Leo Robson is a regular contributor to the New Statesman. (September 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

‘Everything That Is Alive in Modern Cinema’

Jean Renoir with Mel Ferrer and Ingrid Bergman on the set of Elena and Her Men, 1956

Jean Renoir: A Biography

by Pascal Mérigeau, translated from the French by Bruce Benderson, with a foreword by Martin Scorsese
In 1961, on a television program for the French network ORTF, the filmmaker Jean Renoir talked about the superior quality of primitive art. The immaculate technique displayed by Greek sculpture of the seventh and fifth centuries BCE is “perfectly boring,” he told the interviewer, Jacques Rivette. But he thought the …