Learning The Rules

Posted by: on Mar 28, 2011 | No Comments

This weekend I saw Renoir’s masterpiece “The Rules of the Game” for the first time.  Filmed in 1939 and consciously set on the eve of World War II, the film has a depth and texture unlike any other.  I will jump gladly onto the bandwagon and say it is one of the best films I have ever seen.

Clearly the predecessor of Julian Fellowes’ posh dramas, La Règle is interesting in a totally different way.  While Fellowes’ films are reliably entertaining and beautifully filmed accounts of the various mores of early twentieth century British aristocrats, they lack the rawness of Renoir’s adventure.  The characters are all eccentric, but in utterly mundane ways.  They each have outbursts and peccadilloes that linger behind every word and deed.  The background is often more important than the foreground, and your eye is constantly adjusting itself to the incredible shots.  In short, the film has great depth.

So, even beyond seeing this because it is enjoyable, I think there is a lesson to be learned here about looking.  Look deeply, not just precisely.  Often the harmonies created by disparate elements, which may or may not seem immediately connected, hold the greatest interest.  Whether in a painting, a film, or even an outfit, the eye is capable of much more than you might think.  Enjoy.

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