The Rules of the Game

Director:   Jean Renoir
Year:   1939
Language:   French
Time:   110 minutes

A dashing French aviator has just completed a record-setting flight, but his greeting by an admiring crowd is soured. All he can say is how miserable he is that the woman he loves did not come to meet him. Thus begins a comedy of tangled lives and manners that exposes posturing, deceit, secrets and lies in the frame of a large hunting party at an elegant country house. In true upstairs/downstairs fashion even some of the servants are involved in tangled relationships.

After an initial poor reception, the film was severely re-edited, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II. Only in 1959 was the film fully reconstructed and embraced by audiences and critics who now see the film as a timeless representation of a vanishing way of life. This showing will be presented in the newly restored Criterion DVD edition.

Not rated.

Post-film discussion led by Lex Miller.


Notes on the new Criterion DVD.

About the director.

Other background on the film.