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Of Jean Renoir's "La Regle du jeu" (1939), Richard Roud noted: 'if France were destroyed tomorrow and nothing remained but this film, the whole country and its civilization could be reconstructed from it'. This is an extravagant claim, but one that in the view of Keith Reader is justified. In this original, up-to-date, scrupulously documented book on one of the great films of world cinema, Reader focuses on "La Regle du jeu" in the context of both the time in which it was made and the currents of intertextuality by which it is traversed. He examines sequences from the film itself, its themes, reception and critical approaches and readings. He also explores its extraordinary subversive charge and its dynamic effect on subsequent generations of filmmakers, including Alain Resnais and Robert Altman. This is the essential companion to "La Regle du jeu", demonstrating as it does why this film remains so central to French cinema and to the history of French and indeed European culture.