Finally released in 1946, ten years after it was shot, Jean Renoir's Partie de campagne was hailed as an 'unfinished masterpiece'. Since then, his masterly adaptation on a Maupassant story has grown in reputation to the point where it has become Renoir's best-loved film.
On an idyllic country picnic, a young girl leaves her family and fiancé for a while, and succumbs to an all-too-brief romance. Shot on location on the banks of two small tributaries of the Seine, Renoir's sensuous tribute to the countryside - and to the river - has seldom been surpassed.
In its bitter-sweet lyricism, its tenderness and poetic feel for nature, its tolerant satire of bourgeois conventions and its poignant sense of the transience of innocence and love, Partie de campagne seems to distil the essence of all that is most personal of Renoir's art.