26 April 2003 | RNQ
Unprotected young woman
A complex and sympathetic narrative about a young woman that begins with her working on a river barge with her father and her uncle and follows her through difficult circumstances after her father dies, exploited but resourceful, even using petty crime, particularly in the company of a scampish boy. There's something Pickfordesque about Catherine Hessling (who became Mme. Renoir), and a touch of D. W. Griffith in her occasional hanky-winding, but Renoir is not as sentimental. There's a dream sequence as good as Hitchcock decades later, night scenes (a haystack on fire), and observations about the ways of the well-born that are a start on the way to La Règle du jeu.