La Grande Illusion


La Grande Illusion 2012 rerelease

La Grande Illusion celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, but Jean Renoir’s First World War drama isn’t really showing its age. The digitally restored DVD I watched was refreshingly free of all the snap, crackle and pop I used to associate with films from the 1930s. But this story also feels very contemporary in the way it combines PoW drama and romance with a meditation on the humanity rather than the mechanics of warfare. It’s also brilliantly acted and infused with a wry humour.

You could think of La Grande Illusion as a forerunner to The Great Escape. Instead of Steve McQueen, we have the dashing Jean Gabin as fighter pilot Lt Maréchal, who is captured with his fellow officer, the patrician Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay). As de Boeldieu prepares for their fateful mission, he’s offered a choice between a flying suit and a jacket: “I don’t mind…

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By sumitta2012

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