Renoir and the critics
in Jean Renoir
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Jean Renoir is widely seen as the greatest French director and one of the major figures of world cinema. Hence, he has become a plum prize for critics (especially French ones) to fight over. This chapter deals with Renoir and his leftist critics and the auterists. His challenge to critics of the left comes from his move in and out of commitment. He is a challenge to auteurists because of his commitment and his many changes of direction. Cahiers was a polemical journal, and the Cahiers critics were far from uniform in their general outlook or their specific response to Renoir. If left-wing criticism of Renoir has been indelibly marked by a reaction to the auteurism of Cahiers, then subsequent auterist analyses have had to respond to the Renoir of the left. The chapter lingers on the rich and challenging existential auteurism of Serceau before exploring essentialist auteurism.


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