La Grande Illusion

La Grande Illusion

Aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu, mechanic Lieutenant Marechal and wealthy Jewish banker Rosenthal are all thrown together, despite their vastly different backgrounds, as prisoners of the Germans in World War I. Separated by a successful escape, they are recaptured and reunited in an imposing fortress commanded by German aristocrat Van Rauffenstein. Boeldieu and Rauffenstein strike up a friendship that reflects their belonging to a cultural and social elite that they both know is on the way out. However this rapport soon confuses loyalties and threatens Boeldieu's allegiances to the others, with tragic consequences. 4.9 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
La Grande Illusion

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Drama, War
Director Jean Renoir
Cast Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay Eric von Stroheim
Studio Studio Canal UK
Release Date April 2012
Running Time 114 mins
 

Aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu, mechanic Lieutenant Marechal and wealthy Jewish banker Rosenthal are all thrown together, despite their vastly different backgrounds, as prisoners of the Germans in World War I. Separated by a successful escape, they are recaptured and reunited in an imposing fortress commanded by German aristocrat Van Rauffenstein. Boeldieu and Rauffenstein strike up a friendship that reflects their belonging to a cultural and social elite that they both know is on the way out. However this rapport soon confuses loyalties and threatens Boeldieu's allegiances to the others, with tragic consequences.

Reviews

Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

This is less hectoring than most anti-war films, but nevertheless makes a lasting statement.

02/04/2012

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The Evening Standard

The Evening Standard

Tells the truth about life better than a dozen documentaries.

05/04/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

Renoir’s drama about First World War fortunes and the demise of Old Europe holds up sublimely: better, even, than La Règle du jeu, which is more often called his crowning achievement.

05/04/2012

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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

Such sharply political films are rarely so entertaining, natural and humane.

05/04/2012

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Total Film

Tom Dawson

It remains a compassionate, ambiguous work: an anti-war drama that doesn’t contain a single battlefield scene and a tribute to internationalism that respects the rituals and codes of a dying aristocratic order.

26/03/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

The "grand illusion" of Jean Renoir's great film ... that the supposed financial advantage of war is a falsehood. For Renoir this illusion evolves into something more complex and various, and so does its tragic and ironic grandeur. The idea that wars can be fought according to gentlemanly rules is an illusion – like the belief that the 1914-1918 conflict was the war to end all wars.

05/04/2012

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The Times

Wendy Ide

This is the prisoner of war escape movie which influenced every film which followed it. It’s also an elegant study of a society in flux.

06/04/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmos Landesman

The prisoners’ friendships, and the conversations between an aristocratic inmate (Pierre Fresnay) and his counterpart among his captors (Erich von Stroheim), are depicted with a feeling for humour, pathos and irony.

08/04/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

La Grande Illusion is an optimistic, elegiac tragedy, looking at the great war and the crucial changes it wrought.

08/04/2012

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