, it is "the story of a disappointed love followed by a failed life." The production was interrupted several times, first because of bad weather, then because Renoir left to shoot The Bottoms. The final assembly will be undertaken by Marguerite Houle-Renoir in 1946.
Happiness is in the meadow
The document is a shooting photograph taken by Eli Lotar in 1936. It represents the four main actors of Jean Renoir's film Part of the countryside. We see from left to right: Georges Darnoux (Henri), Brunius (real name Jacques Henri Cottance; Rodolphe), Sylvia Bataille (Henriette) and Jane Marken (Mme Dufour). This image taken during a moment of relaxation of the actors, testifies remarkably well to the warm spirit which reigned during the shooting, of this camaraderie to which Jean Renoir was so attached (to constitute the team of the film, he had indeed surrounded by relatives, friends, faithful).
The renoirian spirit
The photographer Eli Lotar, friend of the Prévert brothers, follower of popular views, worked a lot for the cinema. This print is part of a report on the film by Jean Renoir made between July 15 and August 25, 1936. For the occasion, the latter revives his childhood memories, with his film debut too (The Water Girl in 1926), but above all he took hold of the universe of his father the painter Auguste Renoir (the end of the 19th century, with lunches on the grass, open-air cafés, swings, walks by the water or by canoe) and its impressionist style (plastic treatment of light and framing). Finally, while remotely echoing his father's pictorial work, this 1936 film (and indirectly this photograph) is in tune with the times: that of the Popular Front. Indeed, although shot just before the paid vacation was obtained, the general atmosphere of this Country party, of this "kind of tenderness for the grass, for the water, for the trees" which invades Henriette, while she rarely benefits "because of the work", as she says, is not without evoking the leisure activities for Parisian workers in the 1930s, on Sundays, on the banks of the Seine or the Marne.
- Popular Front
André BAZINJean RenoirParis, Free Field, 1971.Celia BERTINJean RenoirParis, Perrin, 1986. Jean RENOIRMy life and my filmsParis, Flammarion, 1974. Roger VIRY-BABELJean Renoir: the game and the ruleParis Denoël, 1986.
To cite this article
Laurent VÉRAY, "The Impressionism of Jean Renoir"