Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sight & Sound Challenge: Grand Illusion (1937)

Film: Grand Illusion (208/250)
First Time/Rewatch: First Time

Had I started with this Renoir film, I'm not sure I'd be the biggest fan of his work. There's nothing wrong with this film, necessarily, it just felt to me like an effort to connect with these characters at times. And I really enjoy Renoir's other films, so I can't help but compare this to those. That's not to say I got nothing out of this film. Like Renoir's other films, there was an affable charm in his supporting characters, and I really enjoyed Erich von Stroheim's performance. I always enjoy him in front of the camera. He has a certain reserve and awkwardness (maybe because of his accent?) that makes his performance feel genuine and relatable. This film reminded me of Joyeux Noel (2005), a film about soldiers in World War I connecting across enemy lines and finding a common bond. In this film, the differences aren't so much in nationality but in class. Officers are treated better, regardless of what country they come from, and it's easy to forget that while two characters might have found a possible friendship, this is still war. There's always bound to be heartbreak. 

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