Cracking Gilles Deleuze’s Crystal: Narrative Space-Time in the Films of Jean Renoir

by Barry Nevin (2018)

- Renoir, Jean (1894-1979) -- Criticism and interpretation.
- Deleuze, Gilles (1925-1995) -- Influence.
- Motion pictures -- History.

Jean Renoir is widely considered as one of the most important technical in novators and politically engaged filmmakers in cinema history. Reassessing the unique qualities of Renoirs in fluential visual style by interpreting his films through Gilles Deleuzes film philosophy, and through previously unpublished production files, Barry Nevin provides a fresh and accessible interdisciplinary perspective that illuminates both the consistency and diversity of Renoirs oeuvre. Exploring canonised landmarks in Renoirs career, in cluding La Grande Illusion (1937) and La Règle du jeu (1939), the book also considers neglected films such as Le Bled (1929) and Diary of a Chambermaid (1946) to present a rounded analysis of this quintessential French auteurs oeuvre.

1. Theatrum Mundi: Framing Urban Dynamics in Renoir's Paris
2. From Desert to Dreamscape: Viewing Renoir's Rural Landscapes as Spatial Arenas
3. Portraying the Future(s) of the Front Populaire
4. Renoir's crises anti-réalistes: Framing le temps gelé
Appendix: Corpus Breakdown
Film Index
General Subject Index.

Barry Nevin is Assistant Lecturer in French at the Dublin Institute of Technology and Teaching Visitor in Film Studies at Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on French cinema of the 1930s, particularly the films of Jean Renoir, Jacques Feyder and Marcel Carné. His work has been published in a wide range of academic journals in cluding Studies in French Cinema, French Cultural Studies and the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies.


Barry Nevin has here made a significant contribution to the densely-populated field of Renoir studies and the currently thriving world of Deleuzian film theory. The work is nourished by significant archival research and extensive interdisciplinary erudition. This is a book of great importance to all serious students of Renoir.
- Professor Keith Reader, University of London Institute in Paris


Reviewed by Colin Davis.
In: French Studies 73,2 (Apr 2019), pp. 313.

This book arises out of Barry Nevin’s admiration for the portrayal of class in the films of Jean Renoir combined with his enthusiasm for the film philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Although Deleuze’s discussion of Renoir in the two volumes of Cinéma is hardly extensive, the French director’s films have a privileged status because they form a ‘cracked crystal’: nearly self-enclosed, but never pure and perfect, so that there are fissures through which time may escape and create the possibility of an open future. Nevin uses Deleuze to frame his discussion without following him on every point. He argues that Deleuze imposes a misleading unity [...].


Nevin, Barry
Cracking Gilles Deleuze’s Crystal: Narrative Space-Time in the Films of Jean Renoir.
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018, xiv, 236 p., ill., 24 cm.
ISBN 9781474426299 (hb., GBP 75,00))
ISBN 9781474426312 (epub, GBP 75,00)
ISBN 9781474426305 (pdf, GBP 75,00)
[Bibl. refs.: 218-230]