|7:30 p.m.||The River|
Jean Renoir 1951
“The most common group treated in movies is the family. Yet how seldom we feel that we are seeing a real unit, instead of a gang of actors vying for attention. And so, in many American films, the family is a battleground, a treacherous model for life, veering between sentimentality and melodrama. The River, marking Renoir’s return to movie-making after several years of depressed absence, is one of his few ‘family’ studies, and the only one that has children in important roles. The excitement of India added to those thematic novelties so that, after the troubled but intriguing American period, Renoir regained his confidence as an artist and returned to doubt and variety as his best subjects--The River, The Golden Coach, French Can-Can, Elena and the Men, his richest works.
“The acting is not always accomplished in The River--Patricia Walters is so emotional that she can be as awkward and intense as a real child; Thomas Breen is so much more placid than the actor Renoir wanted, Marlon Brando. But weaknesses are erased by the true homogeneity of English, American and Indian, the very young and the adult. The ‘philosophy’ of The River is stated as clearly as a tourist might put an opinion on a postcard, but Renoir’s sense of everyone having their reasons reaches a new expansiveness of tolerance in his gentle insistence on seeing as many people as possible at any one time, and in seeing so many egos smoothed over by the story and the gradual, seeping advance of time and the river.” David Thomson
• Directed by Jean Renoir. Written by Renoir and Rumer Godden, from a novel by Godden. Photographed by Claude Renoir. With Patricia Walters, Radha, Adrienne Corri, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight, Thomas E. Breen, Arthur Shields, Richard Foster, Suprova Mukerjee. (1951, 99 mins, English dialogue, 35mm, Color, Print from Denver Center Cinema)