The Lifelong Friendship of Jean Renoir and Michel Simon

The late 1920s and early 1930s were wonderfully productive years for Jean Renoir and Michel Simon, a simpatico director-actor duo who produced four films together: Tire au flanc (which gave Simon his first starring role), On purge bébé, La chienne, and Boudu Saved from Drowning. The third of these, 1931’s La chienne, is a standout among their collaborations—a bitter tale of amour fou that combines Renoir’s visual mastery and gift for storytelling with Simon’s commanding on-screen presence. Our edition of the film (now available on disc) features a ninety-five-minute episode of the French television program Cinéastes de notre temps, aired in 1967—and directed by the great Jacques Rivette!—in which the two discuss their relationships to cinema and each other.

Above is a clip from their conversation, demonstrating the charming rapport the two maintained through the later years of their lives. And for more on the relationship between Renoir and Simon, read Peter Cowie’s recent Flashback on the pair’s cinema collaborations.

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