Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rules of the Game at the Castro

On Monday night, I did one of my favorite things to do in the City on a weekday. After work I went to the Castro, ate a quick slice of pepperoni pizza at Escape from New York, then saw an old classic at the Castro Theater. This evening was Renoir's Rules of the Game, which I had never seen before. In fact, I didn't know anything about it, other than that it is supposed to be a genuine classic.

It's about a bunch of horrible French aristocrats in 1939 attending a hunting party. The sequence that surprised & impressed me the most was the actual shooting party, which lays out the hunt in clinical detail. We see how the hunters are stationed, how the game is flushed out of the woods, even the death throes of the unlucky animals. It is also the backdrop for a key recognition scene & a set-up for the fatal climax of the story.

I enjoyed the movie very much. The story unfolds so logically & inevitably that you feel like the director didn't do anything but just tell the story in the most straightforward way. But of course it takes a lot of art to make something this seamless. I felt that even though it was old & potentially very dated, it still evoked exactly the audience reactions that the director intended. I suppose that's what being a classic is all about!

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