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DCA Archive

Le Crime de Monsieur Lange

Jean Renoir

In the second half of the 1930s the French director Jean Renoir, one of the true masters of the medium, entered his most fertile period. In just five years he made eight great films. The most famous of these, Grand Illusion and The Rules of the Game, are genuine masterpieces, but the lesser-known The Crime of Monsieur Lange is every bit as good.

Made in the run-up to the election of the left-wing Popular Front, Monsieur Lange clearly betrays Renoir’s communist sympathies. It depicts the employees of a small publishing firm who form a successful collective when their oppressive boss disappears. However, when he suddenly returns things take a dramatic turn.

As always with Renoir it is his sympathy for his characters (even the boss) and his understanding of human fallibility that impresses. Warm, breezy, but never sentimental, this is political filmmaking with a heart and a sense of humour.

Presented as part of Cinema Rediscovered on Tour, a Watershed project with support from BFI awarding funds from The National Lottery