While we’re on the subject, let’s do one more foreign film before we move back into the classic Hollywood bread and butter films of this blog.

Iconic French director Jean Renoir shot most of A Day in the Country (“Une Partie de Campagne”) in 1936.  Weather disrupted the filming, and before Renoir could get back to it, World War II broke out and he fled to America to continue his career in Hollywood.

Ten years later, the producer released it as a short film.

And I do mean short.

At a scant 40 minutes, you can knock of this masterpiece in less time than it takes to watch two reruns of The Office

Based on a Guy de Maupassant short story (if you’re like me, you read his more famous story The Necklace in high school), the film tells the story of a family—mother, father, daughter, and future son-in-law—who escape the confines of Paris for a day of fishing, boating, and laying in the grass.

It’s clear that Henriette’s father wants her to marry Anatole (Paul Temps), who has all the sex appeal of a anteater.  But Henriette (Sylvia Bataille) is young, innocent, and immediately charmed by the handsome Henri (Georges D’Arnoux) and Rodolphe (Jacques B. Brunius), who work at the restaurant where the family stops for lunch.

While her father teaches the doltish Anatole how to fish, Henri and Rodolphe scheme to take Henriette and her very attractive mother off for trysts in the woods.

Though Rodolphe originally calls shotgun on Henriette, the chemistry between Henri and Henriette is clear from the start.  Rodolphe plays the ultimate wing man and busies himself with flirting—and distracting—Henriette’s mother.

Henri rows Henriette down the Seine in a rowboat, then pulls over into a secluded area.  After brief resistance, Henriette succumbs to Henri’s charms and they make love in the grass.  Henri is more moved by the encounter than he predicts, and feels something akin to love.

But their interlude does not change the course of Henriette’s exterior life—though her interior one is now filled with secrets.  Years later, Henriette shows up again for a day in the country and runs into Henri.

She is married to Anatole as her father wanted; Henri’s status is unclear.  But when fate once again brings them face to face on the banks of the Seine, the emotion of their long-ago encounter is right there in their eyes.

They have no future; they have no past; only a long ago moment of poetry in a world of prose.

Well worth your time, this little gem won’t leave you disappointed.