The first and second editions of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley comprised the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Third Edition includes a detailed Guide to Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game even easier. Click book to order. Available in all bookstores and on Kindle.  


Renoir (4/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 111 minutes.

Not for children

This is the story of the last days of the life of the great Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet) at his home in Cagnes-sur-Mer on the French Riviera in 1915. While the film is inordinately slow, it is a richly photographed, lovingly told capturing of an era strangely untouched by the massacres of World War I.

The story revolves around Andrée Heuschling (Christa Théret) who later was known as Catherine Hessling, Renoir’s last model who becomes romantically involved with Renoir’s middle son, Jean (Vincent Rottiers), and was the inspiration for this unmotivated son to become a renowned filmmaker.

Although Renoir was known for his Impressionist landscapes, he spent the last years of his life drawings nude feminine bodies floating in nature. Director Gilles Bourdos tried to make the fictional story as close to real life as possible. The actual painting on screen was done by Guy Ribes, a forger, who had just been released from prison when he took the job. Ribes doesn’t copy originals. Rather, he paints new, nonexisting works, by great painters. So all the painting scenes were done on the set in real time with the hand of Ribes.

I’ve seen the documentary Ceux de Chez Nous by Sacha Guitry that filmed Renoir during this period of his life which shows him painting with the paintbrush taped to his hand. Watching Bouquet and Ribes re-create the real Renoir was so realistic Renoir would have approved.

All the characters in the film were real people as graphics at the end of the film inform. While Buordos brings them to life, the film is so slow and action–free that it is sometimes difficult to maintain concentration. On the positive side, the cinematography by Mark Ping Bing Lee is an artistic achievement in itself, and worth the price of admission. The nudity is also enticing. Heuschling’s body looks a work of art, as does the body of the other model who appears late in the film and whose name I don’t know.

It saddens me to give this well-made, beautifully photographed movie such a low rating, especially when the acting by the three main characters is so good. But it is so slow and so long, one must be extremely patient and understanding.

March 22, 2013