DRAMA; 1hr 51min (French with subtitles)
STARRING: Michel Bouquet, Christa Théret, Vincent Rottiers
Impressed: from left, Bouquet and Rottiers
The velvety light and texture of director Gilles Bourdos’s Renoir is like stepping inside one of the artist’s shimmery Impressionist paintings. In 1915, when Andrée Heuschling (Théret) begins to pose for him in his paradisal French Riviera atelier, 74-year-old Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Bouquet) paints her like a smitten dream, even while in a wheelchair and gnarled and wracked with arthritis. Of course he does: actress hopeful Andrée has the creamy skin and ripe curves that artists lust after, bolstered by the attitude of a girl who generally gets what she wants.
“I want everything, and I don’t want to wait,” she tells Renoir’s hard-to-read, 21-year-old middle son Jean (Rottiers), injured in the war and home to convalesce. Soon enough, that longing extends to Jean himself. The two would marry and divorce. Both would die in 1979, Jean a revered film director and Andrée, who acted for him while they were together, anonymous and impoverished. Here, though, they’re caught in a chrysalis whose images unroll with lulling, summery grace.