La Grande Illusion
The Surrealists were not the only artists to seize upon cinema. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s son, Jean, gave up ceramics to pursue a career as a director. Frequently lauded as one of the greatest directors of all time, his 1937 film La Grande Illusion is one of his best-loved works. Screening at this year’s Australian French Film Festival, La Grande Illusion explores life in a prison camp during WWI.
Jean Renoir was passionate about the film’s anti-war message: “a question…so important today that if we don’t solve it, we will just have to say ‘goodbye’ to our beautiful world,” he said. Yet both the German and French Governments banned La Grande Illusion early in WWII, feeling it would undermine morale.
La Grande Illusion advertising poster
by Bernard Lancy (1937)