May 7, 2007

Boudu Saved From Drowning (Renoir, 1932)

Jean Renoir once called his film a "free exercise around an actor," and if that statement isn't enough to convince you of the brilliance of Michel Simon as the tramp Boudu, than nothing will. Simon's Boudu is less a human being than a force of nature, an alternately comedic and disgusting agglomeration of twitches and spasms. And it is truly a sight to behold as Boudu works his way into the consciousness of the bourgeois Lestingois household and tears it apart. However, in making that statement, Renoir is selling his own film short. The beauty of the film lies in the immense depth that rests below its farcical exterior, and in Renoir's refusal to pass judgment on either Édouard Lestingois or his other self, Boudu. IMDb listing.

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