Jean Renoir's cinematic masterpiece La Grande Illusion (1937) tells the story of two French prisoners-of-war escaping through Germany towards France during the First World War. Its themes of loyalties divided by class, racial and national identities and the conflict between patriotism and pacifism made it particularly compelling and controversial on its release in the last days of the French Popular Front. Julian Jackson's study of the film places it in the historical context of France in the late 1930s, and also addresses the film's unforgettable character studies and its unusual structure, with the narrative divided into a series of self-contained set pieces.
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About the Author
Julian Jackson is Professor of Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London. His publications include The Dark Years 1940-1944 which was shortlisted for the 2002 Los Angeles Times history book prize, and The Fall of France won 2004 Wolfson Prize for history. He is the editor of The Short Oxford History of Europe 1900-1945.
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...clear, to the point and packed with black and white stills...' Total Film
'...Jackson's commentary on the film is passionate and informed...' - H-France Review