Thursday, April 16, 2009

La Grande Illusion (1937)

Last night, I finished watching La Grande Illusion, a masterpiece of world cinema. I quite enjoyed the film. It is supposively anti-war but the two things that struck me about the film were the conservative themes of religion, and honor and chivalry. I suppose these two things were the illusions that the film's titles refers to. But I found the gentlemanly conduct of the officers to be a much more civilized way of dealing with human conflict than the emphatic and understanding ways Obama and his ilk have of dealing with conflict now. The officers in the movie recognize that each has a job to do. The captors recognize the p.o.w.'s must try to escape. There is an understanding between both, a gentleman's understanding. Everyone at the same time hates the war and can hardly wait for it to end. But no one descends to the barbarity of "can't we all get along?". The film has some fantastic shots of mountain scenery. The multi-lingual aspect of the film was quite enjoyable for me because I found I could pick up on a lot of the French that was spoken. It was also interesting to see English as a foreign language. The film was a prison escape movie that reminded me of the Great Escape. The hero in the poster to the left could easily have been a French Steve McQueen - the camera was in love with him

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