"Out there, children play soldier...In here, soldiers play like children."
24 April 2016
LA GRANDE ILLUSION is one of the biggest accomplishment of French and world cinema. Anti-war theme is shown in a rather strange way. Senselessness of war is the essence. At a frivolous (human) and non-violent way emerged the war illusion. Human relations during the war, the loss of any meaning and value. This is a strange story about human relationships in a time of war.

Prisoners of war camps. The camps in the war could be called hell on Earth. Here are just illusions. Renoir gives us a work of art that explores the depth and complexity of human relationships. One difficult and undesirable topics is presented with a lot of modesty and charm.

In the film's social status is reduced to a minimum. The soldiers are essential and a little crazy. The relationship between prisoners and soldiers is almost friendly. Full of patience and respect. War is man's ultimate folly, for it brings him losses that are permanent, and victories that are pyrrhic and short lived.

Scenography and acting are excellent. Watch Gabin (Lieutenant Maréchal) and Fresnay (Captain de Boeldieu) is a real pleasure. Erich von Stroheim (Captain - Major von Rauffenstein) is quite realistic figure and around him is spinning an illusion and absurdity of everyday life. Dita Parlo as Elsa appears briefly but leaves a strong impression. There are so many different and important characters who acting with a lot of freedom and creativity. Renoir reveals every aspect of his characters.

This film is full of humanism, heroism, drama and adventure. All of these features are mixed in a war illusion in which is hard to believe, but it's very nice to see and feel. A little comedy of manners is welcome, romance also.

Whether it is or not, the film tells us that men can act nobly, even when they are a part of something that is not itself noble. Mankind must rise from ruin. Unfortunately, to this day all is one La Grande Illusion.
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