Une Partie de Campagne (A Day in the Country) (1936)
Director: Jean Renoir
Renoir's short film feels like a novella, or a short story that encompasses the viewpoints of several characters about an afternoon in the country, whose effects ripple throughout the years. The film was not finished by its director, but what survives is a charming slice of romance and nostalgia, both in the story and for the time period.
The film follows two groups, one a party of Parisians out for a day, and two young men from the country. The two young men are attracted to the beautiful Henriette, and their instant attraction is one of the most lovely introductions in all cinema. It is not the first time we see Henriette, but we are thrust into the perpective of these two amorous young men.
There is mild comedy from the party, as the two parents jokingly squabbly and flirt with each other, the deaf grandmother mishears things, and Henriette's intended muddles around. There is a slightly twist to the film, which I shall not spoil, but it also helps mark the change in the tone of the film. The shots of nature, including a lovely floating shot of rain falling on the stream, add to the nostalgia of the piece.
A charming film that makes me wish Renoir had been able to complete himself.