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851 Ratings

Boudu Saved from Drowning

Boudu sauvé des eaux

Directed by Jean Renoir
France, 1932


Michel Simon gives one of the most memorable performances in screen history as Boudu, a Parisian tramp who takes a suicidal plunge into the Seine and is rescued by a well-to-do bookseller.

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Boudu Saved from Drowning Directed by Jean Renoir
Boudu is dragged into [civilized society] by a bourgeois bookseller who hopes to “save” him from his “plight.” But instead of praise Boudu brings chaos, destabilizing the household from within. Simon closely collaborated with director Jean Renoir on the production, and it is a tour de force performance, with Simon a loose-limbed satyr, extending his gangly frame in all the wrong directions so as to most annoy his hosts.
May 16, 2017
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For a film that is frequently characterized as an unequivocal cherry bomb dropped in the toilet of middle-class airs (a stance fuelled by Simon’s blowsy, sensual, canonical performance as Boudu), Renoir’s portrayal of the otherwise pathetic Lestingois is surprisingly warm.
March 01, 2013
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Unlike [Beasts of the Southern Wild’s] preternaturally wise tot, however, there’s nothing simple about Boudu, who functions as both a potent metaphor of nonconformity and a cautionary figure. He exists somewhere between Borzage’s poor and Browning’s freaks, a social casualty not willing to be gawked at.
July 30, 2012
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