Grand Illusion

Jul 13 - Jul 19, 2012

(Jean Renoir, France, 1937, 35mm, 114 min)

New 35mm Print! 

Often cited in the same breath with Citizen Kane as the best film ever made, Grand Illusion was produced two years before Europe plunged into World War II. The great French director Jean Renoir’s antiwar masterpiece argues that people of every nationality and class are essentially good, and that humanity transcends race, language and uniforms. What may sound naive and quaint in summary is stirring and unforgettable onscreen. Set among French officers in WWI German POW camps, the film ponders several illusions, some glorious, some merely large. There are not many cobwebs on this seventy-five-year-old film, whose energy, economical storytelling and powerful intelligence are undimmed by the passage of time. Now it's better than ever, available in a pristine print and a must-see for serious film lovers. 

"a film that's considered by many critics to be the king of all cinema...why do you feel a sense of urgency after seeing this movie? Because it is about something: It's an anti-war film; it's a film about how human truths (our universality, our capacity for love, our dependency on one another) have been distorted by those in power. This is the grand illusion-war and exploitation is not our natural state. Now that is something you can think about!" -The Stranger

"The essential spirit of Renoir's classic has never dimmed through decades of being projected on bedsheets for college film societies or viewed on deteriorating VHS. Opposing the tectonic grinding of political movements with simple humanity, The Grand Illusion's heroic eminence is the nearest thing cinema has to a lone Tienanmen Tank Man." -Seattle Weekly

<Back to Calendar