This weekend, Jean Renoir’s La chienne will screen at the Trylon microcinema, in Minneapolis, as part of a monthlong series dedicated to the French master’s groundbreaking work in the 1930s. A thematic precursor to The Rules of the Game, which was made eight years later, this scathing look at sex, class, and moral hypocrisy marked Renoir’s second foray into sound filmmaking and became his first major critical success. The film’s bitter depiction of amour fou centers on married cashier and amateur painter Maurice Legrand (Renoir’s longtime collaborator and friend Michel Simon), who ensnares himself in a love triangle with a prostitute and her violent pimp boyfriend. Showcasing Renoir’s innovative sound techniques and keen attention to human emotion, La chienne elevates an “archetypal story of adultery” into a “modern masterpiece,” an achievement that Ginette Vincendeau examines in her liner notes for our release.
Those in Minneapolis can see the film on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening and can return to the Trylon later in the month for screenings of Boudu Saved from Drowning and The Rules of the Game. Fans of the film should check out Peter Cowie’s remembrance of Renoir and Simon, and the below excerpt from an interview on the French television program Cinéastes de notre temps, in which Renoir describes to Simon the “exhilaration” he felt while collaborating with him.