Film Series

July 01 - August 30, 2007
Jean Renoir in the Thirties

Phyllis Wattis Theater

In the period between the two World Wars, when Henri Matisse's sunny, sensuous, yet edgy works established him as France's preeminent modern artist, Jean Renoir emerged as his country's greatest filmmaker.

Son of the painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean first achieved acclaim in the 1920s, at the end of the silent era. In the first decade of sound films, he made a succession of works that are considered masterpieces of the golden age of French cinema. His films of the 1930s reflect the tensions that plagued France in those years, as social struggles were concealed by grand illusions that France was a strong and secure imperial power enjoying the pleasures of life - "a tranquil garden of whispering fountains, long walks, and youth hostels," in the words of one critic.

Renoir's Boudu Saved from Drowning and A Day in the Country have a light, optimistic, and confident air that echoes impressionist paintings, but they gently mock the values of the French middle class. Underground and La Marseillaise are deeply infused with the radical leftist politics of the Popular Front, which became a major force in France in the mid-1930s. And in Grand Illusion and Rules of the Game the mood darkens further, as if anticipating the catastrophe that would befall France in its defeat and occupation of 1940.

Renoir was a subtle anarchist. Much like Matisse, he both represented and criticized traditional values at a time when the society that maintained those values was beginning to disintegrate.

View the detailed schedule with film descriptions.

$7 general; $5 SFMOMA members. Does not include Museum admission. Double features: films offered on the same date are included in one ticket. Tickets are available at the Museum (with no surcharge) or online.

Film titles are subject to change.

Film at SFMOMA is generously supported by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein.

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Past

Buy tickets La Chienne (The Bitch)
1931, 95 min.

The great Michel Simon plays Maurice Legrand, an unhappily married, mild-mannered office worker and amateur painter who falls in love with the disreputable Lulu. Lulu and her…

Read more
Buy tickets La Chienne (The Bitch)
1931, 95 min.

The great Michel Simon plays Maurice Legrand, an unhappily married, mild-mannered office worker and amateur painter who falls in love with the disreputable Lulu. Lulu and her…

Read more
Buy tickets La Chienne (The Bitch)
1931, 95 min.

The great Michel Simon plays Maurice Legrand, an unhappily married, mild-mannered office worker and amateur painter who falls in love with the disreputable Lulu. Lulu and her…

Read more
Buy tickets Jean Renoir in the Thirties
Double Feature
Une Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country), 1936, 40 min.
Boudu sauvé des eaux (Boudu Saved from Drowning), 1932, 81 min.

These are two of Renoir's most charming films. Both take place along the banks of the Seine - the landscape painted by Renoir's father - and serve as a kind of homage to the world…

Read more
Buy tickets Jean Renoir in the Thirties
Double Feature
Une Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country), 1936, 40 min.
Boudu sauvé des eaux (Boudu Saved from Drowning), 1932, 81 min.

These are two of Renoir's most charming films. Both take place along the banks of the Seine - the landscape painted by Renoir's father - and serve as a kind of homage to the world…

Read more
Buy tickets Jean Renoir in the Thirties
Double Feature
Une Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country), 1936, 40 min.
Boudu sauvé des eaux (Boudu Saved from Drowning), 1932, 81 min.

These are two of Renoir's most charming films. Both take place along the banks of the Seine - the landscape painted by Renoir's father - and serve as a kind of homage to the world…

Read more
Buy tickets La Marseillaise
1938, 130 min.

Renoir explored political history partly as a way of commenting on the politics of his time - a technique most clearly illustrated in La Marseillaise. In 1938, France's political…

Read more
Buy tickets La Marseillaise
1938, 130 min.

Renoir explored political history partly as a way of commenting on the politics of his time - a technique most clearly illustrated in La Marseillaise. In 1938, France's political…

Read more
Buy tickets La Marseillaise
1938, 130 min.

Renoir explored political history partly as a way of commenting on the politics of his time - a technique most clearly illustrated in La Marseillaise. In 1938, France's political…

Read more
Buy tickets Les Bas-fonds (Underground)
1936, 95 min.

Based on a play by Maxim Gorky, Underground (also known as The Lower Depths) anticipates the social realist cinema of the 1940s and 1950s and has affinities with the films of Marcel…

Read more
Buy tickets Les Bas-fonds (Underground)
1936, 95 min.

Based on a play by Maxim Gorky, Underground (also known as The Lower Depths) anticipates the social realist cinema of the 1940s and 1950s and has affinities with the films of Marcel…

Read more
Buy tickets Les Bas-fonds (Underground)
1936, 95 min.

Based on a play by Maxim Gorky, Underground (also known as The Lower Depths) anticipates the social realist cinema of the 1940s and 1950s and has affinities with the films of Marcel…

Read more
Buy tickets La Grande Illusion (Grand Illusion)
1937, 94 min.

Along with Rules of the Game, Grand Illusion ranks high on the list of the greatest films of all time. It is also one of the most powerful antiwar films ever made. The film…

Read more
Buy tickets La Grande Illusion (Grand Illusion)
1937, 94 min.

Along with Rules of the Game, Grand Illusion ranks high on the list of the greatest films of all time. It is also one of the most powerful antiwar films ever made. The film…

Read more
Buy tickets La Grande Illusion (Grand Illusion)
1937, 94 min.

Along with Rules of the Game, Grand Illusion ranks high on the list of the greatest films of all time. It is also one of the most powerful antiwar films ever made. The film…

Read more
Buy tickets La Règle du jeu (Rules of the Game)
1939, 110 min.

Rules of the Game explores romantic and class relationships, as well as social codes, during a hunting weekend at the country house of an upper-class family. The film premiered on…

Read more
Buy tickets La Règle du jeu (Rules of the Game)
1939, 110 min.

Rules of the Game explores romantic and class relationships, as well as social codes, during a hunting weekend at the country house of an upper-class family. The film premiered on…

Read more
Buy tickets La Règle du jeu (Rules of the Game)
1939, 110 min.

Rules of the Game explores romantic and class relationships, as well as social codes, during a hunting weekend at the country house of an upper-class family. The film premiered on…

Read more