The early films
in Jean Renoir
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This chapter considers the films that Jean Renoir directed during his first decade as a film-maker. They are categorised into two groups: the silent films and those that followed the introduction of sound. The chapter begins with Renoir's two silent films: Charleston, evoking colonial themes, and Le Bled celebrating the centenary of the colonisation of Algeria. La Fille de Veau combines an entirely conventional melodramatic narrative with avant-gardist visual effects. Renoir's early sound films were literary adaptations. The chapter explains the adaptations of boulevard comedies all of which stage the collision between a disruptive character and a constraining social frame. It then looks at Madame Bovary and La Chienne both of which show the destruction of a self-deluding individual by a corrupt society. The chapter also looks at La Nuit du carrefour and Toni, two films that stage the collision of tradition and modernity while foregrounding migration and xenophobia.

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