The Rules of the Game (1939)
The Rules of the Game is a 1939 French film directed by Jean Renoir and starring Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély, Marcel Dalio, Julien Carette, Roland Toutain, Gaston Modot, Pierre Magnier and Renoir. The film is a comedy of manners that depicts members of upper-class French society and their servants just before the beginning of World War II, showing their moral callousness on the eve of impending destruction. Renoir used sophisticated cinematic techniques such as deep-focus cinematography and a constantly moving camera. The film's original budget of 2.5 million francs was increased to 5 million; it became the most expensive film made in France up to that time and additional funds had to be sought. Renoir's career in France was at its pinnacle in 1939 and The Rules of the Game was eagerly anticipated. However, its premiere was met with anger and disapproval by film critics and the public. Renoir reduced the film's running time from 113 minutes to 85, but even then the film was a critical and financial disaster. In October 1939, it was banned by the wartime French government for "having an undesirable influence over the young".