Grand Illusion

Grand Illusion

The African-French soldier shows them his pictures, and they turn him away. They just ignore him, and in that simple moment, Renoir's film transcends from a simple morality tale, rises above its themes and critiques of politics. It almost silently reveals its awareness of the depth of humanity's flaws as even the heroes in this melodramatic war story can't be the paragons of acceptance or fellowship that Renoir clearly believes humans can be. He spells it out a bit later, showing the parallels between the French and German aristocrats, the antisemitism and classism of the German officer, the antisemitism of the French officers, and so on and so forth. Bonds form between the prisoners, bonds that ultimately prove a salvation of sorts for them, but in a single moment he says that we have a long, long way to go.

December count: 80/100

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