La Chienne

1931

Crime / Drama

197
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 3,632

Synopsis


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September 11, 2020

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
871.29 MB
1280*720
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.59 GB
1920×1080
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Hitchcockyan 8 / 10 / 10

Film (Re)Noir

Jean Renoir's LA CHIENNE is an exhilaratingly nasty tale of a henpecked hosiery cashier's adulterous relationship with a manipulative prostitute, and the moral damnation that ensues. Noir aficionados will instantly make the SCARLET STREET connection but the unmistakable differences in execution and style render both of these masterworks sufficiently distinguishable. Firstly, LA CHIENNE is more sexually charged of the two - evidenced by the explicit exhibition of its various on screen dalliances. SCARLET STREET on the other hand was shackled by the Hays Code where the furthest Edward G. Robinson's character gets is painting his mistress' toe nails. Restrictions of the production code notwithstanding SCARLET STREET is still the bleaker of the two and remains one of the hallmarks of classic film-noir, while LA CHIENNE benefits from its consistent tragicomedy tone. Michel Simon is outstanding as the frustrated, love-struck painter who's almost destined to lose: he's domineered by his miserable wife when he's not being cuckolded and scammed by his deceitful mistress (and her scheming pimp boyfriend) and remains oblivious of the fact that he's merely a part-time lover but a full-time benefactor. EGR's rendition however was on a completely different level and had more psychological heft to it. LA CHIENNE's visual aesthetic is loaded with quadrangular, window-framed, canvas-like compositions that not only resonate with the film's theatrical opening but also with the art produced by our protagonist. I also feel that it's too beautifully realised (or at least the restoration made it so) to be categorised as "noir" in the traditional sense and is devoid of conventional noir flourishes, rugged edges or pulpy vibes. Having said that it was undoubtedly instrumental in the proliferation of films that would come to be known as noir. As an interesting aside, SCARLET STREET was not the only Lang venture that shared a literary source with a Renoir film; HUMAN DESIRE and the classic LA BÊTE HUMAINE also originate from the same Émile Zola novel.

Reviewed by alice liddell 9 / 10 / 10

What a great world that can find space for both this and SCARLET STREET. (possible spoiler)

Based on the same novel, this film and Fritz Lang's magnificent SCARLET STREET are almost identical in terms of plot. A painfully shy and friendless office cashier, Maurice Legrand (brutally ironic name), lives with his shrewish wife, and paints cathartically in his spare time. After an office party one night, he comes across a young brute hitting a woman. They are actually lovers, pimp Dede and employee Lulu, but contrive a scheme to have Legrand pay for a well-appointed apartment while Lulu pretends to be his lover. To pay for this he robs his employer, and when this runs out, the lovers fob off his paintings as Lulu's. They are a success and earn her fame and fortune. Legrand is paralysed by life with his intolerable wife, whose sublime military dead husband is repeatedly extolled to Legrand's detriment. One day, however, he comes across this very much alive paragon of virtue, a blackmailing tramp who feigned his death to escape the same wife. Legrand sees an opportunity to at last divest himself of her, and, on the pretext of stealing her money, reunite the happy couple. Delighted, he packs up, and heads for his young mistress, who, unsurprisingly, lies in bed with her lover. As the subject matter are almost (thought, crucially, not totally) identical, the difference between the two films must be sought in approach, style, emphasis and omission. Lang's 1945 film owes much to the contemporary film noir cycle, as well as the subversive male melodrama. SCARLET STREET is much more about the price of humanity and expression under capitalism, the alienation of both the worker and the artist from his work, as well as the suffocating nature of American respectability. STREET has been accused of being a compromised essay in guilt, but it is not remorse that torments Chris Cross for the rest of his life, so much as his failure to escape his initial hell on earth; his blind adhesion to a false escape that taunts him even after it has been removed. Lang's style is perfectly suited to this interpretation, harsh, austere, geometric, entrapping his characters in formal grids, both interior and exterior, fixing them with pitiless irony when they seem most free. This is alien to Renoir's reputation for a warm, humanistic temperament, and his film is much brighter and more playful, although, in the early 1930s, we have many of noir's central tenets - the weak man brought down by a femme fatale; the inevitability of Fate expressed through plot; the use of interiors, framing and shadows to visualise the mindset of the trapped protagonist. But Renoir's attitude to all this is not altogether serious. There is a structural affirmation of play that seems to reject the film's literal aspirations. For instance, CHIENNE opens with three Punch and Judy-type puppets fighting over what kind of film this is. While their struggle enacts the events of the film, it also ridicules it; and their final conclusion is that the film has no moral and isn't about anything. In a very real sense, it isn't; it's about the destruction of values and morals. Lulu and Dede betray certain moral codes in manipulating Legrand; the courts emasculate themselves by executing an innocent (of murder anyway) man; Legrand escapes his shrewish wife, his oppressive job and lives the blissful, almost communal life of a tramp (which, as has been pointed out, looks ahead to Renoir's next masterpiece, BOUDU SAUVE DES EAUX), reward for theft and murder. Renoir achieves this amorality with a tacitness that is startling in retrospect. Although he is constantly ironising throughout the film - often the performers begin performing (see Legrand revealing her 'dead' husband to his wife); the studied use of frames, mirrors, paintings, windows etc. continually draw attention to the constructed nature of the film - his critique of the bourgeois is more generous than Lang's, its oppression less a living thing than lived in. Legrand's predicament is expressed in his being made crouch at home and work by vast bourgeois accoutrements, constantly bumping into, and being dwarfed by, things. By tiny details, such as a neighbour hanging out washing, or a child playing a piano, Renoir points to another world outside this torrid prison. This is typical of his method - his privileging of deep space asks us to look and imagine beyond, to interpret what we see and look for alternatives. This is most brilliantly illustrated at the moment of the film's climax, when Legrand discovers his betrayal. Instead of resorting to heated close-ups, hysterical music, meaningful shadows, Renoir quietly takes his camera outside of the scene, moves it slowly around the apartment until, non-dramatically, we see its components through a curtained window. We are reefed out of the drama, shown that it is a drama, that there are other realities, namely that of the camera, and our own, and asked to ruminate thereon. This is not to suggest that CHIENNE is a chilly formal excercise. Renoir loves people too much for it to be that, but asks us to look at what shapes people and their decisions. If he's not quite as sympathetic to his villains as Lang, he places much emphasis on class, and Lulu's showing her friend her new apartment with its bathroom is very touching and highly revealing. Likewise, Renoir doesn't make as much play with Legrand's paintings as Lang - they are less expressions of his diseased unhappiness for a start - but puts them into a wider context of framing and perspective (it's ironic that austere formalist Lang should seem more humanistic than humanistic Renoir). The murder scene is a genuine masterpiece, weaving together all the different themes of sexual unhappiness, betrayal, the public and private space (the murder is intercut with a beautifully nostalgic busking session on the street), art as expression and concealment. The whole sequence - from murder to Dede's discovery of the body - is a model of Renoir's method, formally precise, yet powerfully emotional.

Reviewed by Boba_Fett1138 9 / 10 / 10

A story of all times.

This 1931 Jean Renoir French movie has a story of all times. It's about a man who falls for the wrong girl and gets deeper and deeper into problems because of it. What can be more lethal than a woman? The drama is complex and multiple layered and mostly works out so well in this movie since the story by no means is a standard formulaic one. The movie does a very good job at remaining an unpredictable one throughout its entire running time and you just never know how the movie is going to end or in which direction its heading to. Jean Renoir was one the greatest early French movie directors from the 20th century. With this movie he makes his first 'talkie'. It's notable in parts that this was still all fairly new and all for him and there are some small clumsiness's. He fairly much keeps the same style as movie-making he used for his earlier silent productions. This is mostly notable with the compositions within this movie. Not that this is a bad thing in my opinion. It gives the movie a great look and style that also seems really fitting for this particular movie and its story. It's a great looking movie with high production values. The camera-work is just great and the movie in parts also uses some great editing, that shows a scene from different camera angles. It doesn't do this throughout the entire movie though, since like I said before, the movie mostly keeps is made silent-movie style. Perhaps it was an early sign of things that yet had to come for Jean Renoir, when he in 1937 with "La Grande illusion", that used lots of deep focus and camera-movements, something that also heavily inspired Orson Welles, among others, which is also really notable in "Citizen Kane" of course. Michel Simon gives away one fine performance as the movie its main character but the rest of the actors in acting within this movie is perhaps a bit uneven. But perhaps this also had to do with the fact that this was Jean Renoir's first sound movie and he had to become yet accustomed to working with dialogs and actors performing them. Unfortunately the movie uses some of its speed toward the ending but the movie at all times remains interesting and compelling enough to make you keep watching and just loving this movie right till the very end. A great first sound movie from Jean Renoir. 9/10 http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/

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