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Audiovisual FILM STUDIES FOR FREE

Selected Videographic Essays and Criticism by Catherine Grant

DÉCORUMS - For V.F. Perkins

#vfperkins (see also the tribute here: filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com/2016/07/for-all-to-see-and-to-see-sense-of-in.html)

A video tribute about delicate moments of (decorous) choice that reworks a much loved paragraph from the truly remarkable writing of film critic and scholar V.F. Perkins (1936-July 15, 2016):

"A justly famous scene in LA RÈGLE DU JEU (The Rules of the Game, 1939) gains much of its effect from Renoir’s use of décor. At the start of a country house party, the aristocratic hostess, Christine, is obliged to confront the gossip surrounding her relationship with a young aviator. André Jurieu. She does this by introducing him to her other guests as a group with a speech in praise of pure friendship. The scene is set in the château’s entrance hall and the décor is a perfectly credible arrangement of doors, pillars and open space. But Renoir’s disposition of his actors and camera turns the space into a theatrical arena as Christine takes André ‘centre stage’ to present him to the others, grouped at a little distance to constitute the audience, while her husband and his friend look on anxiously and at last proudly from ‘the wings’. The sense of Christine’s performance as one governed by strict rules, where a wrong move threatens disaster, emerges from another visual parallel that the décor permits: the camera sees the floor, with Christine and André moving across its black-and-white marble tiles, as a chess-board. The power of the scene largely derives from the tension between Christine’s nervously awkward sincerity and the demand implied by the theatre/chess-game image for the precise execution of a delicate manoeuvre."

QUOTATION: V.F. Perkins, 'Moments of Choice', First published in THE MOVIE, no. 58 (Orbis Publishing, 1981)
Reprinted in ROUGE, 9, 2006. Online at: rouge.com.au/9/moments_choice.html

FILM IMAGES: LA RÈGLE DU JEU (Jean Renoir, 1939)

MUSIC: 'No Sudden Movements' by rui, Shared at the Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 International License. Online at: freemusicarchive.org/music/rui/La_pluie_de_ltre/rui_-_La_pluie_de_ltre_-_07_No_sudden_movements

VIDEO: Catherine Grant, 2016

FOR STUDY PURPOSES ONLY