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Robert, however, has a mistress of his own, whom he invites to a weekend hunting party at his country home, along with André and his friend Octave (played by Jean Renoir himself).
Meanwhile, the hired help have their own game of musical beds going on: a poacher is hired to work as a servant at the estate and immediately makes plans to seduce the gamekeeper's wife, while the gamekeeper recognizes him only as the man who's been trying to steal his rabbits.
Among the upper classes, infidelity is not merely accepted but expected; codes are breached not by being unfaithful, but by lacking the courtesy to lie about it in public.
The weekend ends in a tragedy that suggests that this way of life may soon be coming to an end.
André Jurieu (Roland Toutain), a French aviation hero, has fallen in love with Christine de la Chesnaye (Nora Gregor), who is married to wealthy aristocrat Marquis Robert de la Chesnaye (Marcel Dalio).In an impassioned, inspirational school address — the kind to which you know the film is building from its first frame — he finally hints at broader understanding: “You’re all freaks too — isn’t that what being a teenager is all about? With: Alex Lawther, Ian Nelson, Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler, Celia Weston, Larry Pine, Anna Sophia Robb, Willa Fitzgerald, Eddie Schweighardt, Laverne Cox, John Mc Enroe.” It’s a tardy glimmer of solidarity in what’s otherwise aggressively, even oppressively, a glitter-strewn one-man show. Introductory scenes illustrate the formative influence of his hedonistic mother Mauvine (an auto-vamping Midler), described as “a living testament to grace, glamour and Gucci,” though his vast, expensive collection of drag outfits — ranging in inspiration from Adam Ant to the Little Mermaid — might just put her closet to shame.
Yet this gilded childhood — lit in suitably luxe fashion by cinematographer Dante Spinotti — soon hits a gray wall.“Buckle up, darlings,” warns Billy Bloom, the adolescent protagonist of “Freak Show,” with his most salacious Bette Davis sneer.“I’m gonna take you on a little ride I call my life.” For a second, you sense some affectionate irony in Trudie Styler’s well-intentioned but woolly directorial debut: After all, many’s the privileged suburban teenager who has declared their life wilder and wackier than anyone else’s.The sharply-cut hunting sequence makes clear that Renoir avoided more complex editing schemes by choice, believing that long takes created a more lifelike rhythm and reduced the manipulations of over-editing.