The Rules of the Game
Filmmakers as disparate as Noah Baumbach, Bernardo Bertolucci, Robert Altman, Wim Wenders, and Alain Resnais all credit this comic masterpiece of social satire as among the greatest films ever made. Yet upon its release on the precipice of World War II, the film reception could not have received a more hostile reception. An angry mob tried to burn the theater where it was being shown down; critics tore it apart for its complex structure and mockery of the upper classes; a cautious Vichy government ultimately banned the film, a decision wholeheartedly supported by the Nazi regime during the War. Nonetheless, this upstairs-downstairs story about a wealthy clique of embroiled friends and lovers, and the equally-enmeshed domestics who serve them at a country retreat, remains a potent, prescient work. Socially, it presaged not only the deconstruction of class but also the power of base emotions to transcend the veneer of civility. Technically, it pushed cinematic boundaries in its fluid camera movement and deep focus photography that encourage the viewer to acknowledge the complex entanglements that abound in the foreground, background, and at the edges of the frame. Just like Orson Welles’s game-changing Citizen Kane (1941) that would follow a few years later and borrow significantly from Renoir’s revolutionary use of depth-of-field, The Rules of the Game was unleashed on a world not quite ready for its genesis. (Note written by Max Rifkind-Barron).
Bing Theater | $10 general admission; $7 for LACMA members, seniors (62+), and students with valid ID; $5 LACMA Film Club members. | Ticket includes both films in double-bill | Tickets 323 857-6010 or purchase online.