So what happens when a poor tramp collides with bourgeois society? Chaos in a comical tone ensues. Critically acclaimed French director Jean Renoir‘s film Boudu Saved From Drowning is when a rich man saves a poor tramp from his suicide attempt off a bridge and tries to reform him to blend in with the elegant and rich. Think of it kind of like a twisted My Fair Lady.
When we first see Boudu, he wears worn-out clothes and has a long, scruffy beard. He’s bourgeois society’s worst nightmare! He’s loud, rude, and doesn’t keep his dirty thoughts to himself. He hits on all of the women in the household and some probably won’t be able to blame him considering he’s only been kissed by a dog. He literally spits on the social rules that follow being a member of the rich and elegant despite the fact that one of its members of society saved his life. This film may be a farce on the poor and the rich but it doesn’t seem like Renoir is judging the rich for being the way they are. It looks as if it’s a matter of being able to take a man out of the poor life but you can’t take the poor life out of the man. No matter what, this tramp doesn’t forget who he is.
The one problem that I had with the film was that there was an implied rape scene that I feel got ignored. Like it was no big deal and everyone just forgot about it as if it’s completely natural. Did that part disturb you as much as it disturbed me? The water played an important part in the film where the stream of water shapes the destiny of the tramp whether he ends up with the rich or back where he came from. There were many beautiful shots of the water as the sunlight hits it as well as many long takes and on location sets to make the film look as natural as possible.
Watch Jean Renoir’s classic and comment what you think: