Armes, Roy. "The Paradoxes of French Realism." French Cinema. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985: 86-108.
Roy Armes takes a slightly different approach to analyzing Rules of the Game and the works of Renoir than my other sources. He starts off by saying that Renoir's works are not united by a common style. He, instead, characterizes Renoir's films as existing between contradictory impulses, in a state of tension. He suggests viewing and analayzing each of Renoir's films separately, each in its own contemporary setting. Armes believes this is necessary as Renoir proved to be greatly influenced by each shift, however miniscule, within French society before WWII. Each major political event in the European world of the 1930s can be seen as part of one of Jean Renoir's films. Armes acclaims Rules of the Game as Renoir's most impulsive, uninhibited work that toys with reality and illusion and also provides a "self-portrait of rare depth" (107). Armes describes the theatrical techniques used by Renoir and the 'dramatic fantasy' that he creates by forming several 'play within a play' structures. Armes believes that each pivotal moment in the film arises when two incongruously linked characters are brought together - a technique that both readily induces dramatic conflict within the film and obviously mirrors conflict within society, providing a clear juxtaposition to the imposing 2nd World War.
This article provides a different perspective from which to view the film. Unlike many other critics that group Renoir's films together as a continuous social critique, Roy Armes underlines the importance of viewing each film separately. If Renoir were truly sensitive to changes in French culture, each of his films would embody a different viewpoint and radiate an entirely different spirit. It is very important, as Armes suggests, to analyze each film in its own contemporary setting. Thus, Rules of the Game should not be immediately compared to Renoir's other works as it often is. Armes also brings up the possibility that the film was, for Renoir, something of a self portrait. This provides countless new options for viewing the film and thus, Jean Renoir. For instance, we can learn alot about Renoir and his intentions by studying the character of Octave. Paradoxically, watching the film and analyzing the character will help viewers better understand the filmmaker and, thus, his intentions with the film. The article also suggests that Renoir uses a 'dramatic fantasy' technique in order to artfully bury his political beliefs in a complicated web of relationships. Knowing this technique helps one extract Renoir's intended messages from the film.