By Mike Flaherty
Updated January 27, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

”A dramatic fantasy” is the understated subtitle of Jean Renoir’s withering critique of France’s pre-WWII aristocracy. A probing portrait of an overheated week at a country chateau, The Rules of the Game might also be termed a dark comedy, a door-slamming bedroom farce, or a fatalistic tragedy. In scoring all those thematic bull’s-eyes, Renoir (who also wrote the film) infused the tale with his trademark, seemingly effortless humanism while marrying the narrative to a groundbreaking use of deep focus, extended shots, and a roving camera. Quite simply one of the greatest films ever made. EXTRAS As bountiful as their subject: two documentaries on the filmmaker; audio commentary written by Renoir scholar Alexander Sesonske and read by Peter Bogdanovich; a discussion of the film’s long-awaited restoration by its overseers, Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand; and scene analyses.

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