Jean Renoirs Partie de Campagne

Topics: Jean Renoir, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Guy de Maupassant Pages: 6 (1969 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Fig.1 Jean Renoir
Fig.1 Jean Renoir
The film Partie De Campagne (A Day in the Country, 1946) was originally to be a 50-minute feature film, set on a bright summers day along the banks for the river Seine. However due to unforeseen complications with the weather Jean Renoir became increasingly frustrated and eventually opted to discard the project in favour of shooting the film Les bas fonds (The Lower Depths, 1936) with Jean Gabin. Renoir never returned to the unfinished film, the films producer Pierre Braunberger completed the film ten years after it was shot with two additional title screens to make up for the missing scenes of the original screenplay. The film is a scenic story of romance on a summer’s day; this romance however is impossible due to a previous engagement.

It could be said that the location and positioning for the shots in Partie De Campagne could have been chosen as a way off Renoir reflecting his father’s impressionist countryside paintings, The director captured perfectly the atmosphere of his father’s paintings. But within the beautiful landscapes, which despite the appalling weather during shooting convey admirably the feel of a summer picnic, the action is far from idyllic. (Armes, 1985: 105) By the power of photography, the natural image of a world that we neither know nor can know, nature at last does more than imitate art: she imitates the artist. (Bazin, 1965: 14)

Fig. 2 Boating on the Seine by Pierre Auguste Renoir
Fig. 2 Boating on the Seine by Pierre Auguste Renoir

The similar points of view in his shots to his fathers work indicate a clear direct inspiration and homage to his father’s works. By using such vivid imagery a picturesque day out is created.

The screenplay is based off of a Guy De Maupassant short story by the same name. While both stories have the same basic narrative Jean Renoir brings the story to life in his film adaption of this simple story. A result of both of these stories sharing a narrative means that it is easy to compare the transmedial effects of adapting this story from the written word to film. That said Renoir’s retelling of the story has a little more ambiguity to its conclusion, whether this was intentional from the onset or that this is a result of the missing scenes it is unknown.

The film opens to a calm and harmonic orchestral score to a scenic view of the river of which the film is set. The tranquil mood is quickly broken when the score dramatically changes to an overpowering yet sympathetic roar sets the mood quite well for the story to follow. The film has a stringed score behind it that doesn’t disrupt the peaceful country feel of the film; it is mute on occasion to allow the harmonic sounds of nature to set an ambience for the views.

Both narrative achieve a level of humor amidst the romance, this is very subtle in with only two notable slapstick moments in the Renoirs adaption of story, one being when Monsieur Dufour catches a boot on the river seine and the other being when Anatole sends Madame Dufour into hysterics when he cannot stop hiccupping. These moments work as a break from the romantic elements of the story quite nicely setting a tranquil aura for the film.

Guy De Maupassant has to rely his phrasing of even the most mundane events to inject humor into the story. His descriptions through out a witty in engage with the reader, leaving vivid images in their minds of the story as it unfolds. For example as they are getting out of the milk cart upon arrival he writes: They drove into a large field behind the inn, separated from the river by the towing path, and dismounted. The husband sprang out first and then held out his arms for his wife, and as the step was very high Madame Dufour, in order to reach him, had to show the lower part of her limbs, whose former slenderness had disappeared in fat, and Monsieur Dufour, who was already getting excited by the country air, pinched her calf, and then, taking her in his arms, he set...
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