LACMA pairs Renoir with Renoir
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art said Friday that it will be hosting a screening series of films by Jean Renoir (right) that will run in parallel with the current exhibition of late-period paintings by the French filmmaker's father, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (left).
"The Films of Jean Renoir" will run March 12 to April 10 and feature 19 movies from the director's European and Hollywood careers. The retrospective will include some of Renoir's best-known films such as "Rules of the Game" and "Grand Illusion" as well as rarely screened films like "Toni," "The Southerner" and "La Chienne."
Ian Birnie, who serves as a consultant for LACMA's film program, said in an interview Friday that he has been working for about a year to secure the prints for the series.
He said that finding a print for "La Chienne," a 1931 comedy starring Michel Simon, was especially difficult because the film fell outside the purview of France's official cinema office. Birnie said he was going to use a 16-millimeter print of the film until someone mentioned that the Academy Film Archive contained a 35-millimeter print.
The series isn't a complete retrospective of Renoir's films. One film the museum tried but couldn't obtain was "This Land Is Mine," which Renoir made in 1943 and starred Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara.
Birnie said that Jean Renoir's children (Auguste Renoir's grandchildren) are scheduled to appear at the museum for the opening of the series.
In 2005, the Cinémathèque française in Paris hosted an exhibition that paired works by father and son that was titled "Renoir/Renoir." The exhibition, which was organized with the Musée d'Orsay, juxtaposed film clips and paintings to show thematic parallels between the two generations of artists.
Birnie said the LACMA series won't attempt a similar compare-contrast feat, but he said visitors are welcome to draw their own conclusions.
The younger Renoir spent much of his later life in L.A., often holding court with actors such as Paulette Goddard and Joan Bennett. He died in Beverly Hills in 1979.
Next up for LACMA's film program is a series dedicated to the late film critic and painter Manny Farber.
Birnie said the museum will have to assess how much money the film program has in order to continue past June. The 40-year-old repertory series, which was originally scheduled to end last fall, is now set to end in June thanks to donations from Time Warner Cable, Ovation TV and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.
"Renoir in the 20th Century," which features artwork by the elder Renoir, runs through May 9 at LACMA.
Here is the full lineup for the museum's Renoir film series:
March 12 7:30 p.m. "Toni"
March 12 9:20 p.m. "Swamp Water"
March 13 7:30 p.m. "French Cancan"
March 13 9:25 p.m. "The Golden Coach"
March 19 7:30 p.m. "La bête humaine"
March 19 9:20 p.m. "The Woman on the Beach"
March 20 7:30 p.m. "The Southerner"
March 20 9:20 p.m. "The River"
March 26 7:30 p.m. "Grand Illusion"
March 26 9:30 p.m. "The Elusive Corporal"
March 27 7:30 p.m. "La Chienne"
March 27 9:15 p.m. "La marseillaise"
April 2 7:30 p.m. "Diary of a Chambermaid"
April 2 9:15 p.m. "Elena et lest hommes"
April 3 7:30 p.m. "Nana | Live musical accompaniment"
April 9 7:30 p.m. "Boudu Saved from Drowning"
April 9 9:10 p.m. "The Testament of Doctor Cordelier"
April 10 7:30 p.m. "A Day in the Country"
April 10 8:20 p.m. "The Rules of the Game"
-- David Ng
Photo (left): Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Photo (right): Jean Renoir. Credit: Cal Montney.