Boudu Saved from Drowning (The Criterion Collection)
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We can see that the original farce (by René Fauchois) was probably pretty funny to begin with, but Renoir makes of it much, much more. Boudu Saved from Drowning--arguably the first French New Wave film, nearly 30 years before there was a New Wave--is one of those cardinal works in which we can see, and experience anew, a great filmmaker inventing the cinema. Without jettisoning the formal qualities of the theatrical farce, Renoir opens his film to light, fresh air, and the teeming multifariousness of Parisian street life; the denizens of the city become unwitting extras in the movie as Boudu first shambles, then prances, among them. The deep-focus camerawork is exhilarating, but even the gregarious roughness of the production feels right, indeed essential. "I believe that perfection is even dangerous," Renoir remarked of his own movie. "If a film is perfect, the public has nothing to add.... The audience should always be trying to finish a picture, ... fill in the holes which we didn't fill." Collaborating on Boudu is a glorious experience. --Richard T. Jameson
- Archival introduction by Jean Renoir
- Excerpt from a Cineastes de notre temps program, featuring Renoir and Michel Simon
- New video interview with filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin
- Archival interview with Eric Rohmer
- Interactive map of 1930's Paris, featuring locations from the film
- A new essay by Renoir scholar Christopher Faulkner
Top Customer Reviews
Boudu, on the other hand, is first seen in a park, caressing his dog, singing snatches of song, linked to the natural and populist. These two collide when Lestingois rescues a suicidal Boudu, and invites him into his home, where he is soon smashing plates, smearing shoe polish over the satin and spiiting in rare Balzac novels. The movement of the film seems to be towards the greater bourgeoisification of Boudu - new clothes, Samsonian hair cut, ennobling by money and marriage. But the film actually revolves around sex. The film starts with a Greek tableau of Pan chasing a nymph, cut to Lestingois and Anne-Marie. Boudu begins replacing his benefactor, not by accumulating bourgeois habits, but by displaying the sexual prowess the self-styled Priapus Lestingois lacks (the latter has no children).
70 years on, 'Boudu' remains a shockingly funny comedy, provocatively hostile to the soul-stultifying deceptions, compromises and resignations of the bourgoisie.Read more ›
Boudu is an anarchic force of nature, stuffing his sardine dinner into his mouth with his hands and spitting his wine onto the floor. For Lestingois, who at first is pleased with himself for his heroism and with taking in such a specimen of the lower class, life becomes complicated and frustrating. He enjoys his trysts with the maid, Anne-Marie, but he recognizes he's getting a bit old. "She's charming," he says, "but last night I fell asleep before I could join her. No doubt about it, I'm growing old. My pipes are weary, and soon some shepherd will lure her with his youthful flute." Boudu, however, soon wearies of sleeping in a bed and takes to sleeping in the hall, next to Anne-Marie's door. "I get bored all alone in my room," Anne Marie tells Lestingois. "I'm not exactly jumping for joy in my room, either," he says. "Are you sorry you saved him?" she asks. "At night, I am."
Madame Lestingois, however, once Boudu is convinced to get a haircut and wear a proper suit, may not be quite the piece of ice she appears to be.Read more ›
Boudu Saved from Drowning (French: "Boudu saved from the waters") is a 1932 French film directed by Jean Renoir. Renoir wrote the film's screenplay, from the play by René Fauchois. The film stars Michel Simon as Boudu. Noted American critic Pauline Kael called it, 'not only a lovely fable about a bourgeois attempt to reform an early hippy...but a photographic record of an earlier France.'
Jean Renoir (1894-1979), French international cinéaste, auteur and metteur en sc'ene, adored and praised during his lifetime and ever since by the most divergent groups, icon of the iconic Cahiers du Cinéma. Michel Simon, famous French actor of Swiss extraction, anarchic monstre sacré, in an equally anarchic film about the non-domesticabilty of a tramp, and generally the limitations of personal freedom.
Good black and white copy. All praise deserved. Excellent entertainment.
100us - Boudu sauvé des eaux by Jean Renoir (1932, 87')' - 30/6/2012
Boudu is pure id (imagine Walt Whitman on a three-day bender), but he has no real malice toward anyone. Lestingois, the good citizen who takes him in, is driven by a sincere but utterly self-serving sense of compassion. He thinks he can bring this wild animal into his house and groom and curry him until he personifies the bookseller's own generosity. And he believes he can do this without any noticeable disruption in his own carefully ordered universe. Result: Boudu dutifully applies black polish to his shoes, then wipes off the excess with the aid of a white bedspread. At every turn, china shop meets bull. It's lovely.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie by Jean Renoir is a variation on the theme of the 'noble savage', here in the shoes of a tramp played superbly by a young Michel Simon. Read morePublished on May 25, 2013 by Luc REYNAERT
I'm not a fan of comedic cinema (nothing against it as a genre or art form; I just don't have much of a funny bone). But Renoir's "Boudo Saved from Drowning" (or "... Read morePublished on September 3, 2008 by Kerry Walters
This is a marveouls slice of film history, giving a very accurate representation of life in 1932 Paris, and also an artistic vision, as well as subthemes of Freudianism, as it... Read morePublished on November 12, 2007 by J. Kara Russell
I'm not into a lot of analysis and social commentary like many of the reviewers of this film seem to be. Read morePublished on October 11, 2006 by History Teacher
After a suicide attempt, a beggar (Michel Simon) is saved from the waters by an antiquarian bestseller. Read morePublished on September 7, 2005 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
I've been waiting for the DVD releases of the early 1930s Renoir films. As is standard for Criterion, the print quality of this release is beautiful and the extras are nice,... Read morePublished on August 29, 2005 by C. Rubin