La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937)
I was reminded today, almost three years following my initial viewing, of how much of a timeless masterpiece Renoir’s pacifist WWI prison-comedy-drama is. Dealing, as the title points to, with the man-made definitions and illusions surrounding war and nation, La Grande Illusion is, among many other things, about the importance of friendship and the depth of the human spirit in times of adversity. The kind of film that teaches elementary, valuable and most touching lessons about being a decent human being, I cannot help but to hark back to the primal experience of watching a film like Seven Samurai (1954) and feeling like you’ve learned more about the human condition through its impeccably flawed characters than in your whole cumulative experience of real life. Similarly brilliantly shot, Renoir handles space through the relationship of fluid long takes and extremely busy set pieces that, in the words of André Bazin, become significant through the relationship between what they disclose and what they leave hidden within the frame. Uncanny, given my recent obsession with Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s cinema, which functions similarly to much more horrific effects.
posted: 10 October 2012 @ 22:41
# of notes: 3