In an effort to rejuvenate my thirst for film I have partaken on an ambitious endeavor. I have decided to compile my list of 100 favorite films, “rewatch” them, and write a brief review. I encourage you to follow along.

87.

La Grande Illusion (Renoir, 1937)

Jean Renoir has said La Grande Illusion is about relationships in a war fought almost entirely by gentlemen. In depicting such poignant, but all together casual relationships, between gentlemen in war, Renoir poses the idea that war itself is the beast, perhaps birthed by man, but man is not defined by his creation, however ugly it may be. We are introduced to men on both sides of the line struggling, not to tame the beast of war, but to rise above it. We see in strained conversations between soldiers the refusal to give in to anger and judgement, and a calm sympathy between the weary.

Though the film was made at just the cusp of World War II, Le Grande Illusion serves as a solemn reminder of what was lost in the second war, and what can never be salvaged.

– James Merolla

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