Dir: Jean Renoir|France|1937|113 mins|U tbc
"One of the true masterpieces of the screen." Pauline Kael
Screening on its 75th anniversary in a gorgeous digital restoration, this is justly considered one of the greatest pacifist films of all time. Envisaged after the slaughter and destruction of WWI, its contemporary resonance also rests on something else beyond its anti-war message.
It’s not just the haunting star performances of Gabin and Von Stroheim, or the at once witty and horrific detail of camp life that makes this film so compelling. Something dark and chilling lies just under the surface of Jean Renoir’s incisive social portrait of prisoners of war pulling together for their heroic bid for freedom. The meaning is in the title.
The illusion is not just that post-war peace can be permanent, but the film tells us that the liberty, equality and fraternity engendered in the lacunae of such wholesale destruction of humanity seems only possible in the face of such horror.
Once the war is over the escapees will find themselves once more at the bottom of the social ladder as if their heroism, leadership and courage had never existed.
It’s this ambiguity at the heart of the film that has ensured La Grande Illusion’s continuing relevance and place in the pantheon of cinema.
“Why cultural film is no longer a secret, independent cinema is thriving against the odds, says the ICO's Catherine Des Forges, and closer to home than Hollywood”
Read the full article on the Culture Professionals Blog, The Guardian
3rd Floor, Kenilworth House, 79-80 Margaret Street, London W1W 8TA
T: 020 7636 7120 F: 020 7636 7121 E: email@example.com
Registered in England and Wales. Company 5369193.ICO is a registered charity No. 1109053
Follow us on Twitter