The Thinking Machine 4

Wish I Had a River

Partie de campagne

Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López reflect on the art of filmmaking in monthly video essays.

Jean Renoir’s 40 minute masterpiece Partie de campagne (1936) is a poignantly uncompleted work (originally intended as a feature), and yet such a perfectly formed piece of crystal. After an ellipse that skips the part of the story never filmed – years in the lives of the characters Henri (Georges Darnoux), Henriette (Sylvia Bataille) and Anatole (Paul Temps) – we witness the brief re-encounter of the once-only lovers. This sad, passionate scene contains the entire movie – and also opens it out to a wider philosophical and cinematic mystery of connection and disconnection.

© Cristina Álvarez López & Adrian Martin, January 2017