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Renoir
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on October 13, 2016
Just as the trailer says, this is the story of the events in the summer of 1915, when Jean Renoir returns to the estate of his father, the world famous painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and meets Andrée, his father's favorite model. Jean, is there to recover from wounds sustained in the still raging WWI. The movie is fictional in that the dialogue and the daily events of that brief time had to be created to try to give understanding to how Andrée went from being the muse of the famous painter during the war, to the muse of his son, who became a world famous movie director after the war.

The basic movie (story, screenplay, acting) is average. But, the reason that I give it 4 stars overall is the cinematography of Mark Piz Bing Lee. Visually, this is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever watched. Every scene is meticulously set up, and bursting with the pastel colors used by the elder Renoir at the time. It was as if Mr Lee had channeled Jean Renoir to show how Pierre-Auguste Renoir viewed his world. In fact, I loved the cinematography so much that on my second watching of the movie, I muted the sound and just watched this beautiful movie in silence.

It is amazing that during a few weeks in the summer of 1915 a young women could emerge as the muse of a father and of his son, in 2 different art forms. But, that is what this movie is about... that transition. Be sure to read the dialogue at the end of the movie to know exactly what she did, and what became of her, and of the 2 artists that she so inspired.

In French with English subtitles.
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on October 2, 2016
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, in his last days, is still at work, as the film presents him in this period piece. His hands are now ravaged by arthritis. This is not a personality guy-- not colorful, wise, endearing or simpatico. Some of his behavior may have to do with his age and chronic pain, but the man we meet here is egocentric (not a rarity in some celebrated artists) and rather flat. The French countryside he inhabits is exquisitely beautiful. It shimmers and glitters in the sunlight, much like the Impressionist paintings for which he is beginning to be celebrated in his later years. He is, and this is the quirkiest and likely most offensive piece, surrounded mostly by his former models, whom he has bedded down and had children with. Some nurse and raise his children, others prepare his food and nurse him. If this is so, it is an important aspect of his history. Andree, a beautiful redhead, appears on the scene to become one of his last models. His handsome wounded son Jean returns from WWI to pair off with Andree. I'm definitely oversimplifying , but it's not a complex movie. It's good enough, though sort of a long moment in time. The cinematography is brilliant, creating wonderful atmosphere. Tarkovsky, the great Russian director, believed of good filmmaking, that one could cut any piece of film and have a still fit for framing. For succeeding in that, I praise and recommend this film.
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on August 6, 2015
A beautiful and inspiring film. I love the Impressionist paintings and always feel in awe of the creativity it took Renoir and Monet and the others to step out from the traditional styles. This movie really beautifully shows so many insights into Renoir, how his incredible passion kept him going even as his body was failing and was in pain. At one point in the movie his son Jean suggests maybe it is time to quit painting because he is so feeble and in pain. And the elder Renoir replies something like, "Pain will eventually pass, but beauty always continues on."

First off, after watching the movie, I got online to find out more about it. Much of the movie was written relying on the biography written by Renoir's son, Jean Renoir. So it was written much of it was based on intimate knowledge of the great painter. But the story itself is as much about the son Jean Renoir and his own struggles growing up with a father who is obsessed with is art, and also it is a story about the beautiful young lady Andree who is final model for Renoir, who inspires him in his last paintings. She is a magnificent young woman, who is struggling on in her own right and wants to be an artist one day. So you see this journey of the elder great painter, still inspired and driven to create. You see his son who is a wonderful young man, awed by his father, yet struggling to find his own path. And you see Andree who is passionate in her own right and trying to find her own voice. And you see the sweetest of Jean and Andree discovering inspiration in each other. They are all flawed and there are parts of all three characters which you don't like and yet you also love in many ways. And the most inspiring thing to realize is that in real life, Jean and Andree went on to get married and make movies together. Jean became a brilliant creator of movies, an artist in his own write, but uniquely different from his great father. Andree became an actress starring in his movies. Later in life their stories change, but the point is this movie, "Renoir" is a beautiful, haunting tale, and cinematically it so beautifully shot that it is almost like stepping into a Renoir painting.
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on September 2, 2014
Beautifully photographed, the images manage to catch the essence of Renoir's use of color and light. In a way cinematographer Mark Ping Bing Lee is the real star of this film, creating an atmosphere that tells us more about the characters, and the Renoir's art than all the dialogue combined. (blu-ray is definitely recommended).

I also loved the performance by Michel Bouquet - in his 80s as the film was shot -as the slowly dying Renoir, battling to continue his painting until the last. With simplicity and economy. his eyes and gestures let us feel some understanding of the man and his art.

Additionally I appreciated the choice to just focus on a brief period near the end of Renoir's life, and his (platonic) relationship with his last muse, rather than the usual sprawling bio-pic approach.

On the other hand, I wasn't enamored by the script (or at least the English translation on the subtitles) which kept reducing much of what is said by Renoir and those around him to easy and generic statements about art, pain, joy, creativity. If the images capture the richness of the man's work, the dialogue is often the Hallmark card opposite.

Also, perhaps the most interesting part of the story, the return of Renoir's son Jean - who would go on to be one of the great film-makers of all time, from WW I, and his slow falling into romance with his father's muse Andree is jammed into the end of the film, and stays very much on the surface. You know something is amiss when the most emotion you feel in a film is at the cards just before the end credits summing up all the events you didn't see.

It's too bad, because if the human stories (and ironically both generations of Renoir did work that was nothing if not about humanity) had matched the beauty of the images this seems like it could have been a great film -- instead of a beautiful but somewhat hollow and emotionally remote one. Still worth seeing, just frustrating.
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on October 13, 2014
It is difficult for me to describe this film without being able to show it to you as I go along. It is a feast for the eyes from the moment it starts up to the final frame. I have sat practically frozen, in awe.Although a real movie with real people in it it looks and feels like a continuous painting, a work of art in constant motion. The actor's clothes are chosen to melt into the backgrounds, the folds in the skirts and blouses are as if painted on canvas with the stunning colors and shadows. The hats and the flowing hair so perfectly chosen as if deliberately like an artist would. Yet, at the same time everything feels so natural, so un-rehearsed. Nature jumps out from the screen and becomes part of your living room.....the streams, the trees and flowers....the accompanying music.
Amid all this there is a very interesting and educational story with Renoir most certainly the center of attention. Typically French, the body, whether naked or dressed is sensuous and beautiful....never offensive and in this movie also a feast for the eyes. For lack of any other word I'd like to end this commentary with the word "LUXURY" as in luscious!!!.
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on February 10, 2017
The location is to die for in this film and is almost a main 'character' in the film. The house and surrounding property give so much to the viewer. The acting is excellent, costumes fantastic, the cinematography very beautiful, and I enjoyed luxuriating in it for the second time. The story could have been tightened up a bit in editing, but I didn't really mind. The character of the model was insufficiently developed, but that is just a quibble. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on February 1, 2014
How some reviewers gave this less than 4 stars is beyond me. These reviewers must have Avatar or its ilk has their top pick. Several things mark this film as a fine work. It is sensuality throughout. The sound of wind is frequent, making the silence more profound. The soundtrack is sensitive and thoughtful, bringing internal mental states of the characters into one's own head. Contemporary Americans forget the power of thoughtful music in a film that is about people, not car chases down turnpikes.

I'm not terribly fond of Renoir's painting, but this treatment of him and his work is art in an of itself. One should watch this with no sense of needing to just get through it, but rather should savor it like a fine wine or an elegant meal. The portrayal of Renoir's emotional life is masterful even though it is understated.

View this film as if it were an extended painting in a museum and you are the only visitor to that gallery.
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on October 31, 2016
Disappointed in development of characters. Too much time was focused on the Boss, the elder Renoir, who seemed rigid and one dimensional, and not enough attention to his relationship with the other people in his life. At the end of the film I wondered if the Boss had any capacity for love of anything but painting. The love affair between his son and his model, Andree, left me with many questions. Both sons' characters merited more in-depth development. Many of the scenes were beautiful, however, and this was the film's redemption, in my opinion.
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on January 27, 2014
I missed the theater run of "Renoir," and waited, anxiously for the DVD release. The movie does a lot of things very well, telling the story in visuals instead of words, creating a beautiful yet believable setting, injecting interest and color with well-cast secondary characters, Jean Renoir's younger brother, Coco, is riveting. The problems come late in the movie when the slow-paced storyline, something I normally enjoy, runs out of momentum.

My main complaint is that while it is a very good film, it could have been a great film with a more disciplined director. Yes, I recommend seeing it. Using a convicted forger of Renoir's paintings to paint them as the viewer watches is pure magic. Visually, the film is intoxicating.

The story is how Andree Heuschling, Auguste Renoir's last model, and future filmmaker Jean Renoir's first leading lady, brings father and son together by inspiring them both in unique and different ways.

Though not shown in the film, the intimate and professional liaison between Andree and Jean falls apart in later years. He goes on to become one of the greatest film-makers ever and she dies in poverty. To the film's credit, hints are provided for both outcomes.
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on March 29, 2018
Visually, this film is incredibly beautiful - appropriately, much like a painting in its landscapes and light, and the starring actress is stunning and almost like a living painting herself. The story itself was good, but I didn't think it was superb. At times it got painfully slow with the silent montages and sad music. But overall beautiful and worthwhile to watch.
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