Socialist Worker

La Grande Illusion

Directed by Jean Renoir, on general release

Issue No. 2298

Jean Renoir’s anti-war classic

Jean Renoir’s anti-war classic


This anti-war classic by French director Jean Renoir has been reissued in a restored print for its 75th anniversary.

It focuses on three prisoners of war during the First World War—the aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu and two lieutenants, Maréchal and Rosenthal.

Boeldieu strikes up a friendship based on his elite status with the camp commander Captain von Rauffenstein. But this rapport confuses loyalties with tragic results.

The “great illusion” of the title refers to the idea that wars can ever be noble or constructive—and to the notion that the First World War could be a “war to end all wars”.


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Tue 10 Apr 2012, 18:20 BST
Issue No. 2298
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