Though banned in WWII Italy and Germany, this WWI-set film was heralded for its strikingly complex regard for the human condition, irrespective of the characters’ class, nationality or politics. Renoir’s lingering long shots, allowing subtle detail to seep through, remain hauntingly powerful today. Co-written by Charles Spaak, it stars Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim (in a touchingly stoic role as an aristocratic German officer) and Dita Parlo.
Presented by the Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI
La Grande Illusion
Renoir’s most internationally celebrated film tells the tale of two French soldiers imprisoned in a German POW camp. After a failed escape attempt, they are sent to what seems like an impenetrable fortress.