‘Renoir” doesn’t get much beneath the surface. But, good God, what a surface.
A leisurely paced Great Artist drama about the last years of an Impressionist giant, this French import is set on the Cote D’Azur in the summer of 1915, when the palette of nature has run riot. The shots bloom with ochers and vermilions and siennas and ceruleans, brushed onto the screen by master cinematographer Mark Ping Bing Lee (“In the Mood for Love”). There are camera pans across a row of freshly caught fish and gleaming ripe peppers, the latter chopped up by women singing ancient peasant songs. Sensuousness is the film’s theory and practice, its subject and objective, and the results come awfully close to synesthesia. This is a movie bent on capturing the sound of the sunlight and the tints of the breeze.