Stage and Spectacle: Three Films by Jean Renoir With the release of "The Rules of the Game," "The Lower Depths," and now Stage and Spectacle: Three Films by Jean Renoir this is turning…
DVD Review

Stage and Spectacle: Three Films By Jean Renoir (2004)

Details Release Date: Aug 03, 2004; DVD Release Date: Aug 03, 2004

With the release of ''The Rules of the Game,'' ''The Lower Depths,'' and now Stage and Spectacle: Three Films by Jean Renoir this is turning out to be something of a banner year for the influential French director. Though not as famous as ''Rules'' or ''Grand Illusion,'' ''The Golden Coach'' is an unqualified delight with a larger-than-life Anna Magnani as an 18th-century commedia dell'arte actress juggling a trio of suitors. Beneath the comedy's puff-pastry layers of artifice lurk deeper truths about men and women, and life and art. ''French Cancan,'' another homage to the theater, stars Renoir alum Jean Gabin as a nightclub impresario who nurtures and woos his attractive talent with a modern frankness. It's also a visual stunner with a dazzling climactic dance sequence (the cancan, natch). And in ''Elena and Her Men,'' a buoyant Ingrid Bergman plays a liberated Polish princess who juggles even more suitors than Magnani. Refreshingly, Renoir clearly applauds her breezy empowerment, which is not surprising -- in a 1961 interview, the portly dynamo sparkles with bighearted bounce. ''Coach'': A; ''Cancan'': B+; ''Elena'': B+

Originally posted Aug 06, 2004 Published in issue #777 Aug 06, 2004 Order article reprints
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