Supposedly left unfinished, but filming was in fact completed, except that the producers wanted Renoir to expand to feature length; he was reluctant, other things intervened, then the war, and the film was finally released in 1946 with the addition of a couple of titles. It may be only a featurette, but this masterly adaptation of a Maupassant story is rich in both poetry and thematic content. On an idyllic country picnic, a young girl leaves her family and fiancé for a while, and succumbs to an all-too-brief romance. The careful reconstruction of period (around 1860) is enhanced by a typically touching generosity towards the characters and an aching, poignant sense of love lost but never forgotten. And, as always in Renoir, the river is far, far more than just a picturesque stretch of water. Witty and sensuous, it's pure magic.
Cast and crew
Jacques Borel Jacques Brunius