If you despise bourgeois hypocrisy (and, frankly, who doesn’t?) and find credence in the notion that the middle and upper classes truly believe that inside every poor person is a rich person just waiting to break free, then you’ll love Jean Renoir’s excoriating social satire, a film that feels as ripe now as it did the year it was made (1932). Boudu (the peerless Michel Simon, who also produced) is the boorish, mangy-dog-like transient who, overcome by a destructive whim, decides to toss himself into the Seine, only to be rescued by urbane, skirt-chasing Rive Gauche bookseller Edouard Lestingoi (Charles Granval). Lestingoi sees it as his civic duty to accommodate, educate and refine his scrofulous charge, even though the near-psychotically impulsive Boudu has no compunction about copping a feel of his host’s wife or hocking a loogie into the pages of a first-edition Balzac. Functioning perfectly well as a spry comic celebration of base desire, it’s the piquant political undertones concerning the realities of anarchy and the nature of power and influence that really keep ‘Boudu’ so poignantly human and so terrifyingly relevant.
Boudu Saved From Drowning
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