Jonathan Romney

Universal Uncle

Jean Renoir: Reflections of Paradise


Bloomsbury 372pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Film directors usually make the least promising subjects for biography. They tend to stay behind the camera and get on with making films, emerging only to make the odd promotional statement. Only rarely is a filmmaker’s public persona interesting enough to merit biographical interest, and some pay off the attention handsomely. What biographer could resist anatomising the peccadillos of Hitchcock, the neuroses (or conceivably worse) of Woody Allen, the anguished vagaries of Polanski? These directors, in any case, were themselves sufficiently absorbed in their own image to cross over to the other side of the camera and display themselves for public delectation.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,