Grand Illusion (1937)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Original title:  La Grande Illusion

France, 1937Réalisation d’art cinématographique. Screenplay by , Jean Renoir.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  Podcasts:  My Criterions.  

One of the most awe-inspiring war movies ever made is this Jean Renoir classic, one of the few war films not to feature a single battle scene. Instead it concentrates on the personal relationships that go on between enemies in a seemingly ‘gentlemanly’ war: Frenchmen  and  are held prisoner in German POW camps, but their kindhearted overseer () still takes pains to go through all highly bred formalities with them. is excellent in a supporting role as a German farmer who takes the two in after they escape from the camp, even though her own husband was killed on the battlefield by the French. Renoir’s marvelous film ably raises questions of just who is in the right when war is brought about, and humankind’s inability to completely lose their humanity when involved in them.

The Criterion Collection:  #1

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Picture

Venice Film Festival: In Competition


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