Cinema giant on screen

Skip the latest 3-D box office gimmick and get acquainted with one of cinema’s giants this month.

François Truffaut called Jean Renoir’s body of work “the most alive films in the history of the cinema, films which still breathe 40 years after they were made.”

BAM celebrates that legacy with a five-week retrospective of the late French director’s work.

A prolific and enduring filmmaker, Renoir started his craft in the silent era, graduating to sound and then color, without his films ever losing their power.

Twenty-one of Renoir’s films, including the masterpieces, “Grand Illusion,” a World War I drama, and the society spoof, “The Rules of the Game,” will be screened.

Other festival highlights include his early silent works such as “Nana,” accompanied by live piano, 1930s classics such as “Boudu Saved from Drowning” and “La bête humaine,” Technicolor spectacles like “The River” and “French Cancan,” and rarely screened American features such as “The Southerner,” made while the director was in Hollywood exile during World War II. That one, of course, will be in English.

Jean Renoir retrospective at BAM Rose Cinema [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100] runs April 9-May 11. Tickets $12 ($8 members). For info, visit www.bam.org.

— Meredith Deliso