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Cinema Against All Odds: Jean Renoir's "Nana" and "The Elusive Corporal"

Cinema Against All Odds: Jean Renoir's

Mubi's double bill Renoir, Beginnings and Endings is showing September 15 - October 15, 2020 in the United States.Above: NanaJean Renoir, one of the greatest French filmmakers, if not the greatest, was a passionate raconteur. Not only did he write his expansionist memoir, My Life and My Films (1974), and rendered some of his life in prose in his late novels, but, according to his biographer, Pascal Merigeau, he also had a prodigious talent for molding fact into myth.Renoir’s dramatic story begins with his second feature, Nana (1927). Renoir adapted the tale about a striving actress from Émile Zola’s novel, to launch the career of his wife, Catherine Hessling. Hessling dreamed of Hollywood, as eventually did Renoir. Some ten years later, he moved to Los Angeles, where he lived till his death, in 1979. The film’s Nana plays hussies but dreams of a tragic role. When a theater director humiliates her,

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