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Renoir, Jean (1894-1979)

Renoir, Jean (1894-1979)

A French filmmaker who created some 37 films in the realist tradition during a 40-year career, Jean Renoir is regarded as a mentor to the French New Wave directors of the late 1950s and a mainstay of art films beloved by American cinephiles. The son of Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, he made his first film, La Fille de l'Eau, in 1925 and his last, Le Petit Théâtre de Jean Renoir, in 1969. Renoir treated complex issues of class and sexuality in his films, in which he created a sense of cinematic space through in-depth staging, location shooting, and camera work noted for its long, complex takes. These processes inflect such seminal works as La Grande Illusion (1937), La Bête Humaine (1938), and La Règle du Jeu (1939). He moved to Hollywood after the outbreak of World War II, making several films in the United States before returning to France after the war. Renoir was given an Academy Award for life achievement in 1975.

—Neal Baker

Further Reading:

Bertin, Celia. Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Faulkner, Christopher. Jean Renoir: A Guide to References and Resources. Boston, G. K. Hall, 1979.

Renoir, Jean. My Life and My Films. New York, Atheneum, 1974.

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