Man-woman relationships -- France -- Drama, Clerks (Retail trade) -- Drama, Triangles (Interpersonal relations) -- France -- Drama

La chienne

(La chienne), (The bitch)

Imported Print!

"What happens with great actors, and consequently with Michel Simon, is that they unmask you, bring dreams that you've had, but haven't expressed, to light” (Jean Renoir). In La chienne, Michel Simon is an unhappily married middle-aged bank clerk whose only passion in life is painting, which he does in his spare time, until he becomes obsessed with a prostitute (Janie Marèze). She plays him for the tragic sucker he is. Unlike Fritz Lang's remake, Scarlet Street, as Bertrand Augst points out, Renoir's protagonist has no remorse. The film is infused with a sadomasochistic sexuality that is both heightened and tempered by Renoir's camera, which (Renoir said) followed "the slightest detour of (Simon's) thoughts"—through windows, through time, truly through depth of field. In Renoir's first major sound film, shot on location, sync (rather than mixed) sound is brilliantly used: "Not only is the caustic criticism of French society most explicitly depicted in the mise-en-scène, but the soundtrack dramatizes very effectively the underlying social conflicts which characterize this society" (Augst).


  • French
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  • DCP

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Jean Renoir: Cinéma de toujours (program), Cannes Film Festival, 1994

La chienne (program note), Denver International Film Festival, Howie Movshovitz, 1981

45 years late, a Renoir film still exquisite (article), Walter Addiego, 1976

Thirteenth New York film fest (article), Soho Weekly News, Roger Greenspun, 1975

Jean Renoir (program), National Film Theatre (London, England), 1975

NY film bulletin: Jean Luc Godard issue (interview), ny film bulletin, 1964

La chienne (distributor materials), Audio Brandon Films

La chienne (credits), The Museum of Modern Art, New York

La chienne (program note), New York Film Festival

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