Faulkner, Christopher, and Jean Renoir. "Jean Renoir Addresses the League of American Writers." Film History 8.1, Cinema and Nation (1996): 64-71.
Faulkner’s commentary in combination with Renoir’s own address to the League of American Writers offers insight into the political ideologies of the filmmaker. Faulkner begins by describing the political atmosphere of the era and the environment in which Renoir gave his 1943 speech. The League of American Writers (LAW) was an organization of left-leaning intellectuals who gathered in blatant censure of fascism. LAW was considered to be a key player in the American popular front alliance. Renoir’s involvement with the organization is testament not only to his political beliefs but also reveals the many artists and intellectuals he was associated with. These individuals had likely great influences on the filmmaker. For example, Renoir collaborated with Dudley Nichols on This Land is Mine in 1943, which revealed both individuals’ opinions on working class struggles and criticisms of fascism. Renoir’s speech to LAW would, in fact, draw parallels from dialogue in this film.
Renoir’s speech would be a great complement to my thesis because it is clearly a description of the filmmaker’s political views. It is clear that he was extremely left-leaning in ideology, associated with communists and other liberal thinkers, and made a point to fight back against the fascist regimes that were gaining power in the 1930s and 1940s. Renoir was also extremely nationalist and prideful of his home country of France. He encouraged solidarity and the need to love fellow citizens in order to love citizens of other nations. Faulkner’s discussion of Renoir’s politics brings to light the important role the political environment of the 1930s and 1940s played in the creation of Renoir’s films. His discussion of Renoir’s attitudes towards the interplay of politics and art is equally significant and relevant to my argument.