Posted April 25 2002 - 03:04 AM
Tony, It was my first viewing of the film, and I normally don't like to give a synopsis based on one viewing but here goes. The film is set in pre-WWII France, a French aviator has just crossed the ocean and to his disappointment the woman he loves isn't there to greet him (who by the way is already married to a wealthy aristocrat). Through a mutual friend of theirs he finaggles his way into an invitation to a party at a chateau in the countryside at which he will have an opportunity to make advances on her. Her husband who is quite wealthy, is also quite a womanizer as we find out, and really neither of them are happy in the marriage, but because of society rules they stay in it. What happens over the weekend is really a comedy of errors, there are two 3-way love triangles going on - at different class levels and how they are handled by the parties involved I thought was an indictment on class in society. There are several other things that go on there as well, foreshadowing of war in Europe,and the Jews involvement in the war are eerily hinted at as well. As far as the final act goes you just have to see it yourself.
This film has been critically lauded as one of the greats by Jean Renoir. I'm sure my laymans description of this film doesn't do it justice, but like I said it was my first viewing. I have just a casual involvement with foreign films, but I found this one to be very accessible, and one that definitely could find hidden nuances in it every time you watch it. This is the first film I have seen by Jean Renoir, and I am ordering The Grand Illusion without hesitation. It is just a matter of time before Criterion releases The Rules of the Game - in which I will definitely snap this film up. I hope this helps - Regards, Jim.