France| 1935| DCP| 84 min.| French with English subtitles
Director: Jean Renoir
Cast: Charles Blavette, Celia Montalván, Édouard Delmont
The late 1920s. Leaving his home in fascist Italy to look for work in the south of France, Toni (played by French actor Blavette) falls hard for another immigrant, the Spanish Josefa (played by Mexican actress Montalván). But when Josefa begins to see a brutal foreman and Toni marries his landlady, the stage is set for jealousy and murder. Inspired by the naturalism in the writings of Marcel Pagnol (Toni’s producer) and taking his story from a real-life crime, director Renoir retreated from studio sets to film outdoors on actual locations in Martigues, using direct sound to capture the wind in the leaves, the chirps of the crickets. Renoir’s work on this movie was an inspiration later to the Italian neo-realists, including Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, and Luchino Visconti, who, at age 27, was Renoir’s assistant director on Toni. This new 4K digital restoration was taken from Toni’s original camera negative. “One of the key films in Jean Renoir’s work… the film in which he pushed his personal and cinematic quest the farthest” (André Bazin). “Very beautiful, kind of lyrical and very sad; a great Renoir movie” (Wes Anderson).