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Grand Illusions: French Cinema Classics, 1928–1960

Saturday, November 10, 2012
6:30 p.m. Grand Illusion
Jean Renoir (France, 1937)

New 35mm print!

(La grande 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.

Please note that parking near the PFA Theater will be in short supply due to a Saturday evening football game at Cal's Memorial Stadium.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Renoir, Charles Spaak. Photographed by Christian Matras, Claude Renoir. With Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim, Marcel Dalio. (117 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Rialto Pictures)