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In 1934, Jean Renoir stepped off the soundstage and headed to the South of France, where he captured vivid human drama amid the bucolic splendor and everyday social rituals of the countryside. Based on a true story and set in a community of immigrants living, working, and loving on the margins of French society, Toni follows the eponymous Italian migrant (Charles Blavette), whose tempestuous affairs with two women—the faithful Marie (Jenny Hélia) and the flirtatious Josefa (Celia Montalván)—unleash a wave of tragedy. Making use of nonprofessional actors, on-location shooting, and the resources of the great Marcel Pagnol’s Provence studio, Renoir crafted a marvel of poetic feeling that anticipated Italian neorealism and became a favorite of the directors of the French New Wave
New cover by Katherine Lam