The Rules of the Game

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The Rules of the Game (original French title: La Règle du jeu) is a 1939 film about upper-class French society just before the start of World War II. It is often cited as one of the greatest films in the history of cinema.

Directed by Jean Renoir. Written by Jean Renoir and Carl Koch.

Robert de la Cheyniest[edit]

  • Excuse me. You know you're no fool; you're a poet, a dangerous poet.
  • [to Schumacher] I have no choice but to dismiss you. It breaks my heart, but I can't expose my guests to your firearms. It may be wrong of them, but they value their lives.


  • Friendship with a man? That's asking for moonlight at midday.


  • A laughing woman is disarmed, you can do what you like.
  • You tried to better me by making me a servant. I'll never forget it.

Geneviève de Marras[edit]

  • Love, as it exists in society, is merely the mingling of two whims and the contact of two skins.


  • The awful thing about life is this: Everybody has their reasons.
  • You have to understand, its the plight of all heroes today. In the air, they're terrific. But when they come back to earth, they're weak, poor, and helpless.

André Jurieux[edit]

  • That's also part of the times, today everyone lies.


Robert de la Cheyniest: Corneille! Put an end to this farce!
Corneille: Which one, your lordship?

Octave: I want to disappear down a hole.
Robert de la Cheyniest: Why's that?
Octave: So I no longer have to figure out what's right and what's wrong.

About The Rules of the Game[edit]

  • Throughout the entire last part of The Rules of the Game the camera acts like an invisible guest wandering about the salon and the corridors with a certain curiosity, but without any more advantage than its invisibility. The camera is not noticeably any more mobile than a man would be (if one grants that people run about quite a bit in this château). And the camera even gets trapped in a corner, where it is forced to watch the action from a fixed position, unable to move without revealing its presence and inhibiting the protagonists. This sort of personification of the camera accounts for the extraordinary quality of this long sequence. It is not striking because of the script or the acting, but as a result of Renoir’s half amused, half anxious way of observing the action.

    No one has grasped the true nature of the screen better than Renoir; no one has successfully rid it of the equivocal analogies with painting and the theater. Plastically the screen is most often made to conform to the limits of a canvas, and dramatically it is modeled after the stage. With these two traditional references in mind, directors tend to conceive their images as boxed within a rectangle as do the painter and the stage director. Renoir on the other hand, understands that the screen is not a simple rectangle but rather the homothetic surface of the viewfinder of his camera. It is the very opposite of a frame. The screen is a mask whose function is no less to hide reality than to reveal it.


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