|"RENOIR" dull, but there's plenty o' nudity!|
Renoir (2012) *1/2
Dir. Gilles Bourdos
Starring: Michel Bouquet, Christa Theret, Vincent Rottiers
Review By Greg Klymkiw
On paper, Renoir must have sounded like one hell of a rip-snorter.
Focusing on the latter days of famed Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet) and Andree Heuschling (Christa Theret), the fleshy, petulant carrot-topped adolescent tossed in his lap by Matisse, our wheelchair-bound Grand Artiste has his hands firmly taped up like a battered hockey stick to allow his gnarled fingers the ability to create sumptuous paintings of this pert and plucky nudie-cutie. Matisse assumed rightly that she'd be an ideal muse for the crotchety, old codger and in no time at all, his symbolic schwance - a paintbrush - rises (as it were) to the occasion.
So, let's do a checklist of the scintillating action so far:
Renoir paints. Andree poses (mostly nude, thank Christ!). The house staff grumble about the sexpot poser who oft displays obnoxioua behaviour towards them. Renoir paints, of course - indoors and out, thus granting us changes in locale and scenery. The primary scenery in our impudent Little Miss Fire-Crotch.
So, we're close to 40 or so minutes into this movie and Good God Almighty, something happens. Pierre-Auguste's son Jean (Vincent Rottiers) comes home to heal his wounds from the war. Dad displays paternal love and pride in his son, but also some dismay that Jean seems like an aimless "dabbler". I think someone forgot to remind Maestro Papa that Sonny Jean has experienced the horrors of war and almost had his leg blown off.
A few other things "happen". Jean falls for Andree and they begin an affair. Andree's former obnoxious behaviour morphs into that normally reserved for an unstable harridan and Jean - yes, he is THAT Jean Renoir, director of numerous cinema masterpieces like La Grande Illusion - figures out that the magic of movies might be just what the doctor ordered. (Andree, under a nom-de-plume, starred in a bunch of early Renoir films.)
112 or so minutes passes as we watch the paint dry up on the silver screen. There's plenty of gorgeous picture postcard cinematography, a decent, measured performance from Bouquet and the comely delights continually displayed by the copper-topped muse.
Like I said earlier, someone read this script and thought it needed to be made.
A rip-snorter of a snore-fest for all.
"Renoir" is in limited theatrical release via Mongrel Media.