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The Rules of the Game(La Règle du jeu)

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France · 1939
1h 46m
Director Jean Renoir
Starring Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance

A group of aristocrats descend upon a friend's château for a weekend of hunting and fun. During the riotous trip, the aristocrats and their servants alike engage in skirt chasing and adultery, leading to drama, confrontations, and general chaos.

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Variety by

As an experiment it’s interesting, but Jean Renoir, who directs, wrote the scenario and dialog, and takes a leading role, has made a common error: he attempts to crowd too many ideas into 80 minutes of film fare, resulting in confusion.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

Like the very greatest artists in all media -- here I go with the meaningless superlatives again -- Renoir was able to transcend his own perspective, his own prejudices, and glimpse something of the terror and wonder of human life, the pain of misapplied or rejected love, for rich as for poor.


Slant Magazine by Chuck Bowen

Low comedy walks hand and hand with tragedy and beauty throughout; the film is frothy one minute, nearly apocalyptic the next, and so you’re never fully allowed to gather your bearings.


Washington Post by Desson Thomson

Rules would have been just another good movie if not for its masterly visual design. With it, however, the black-and-white film enters the realm of immortality.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

No other film has a final effect quite like "Rules." One walks away from it drained and exhilarated, after experiencing a whole world and seemingly every possible emotion in a few swift golden hours.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

This magical and elusive work, which always seems to place second behind "Citizen Kane" in polls of great films, is so simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Far from muting the satire, Renoir's hearty characterization complicates it and gives it life, which is rare among broadsides at the bourgeoisie.

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