La Marseillaise

Made after Grand Illusion and before The Rules of the Game, Renoir's La Marseillaise has long languished in the shadow of the two great human comedies. Until a few years ago it was available only in a mangled 80-minute version, which barely suggested its ambitions and achievements as a politically astute historical spectacle. Produced for the Popular Front, the film views the French Revolution from a class perspective, through the eyes of the artisans and farmers of Marseilles who volunteered for a shock battalion to march to Paris where the revolution was threatened by revanchist aristocrats. Of all cineastes, Renoir is the most universal in his humanism and compassion for the outcast, the oppressed. The fraternal comradery of Renoir's heroes is a dominant theme in La Marseillaise: in fact, the masses of ordinary Frenchmen devoted to the Revolution in La Marseillaise are probably Renoir's most authentic heroes.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.