Greatest Film Scenes
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A Day in the Country (1936)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

A Day in the Country (1936, Fr.) (aka Partie de Campagne) (short)

In writer/director Jean Renoir's compelling, short (uncompleted) romantic comedy-drama based upon a Guy de Maupassant short story, about a summer-afternoon love affair in 1860 along the banks of the Seine:

  • a summer trip to escape the city with a countryside outing was taken by the family of middle-class, hard-working Parisian shop-owner Monsieur Dufour (André Gabriello), including his wife Madame Dufour (Jane Marken) and their engaged daughter, young Henriette Dufour (Sylvia Bataille) - who was happiest when standing on a swing in motion; also with the family was the old grandmother (Gabrielle Fontan) and a young apprentice shop boy Anatole (Paul Temps), the dimwitted fiancee of Henriette
  • the family stopped for lunch at Poulain's (Jean Renoir) riverside inn where they met two young men: Henri (Georges D'Arnoux or Georges Saint-Saens) and Rodolphe (Jacques B. Brunius)
  • they spent the afternoon next to the Seine under a cherry tree where they could fish and go boating. Although she was engaged, the young girl Henriette left the group and was briefly attracted to Henri - the persistent and amorous local worker; he separated Henriette away from her family and convinced her to take a boat-ride with him: ("I did so want to go boating...We're just gliding along. It's so quiet here. I feel it would be a sin to make a noise and break the silence" - she told him)
  • as he rowed along, he urged her to stop along the river banks of the Seine ("Wouldn't you like to get out - to stretch our legs?"), and at first she was resistant - but then he convinced her to stop to listen to the birds; as they walked along, he mentioned that the spot was familiar to him: ("I often come here; I call it my study") - and then he seduced her - he forced himself upon her during an extreme close-up of her face kissing him; he sexually took her (off-screen) followed by a dissolve back to a view of them lying together
Henriette and Henri Regretful Years Later
  • in the film's epilogue and flash-forward years later, it was established that Henriette had lovelessly married boring Anatole; she met up again with love-sick Henri at the exact same spot where they had spent a single afternoon together; filmed with intense emotion via direct and reverse shots of their two faces, they happily remembered their brief idyllic time together, their lost love, and regretted what might have been between them (as tears welled up in Henriette's left eye)

Young Henriette on Swing

Boat Ride with Henri and Love-Making


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