Toni (1935 film)

Toni is a 1935 French drama film directed by Jean Renoir and starring Charles Blavette, Celia Montalván and Édouard Delmont. It is an early example of the casting of non-professional actors and on-location shooting - both of which would influence the Left Bank of the French New Wave movement. Examining the romantic interactions between a group of immigrants (both from abroad and other parts of France) working around a quarry and a farm in Provence, it is also generally considered a major precursor to the Italian neorealist movement. Luchino Visconti, one of the founding members of the later film movement, was assistant director on the film. It was based out of Marcel Pagnol's studios in Marseille and shot entirely on location in the South of France.[1]

Original Movie Poster
Directed byJean Renoir
Produced byPierre Gaut
Written byJean Renoir
Carl Einstein
story by Andre Levert
StarringCharles Blavette
Celia Montalván
Jenny Hélia
Édouard Delmont
Max Dalban
Music byPaul Bozzi
CinematographyClaude Renoir
Edited byMarguerite Renoir
Suzanne de Troeye
Distributed byFilms Marcel Pagnol
Release date
22 February 1935
USA, 4 November 1936
Running time
90 mins.

Although Toni is not among Renoir's most famous works, it continues to receive positive reviews from critics.


Looking for a job Toni goes from Italy to Southern France. A local woman named Marie takes him in as her tenant and becomes his lover. But when the Spanish guestworker Josepha comes to town, Toni falls for her. To his disappointment Josepha has a wedding with a wealthier man. So Toni marries Marie after all but he cannot hide that Josepha was his greatest love. After Marie has thrown him out of her house he is determined to see Josepha again. He finds her on a farm in the mountains where she lives with her increasingly abusive husband. Josepha is about to run away and for that purpose she steals money from her spouse who catches and hits her. While Toni is around she kills the man. Toni sacrifices himself in order to cover up for her.



Toni has received positive reviews from critics since its release; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports 100% approval among six critics. The acclaimed filmmaker Wes Anderson has named Toni as a favorite film of his.[2] In April 2019, a restored version of the film was selected to be shown in the Cannes Classics section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


  1. O'Shaughnessy p.86
  2. Goodsell, Luke (June 8, 2012). "Five Favorite Films with Wes Anderson". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  3. "Cannes Classics 2019". Festival de Cannes. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.


  • O'Shaughnessy, Martin. Jean Renoir. Manchester University Press, 20 Oct 2000.

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