The great French director Jean Renoir anticipated for war and troubled by it, he created a remarkable comedy of manners, an absurd comic farce that ends in tragedy. A total box-office failure in 1939, Jean Renoirs The Rules of the Game is now considered not only one of the greatest films ever made but an amazing advancement of lighting and cinematography. The film tells a story about several lovers taking a weekend to a country estate, and Renoir remarkably constructs husbands and wives, masters and servants, and lovers and adulterers, and places them together to commit several unmoral acts with one another. Once Renoir gets his characters to all pair up, the game of love begins and the characters roam through halls and bedrooms, swapping partners and creating new quarrels, while in the meantime trying to portray to the other guests that they are a classy bourgeoisie society. In the words of Dudley Andrew, "the most complex social criticism ever enacted on the screen."
Renoir develops a groundbreaking technique with his style of cinematography as he clashes montage and editing together within several of his shots, creating a unity with space and time with the arrangement of people and objects. With several stories and events being depicted at once, Renoir creates a depth of field which creates different layers of action for the spectator to look at allowing characters to come and go in the foreground and background, sometimes disappearing in the distance and then reappearing in close-up. Unfortunately during one of the Allied bombings, the original negative of The Rules of the Game was destroyed, leading many to believe that a complete version would never be seen again. After the war, pieces of the negative were found, and the painstaking task of resembling the film was undertaken. The film was finally restored to its original running time along with Jean Renoir's approval and advice, and in the credits dedicated his resurrection to the memory of the great French film critic Andre Bazin.