THE CRIME OF MONSIEUR LANGE
12:30 2:50 5:10 7:20 9:30
MUST END Thursday, November 23!
NEW 4K RESTORATION
Directed by Jean Renoir
Screenplay by Jacques Prévert
(1936) In a hotel on the Belgian border, the locals are agog over one of the newly-arrived guests – could he be the notorious Parisian murderer on the run? Then a woman, the man’s lover, emerges to tell the whole story: in a convivial courtyard, l’amour is in the air, as the vivacious Florelle, patronne of an all-girl laundry, has eyes for René Lefèvre’s mild-mannered Monsieur Lange, who cares mostly about writing his lurid “Arizona Jim” Western adventures (despite never having set foot in America). Next door, a print shop churning out pulp magazines hums away, bossed by Jules Berry’s dastardly Batala (“a sublime creation of villainy” – André Bazin), arriving at dawn in a tuxedo, dodging creditors, and relentlessly hitting on young female staffers. But then things suddenly change, as the print shop becomes a collective, the “Arizona Jim” stories catch fire, and lovers get together. But in the midst of a celebration, in walks… Screenplay by Jacques Prévert (poet and later author of Port of Shadows, Children of Paradise, etc.), with new subtitles by Lenny Borger and Bruce Goldstein capturing the wit and spirit of his dialogue like never before. 4K DCP restoration. Approx. 83 min.
Restored in 4K by Cineteca di Bologna, under the supervision of Studiocanal, with the support of the CNC.
Presented with support from The George Fasel Memorial Fund for Classic French Cinema.
A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE.
Rialto Pictures 20th anniversary retrospective at the Museum of the Moving Image
“PERHAPS THE MOST DELIGHTFUL OF RENOIR’S FILMS… With its splendid 4K restoration, Monsieur Lange looks brand-new. Given its emphasis on the predatory behavior of powerful men and the precariousness of the journalistic profession, it is AS TOPICAL AS ANY MOVIE MADE THIS YEAR, AND A GOOD DEAL FUNNIER THAN MOST.”
– J. Hoberman, The New York Times. Read the full review here. (Warning: spoilers ahead!)
“Whether the release of this restoration marks your first or your fiftieth time seeing The Crime of Monsieur Lange, its glittering bustle of motion and character always offers new and piercing details… As in Renoir’s mature masterpieces, the prevailing spirit is of a brilliantly controlled spontaneity, a breezy sublimity, that sense that any character can vault into the frame at any time and push the story someplace new — but never on a tangent, and always someplace thematically appropriate. This time, as always, I was moved by the enormous generosity of Renoir and screenwriter Jacques Prevert (Port of Shadows, Children of Paradise), how they find joy even in the villain of the piece. But even more so, they feel for the villain’s victims, the women he torments — his abuse never is laughed off. Their sympathies — for the workers, the harassed, the screwed-over, the lonely, for the very idea of community — are the ones we still wish our species would embrace today.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice
Read the full piece here. (Warning, spoilers ahead!)
“Of all Renoir's films, THE MOST SPONTANEOUS, THE RICHEST IN MIRACLES OF CAMERA WORK,
THE MOST FULL OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY,
A FILM TOUCHED BY GRACE.”
– François Truffaut
“Suffused with light and the possibility of happiness and a sense that life is simultaneously serious, absurd, impossible, and inescapably interesting. It has a simple plot. It amounts to a fable about capitalism, to a caustic revenge farce, to an idyll, and to a stingingly undeceived tale about being near the bottom of the heap. Renoir has created a Brechtian narrative that is also pastoral … and filled every shot with flickering notations of living.”
– Penelope Gilliatt
“ONE OF RENOIR'S MOST BEAUTIFUL WORKS AND ONE OF THE MOST REPRESENTATIVE OF HIS GENIUS AND TALENTS…
This collaboration [with Prévert] produced some of the best, if not the best, dialogue of French prewar cinema.”
– André Bazin
“ONE OF RENOIR'S MOST COMPLETELY DELIGHTFUL MOVIES…
Fantasy, politics, and gentle naturalism combine to perfection, while Renoir's sympathies for his domestic revolutionaries are so infectious as to make the film genuinely uplifting.”
– Geoff Andrew, Time Out (London)
“Jacques Prèvert’s screenplay has wit and economy, but it is the multiplicity of points of view implied in Renoir’s fluid direction that lifts the film from propaganda to art.”
– Dave Kehr
“Owes its witty style to the harmony of two unshakably original temperaments… Prévert contributed his vivacity and mordant humor, and Renoir the resonance of his true romanticism.”
– Roger Leenhardt
“A dozen characters, all of whom we come to know and cherish.”
– Andrew Sarris, The Village Voice