Grand Illusion

In Renoir's masterful study of friendship amid the false and barbarous constructs of state, a group of WWI prisoners and their captors find common ground. In this war film without battles, Renoir's subtle observation is that, even were the senseless divisions of nations to dissolve, those of class might indeed persist. On the bright side, this means there is always a place for actors like Eric von Stroheim, brilliantly cast in the role of the Prussian nobleman hiding emotion, even delicacy, behind a uniform; and Jean Gabin, whose proletarian hero takes all the risks and is rewarded with the love of a woman, his comrades, and the film audience. 

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