Legendary film director Orson Welles once said, “If I had to save only one film in the world, it would be Grand Illusion.”
Praised as one of the greatest films ever made, Grand Illusion is “an artistically masterful feature,” a brilliant hymn to fraternity and pacifism directed by the cult filmmaker Jean Renoir (The Rules of the Game), starring the influential Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as French soldiers held in a World War I German prison camp, and Erich von Stroheim as the unforgettable Captain von Rauffenstein. Several escape attempts follow until the two soldiers are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress from which escape seems impossible.
Grand Illusion is a timeless, vividly humanist, anti-war masterpiece which created a new genre, the POW movie, and depicts “a generous view of what happens to human beings when they’re changing, when the world is changing around them and there’s nothing they can do about it.”
The film will screen around New Zealand in what Martin Scorsese calls “a magnificent restoration we should all be grateful for,” to commemorate the centenary of World War I.