Play time: the day off, from Maupassant to Renoir
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Play time: the day off, from Maupassant to Renoir

Play time: the day off, from Maupassant to Renoir

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Nash Lecture Theatre

Strand

London, United Kingdom

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Play time: the day off, from Maupassant to Renoir

When the Parisian shopkeeper, Monsieur Dufour, takes his family for a day out in the countryside, a chance encounter with two young, strapping boaters brings them rather more than they had bargained for... Like droves of petty bourgeois families, the Dufours ventured into the Parisian suburbs in pursuit of tranquility, fresh air, the bucolic – an antidote to the claustrophobia of home and workplace. For Dufour’s playful wife and sensitive daughter, however, the wholesome pleasures of the excursion take on a more permissive character, as the moment of liberation culminates in a double scene of seduction.

Jean Renoir’s 1936 film Partie de Campagne (A Day in the Country) is based on Guy de Maupassant’s short story of 1881. A screening of this film will be followed by a talk, which will explore the relationship between fiction and film, and will look at some of the famous Impressionist paintings of leisure time that are referencedby both writer and filmmaker – including those of Jean Renoir’s father, Pierre-Auguste. Both Maupassant and Renoir parody the lower middle classes at play, together with their dreams of a more authentic way of living. But though we are invited to laugh at the Dufour family’s naivety, the ideals accompanying their escapefrom work acquire a sentimental poignancy, prompting us to reflect on what it is we want and expect from our own day out.

The film is in French with English subtitles.

Claire White is Lecturer in French at King’s. She specialises in nineteenth-century French literature and art. Her book, Work and Leisure in Late Nineteenth- Century French Literature and Visual Culture: Time, Politics and Class, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014.



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Nash Lecture Theatre

Strand

London, United Kingdom

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