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My Life And My Films (Da Capo Paperback) Paperback – July 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Da Capo Paperback
  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306804573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306804571
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an autobiography which is literally crammed full of golden nuggets of observation on life, art, acting, and the cinema....A delight from beginning to end." -- Film Review

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jean Renoir is one of the greatest masters of the art of cinema. This autobiographical work traces his life from his childhood in France to his later years in Beverly Hills, not in the conventional sense, but rather through the world of film. This is fitting since the world of film was truly Jean Renoir's world.
Jean Renoir, middle son of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, made his first public debut quite early, albeit quite reluctantly, as the little boy with the long, golden curls who figures so prominently in many of his famous father's paintings.
Jean Renoir's early life, in later 19th century France, was dominated by two people--his father and Gabrielle Renard, his maternal cousin, who was to become his nanny and later, his dearest friend. While it was Auguste Renoir who introduced Jean to the world of art, it was Gabrielle who led him to the cinema. Jean, himself, says, "To her I owe Guignol and the Theatre Montmarte. She taught me to realize that the very unreality of those entertainments was a reason for examining real life. She taught me to see the face behind the masks and the fraud behind the flourishes."
Jean Renoir begins and ends this book with Gabrielle Renard, and, along the way, he examines and reveals the profound influence this marvelous woman exerted over him. In characteristic fashion Jean writes more about others than about himself. He lets us peer into the lives of the actors, technicians and producers with whom he worked, in places as diverse as Paris, Hollywood and even India. And, also characteristic of Jean, the unknown often play a role as large or larger than do the very famous.
While most of Jean Renoir's personal life remains unrevealed (this is definitely not a vapid, "tell all" tale!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
Jean Renoir, the son of the Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir, is regarded as one of the all-time great film directors. Two of his films, "La Grande Illusion" and "La Regle du Jeu", regularly feature on critics' lists of the greatest films ever created. Even now, over 60 years after some of his films were made, they still seem fresher and more modern (as well as more entertaining) than most of the films produced today.
This warm and witty book presents Renoir's own view of his life and career. It is not only filled with engaging insights into Renoir's own films and his views on cinema in general, but also amply stocked with vivid anecdotes, from visiting Berlin at the time of Hitler's rise to power to watching Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich quarrel in Hollywood.
For those who already know and love Renoir's films, this will be essential reading; for those who have not yet discovered them, this book should make them realize what they have been missing out on.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Ramani on November 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Jean Renoir is among the two or three greatest directors of all time. A man who made 20 masterpieces, changed the face of cinema with his dynamic compositions, narrative flexibility and ability to direct actors.

Indeed his genius with actors, some among the very best(Laughton, Gabin, Fresnay, Marcel Dalio, Dita Parlo, Ingrid Bergman, Anna Magnani) and others who are non-professionals or newcomers(the cast of Toni, The River) isn't derived out of tyrannical dictatorship but out of an abililty to help his actors to find the characters within them as well as doing it in a way that made it seem it was their idea rather than his.

In his autobiography, Renoir doesn't describe each and every one of his films in detail. Even the films which he talks about he doesn't go far into the details of how the film was shot, the actual experience of production, the numerous hassles and practical difficulties that he had undoubtedly faced in his legendary classics like ''Grande Illusion'', ''Regle du Jeu'', ''The River'', ''La Chienne'' and such and such. In that sense the book is a dissapointment yet to those who want a look at the man himself and his way of thinking which is helpful in giving further insight into his films, the book is priceless.

Renoir the man stands in contrast to his image as a ''great intellectual's film-maker'', indeed Renoir himself expresses astonishment at being regarded by his enemies as a transgressive revolutionary and by his friends as a radical innovator. As someone who made it his life's mission to reveal human beings as beyond categories and labels, it comes at no surprise that he is both none of his labels and all of it at the same time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chet H. Spiro on May 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This isn't a book that can be read alone. Jean Renoir's book on his father Pierre-Auguste Renoir,(Renoir My Father), also needs to be included for it to be a true autobiography. The book is incomplete other wise. Even those coming from the excellent movie Renoir will need to read both books. The reader will also need to watch a couple of Jean Renoir's movies around the same time. There is a collection on Amazon that includes some of his silent films like Nana and I would suggest adding his Grand Illusions. A lot of work for one book to be sure, but well worth the effort. Think of it as a real life Trilogy. One well worth 5 stars if done right.
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