Saturday, December 03, 2005

The River

Back last February I had some dental surgery that was going to leave me incapacitated for a time and I sent an email off to my most artistically oriented ex to ask his advice about movies I might want to watch on DVD.

His reply back included many suggestions for classics I had not seen. The two I found right away on Netflix were The Leopard and Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game. Boy, were there a lot of dead rabbits in the latter!

Andrew and I had many interesting conversations about both movies. He knew the historical events surrounding both stories.

When looking around for more movies like those I found Renoir's later movie from 1951 The River has just been restored and re-released. I watched it last night.

No small challenge, this was the first movie Renoir made in Technicolor. He was inspired by a book review of the novel by Rumer Godden by the same title in The New Yorker magazine to read the book and then to obtain the rights.

This Criterion edition has not only an interview with Renoir but also one with Martin Scorsece and a long rambling audio interview with the producer who was a florist but thought he could make a better movie than Metro Goldwyn Meyer.

I must have seen this movie when I was a kid, or perhaps in a recent lifetime. I experienced an easy familiarity with it. Even if you have seen it before this restoration is fantastic if for nothing else then the magnificent dream dance sequence by Radha Shri Ram.



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