Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir, son of the Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste, returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. At his side is Andrée, a young woman who rejuvenates, enchants, and inspires both father and son.
This is an extraordinarily beautiful film, shot on the scenic Côte d’Azur. War is raging elsewhere in France, but life is peaceful in this region. The pace of the film reflects the pace of life at the time; quiet and slow. The film has fantastic visuals (Bourdous employed the infamous art forger, Guy Ribes, to reproduce the Renoir paintings throughout the film), a haunting musical score and the marvellous Michel Bouquet, in a compelling character study of the brilliant but often petulant artistic genius, Renoir.
This is without question one of the most beautiful films of the season. The photography, especially the scenes outdoors, look like one early Renoir painting after the next. The colours are vivid and lush, and the greens are varied to the nth degree. This is a film worth seeing, based on historical fact, and suggesting what motivated the younger Renoir to become one of the early great film makers. The contrast of the beauty of the models and the natural landscape of the south of France against the ugliness of the war and Renoir’s disease is poignant. The movie is intentionally a lot like a painting.
It is a film in which to float away on a French impressionist wave.
Cast: Michel Bouquet, Vincent Rottiers, Christa Threret.
Awards; One nomination
Gilles Bourdous | French | 2012 | 111 mins | 12a
Weighted vote 78.8%