Photo of Jean Renoir Jean Renoir

The son of French impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir was born Sept. 15, 1894, in Paris and grew up in the south of France. After serving in World War I, Renoir began directing films in 1924 to advance the career of his actress wife, Catherine Hessling.

With the advent of talkies, Renoir made a trio of movies that would be considered among the finest to come out of pre-World War II France: La Chienne (remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street), The Lower Depths (1936) and Grand Illusion (1937).

Escaping to the United States after the fall of France, Renoir went to work for 20th Century Fox, making his American debut with the rustic drama Swamp Water (1941). He returned to rural America for The Southerner, a drama about Texas sharecroppers that earned him a Best Director Oscar nod. His other notable films include Diary of a Chambermaid, Woman on the Beach and The River. Renoir died Feb. 12, 1979.

Jean Renoir in The Rules of the Game

The Rules of the Game

1939 NR

When affluent Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio) hosts a party at his sprawling property, emotions run high. Guests include Robert's mistress Genevieve (Mila Parely) and pilot Andre Jurieu (Roland Toutain), who fancies Robert's wife, Christine (Nora Gregor). Meanwhile, Schumacher (Gaston Modot) is trying to keep Marceau (Julien Carette) from hitting on his wife (Paulette Dubost). All the while, the servants watch with great interest.

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  • Jean Renoir in La Bete Humaine La Bete Humaine
  • Jean Renoir in The Southerner The Southerner
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  • Jean Renoir in Carola Carola