The Lower Depths Film Still

The Lower Depths

Jean Renoir

 
  • France
  • 1936
  • 89 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  •  

Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa, two of cinema’s greatest directors, transform Maxim Gorky’s classic proletariat play The Lower Depths in their own ways for their own times. Renoir, working amidst the rise of Hitler and the Popular Front in France, had need to take license with the dark nature of Gorky’s source material, softening its bleak outlook. Kurosawa, firmly situated in the postwar world, found little reason for hope. He remained faithful to the original with its focus on the conflict between illusion and reality—a theme he would return to over and over again. Working with their most celebrated actors (Gabin with Renoir; Mifune with Kurosawa), each film offers a unique look at cinematic adaptation—where social conditions and filmmaking styles converge to create unique masterpieces.

Cast

Pépel (the thief)Jean Gabin
Vassilissa Kostylyov (the landlady)Suzy Prim
Natasha (her sister)Junie Astor
Kostylyov (her husband)Vladimir Sokoloff
The baron (the gambler)Louis Jouvet
The actorRobert Le Vigan
Nastia (the prostitute)Jany Holt
SatinePaul Temps
JabotRobert Ozanne
Kletsch (Anna’s husband)Henri Saint-Isle
AnnaNathalie Alexeff
The inspectorAndré Gabriello
Felix (the servant)Léon Lavine
Alouchka (the musician)Maurice Baquet
The countCamille Bert
Luka (the pilgrim)René Génin

Film Essays

Jean Renoir’s The Lower Depths

By Alexander Sesonske December 30, 2003

In 1936 the rise of Hitler in Germany and the Popular Front in France created within the French Left a new sense of solidarity with the Soviet Union. In that context the Russian immigrant . . . Read more »

Film Essays

Jean Renoir’s The Lower Depths

By Alexander Sesonske December 30, 2003

In 1936 the rise of Hitler in Germany and the Popular Front in France created within the French Left a new sense of solidarity with the Soviet Union. In that context the Russian immigrant . . . Read more »

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