Partie de Campagne (A Day in the Country)

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Movie Info

Jean Renoir's A Day in the Country is a short and semisweet romantic vignette based on a story by Guy de Maupassant. A group of family members spend a day away from the city in the French countryside. While the men go off to fish, the mother (Jeanne Marken) has a harmless flirtation with a rural "rake," while the daughter (Sylvia Bataille) has a more serious liaison with a handsome young man (George Saint-Saens). Fourteen years later, the same family vacations at the same spot. The handsome stranger returns, hoping to renew his affair with the daughter; unfortunately, the girl is now married to a dull, insensitive jerk. The two former lovers ponder what might have been, then the family heads back to the city. A Day in the Country currently exists only in a 40-minute version; Renoir had planned to film scenes depicting what happened in the years between the two holidays, but he closed down production due to an acute "creative block." For this reason, although the film was shot in 1936, it wasn't released to theaters until ten years later. For its American distribution, Day in the Country was bundled together with two other short European films -- Jofroi and the controversial The Miracle -- as the portmanteau film The Ways of Love. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Sylvia Bataille
as Henriette Dufour
Jane Marken
as Mme Juliette Dufour
Paul Temps
as Anatole
Henri Cartier-Bresson
as Seminary Student
Alain Renoir
as Little Boy Fishing
Gabrielle Fontan
as La grand'mere
Jean Renoir
as Pere Poulain
Pierre Lestringuez
as Un vieux cure
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Critic Reviews for Partie de Campagne (A Day in the Country)

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (15)

Audience Reviews for Partie de Campagne (A Day in the Country)

  • Aug 18, 2013
    Prior to his antiwar humanist testament and his complete destruction of the bourgeois moral and mass media etiquette, Renoir envisioned Guy de Maupassant's enchanting love tale with an exquisite filming of the countryside and the Nature silences accompanying its peacefulness as it quietly became a witness of impulsive romances and broken hearts. This may be the earliest, most beautiful perspective of the countryside that had been captured in prewar cinema. With all the pain in my heart, I must chop off half a star - still justifying its lack of completion - because of events of a higher force than the will of its creators. The surviving vignette provides enough evidence to confirm with a confidence of 99% that this was meant to be a magical 5-star masterpiece of the highest class, given its character variety, its camera dynamism and the tender score, elements that, even to this day, make me go sucker for this kind of delicate dramas. Those remaining years situated between the two holidays depicted in this surviving fragment rank as one of the most unfortunate cinematic losses of all times. 89/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2012
    This uncompleted film clocks in at a short, unfortunate running time of about 40 minutes. And what a perfect 40 minutes it is. Jean Renoir so beautifully and elegantly tells a tale of romance and love that emerges from a story of two glib countryboy fisherman prying on Parisian women, hoping for another catch. By using the pastime of fishing, Renoir creates a comical, and sometimes dark, look on bourgeoisie conduct. His cinematography is breathtaking and resonant of the most beautiful pastoral or romantic paintings. Inevitably, my biggest complaint is the short running time even though the presented 40 minutes are just 40 minutes of cinematic perfection. But, the short running time does take a toll as some of the satire and characterizations do feel like they would benefit from extra scenes to flesh them out. As the two lovers whose unprecedented love grew out of a tumultuous storm take a look at each other and contemplate what might have been, we in the audience contemplate what "Partie de Campagne" might have been had Renoir been afforded the ability to complete this film. Nevertheless, that is still asking for too much; what we see is what we get, and perhaps the tight, fluid, and magical 40 minutes displayed were all that Renoir needed to enchant us.
    Edward S Super Reviewer

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