Buchsbaum, Jonathan. "Toward Victory: Left Film in France, 1930-35." Cinema Journal 25.3 (1986): 22-52.
Buchsbaum’s article outlines artists’ and intellectuals’ involvement with the popular front in France in the 1930s. Especially after the French elected their first socialist government in 1936, the changed politics of the time began to reflect changing views of the people and a shift in French culture. Buchsbaum notes that interestingly, despite cues from Soviets, the French Communist Party (PCF) did not actively seek to create propaganda films. Perhaps La Crise in 1931 was the closest, by portraying the benefits of pacifism and the brutality of war. Despite the Comintern’s consistent utilization of film and literature to promote the values of communism, the popularity of Soviet films by Eisenstein and Vertov, and the formation of Le groupe Octobre, the PCF did not seem to follow suit to the extent it could have.
Buchsbaum argues that “film sought to make interventions in the immediate political reality of the time” (22). His article is applicable to my thesis for its thorough discussion of the political situation of the time period in which Renoir created La Règle du jeu. There was truly a development of a left film culture in France, even though it may not have been taken to the clear extent of Soviet propaganda film during the same era. By analyzing the transition of French cinema culture and developments in film trends in the 1930s, Buchsbaum emphasizes the radical role of politics in filmmaking. Communism was widespread and an increasingly popular ideology, while fascism, its rival ideology, was also gaining power in countries like Germany. Though Buchsbaum only briefly mentions Renoir once, his article is paramount to understanding the political and social atmosphere of the time.