Jean Renoir talks about his father Pierre-Auguste – 1964 – BBC Transcription Service/Gordon Skene Sound Collection
If you aren’t familiar with the work of Jean Renoir, it’s time to grab a film history book and read about this legendary filmmaker who helped shape and define the narrative film and pioneered film techniques we take for granted today. His milestone film, often referred to as one of the greatest ever made was The Grand Illusion, which he made just prior to the outbreak of World War 2.
If you aren’t all that familiar with Jean, then the name Pierre-Auguste Renoir may ring a bell or two if you’ve spent any amount of time in any major Art museum in the world. Pierre-Auguste was one of the leading forces in the Impressionist school of painting in the late nineteenth century and was one of the key figures in what became Modern Art in Europe.
His early works were typically Impressionist snapshots of real life, full of sparkling colour and light. By the mid-1880s, however, he had broken with the movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women.
Renoir was so passionate about painting that he even continued when he was old and suffering from severe arthritis. Renoir then painted with the brush tied to his wrists.
In this interview, conducted by the BBC in the early 1960s, Jean is asked about his father’s work, what he was like to be around and his dread of vacations. Sadly, the interview is only 4 minutes long and was part of a series of Short Interview Talks assembled by the BBC Transcription Service as program fillers for radio stations around the world.
Still, it is a rare interview with a celebrated filmmaker talking about a celebrated Artist who happened to be his father. Living history that brings everything into a little more clarity.