Dr. Amy Shore
March 7, 2010
Allegorical Sense of La Grande Illusion
World War I was supposed to be “the war that ends all wars.” History has proven that theory wrong because as we all know, history repeats itself. The film, La Grande Illusion directed by Jean Renoir strives to prove that World War I wasn’t going to solve anything. His film is an allegorical sketch of World War I in its entirety, or any war for that matter. As the first Great War was beginning, people preached that this war was going to end war forever as it involved countries from all over the world. Renoir made an attempt to disprove this idea by creating a film that mirrored the first war as the dawn of the Second World War was beginning. An allegory is a symbolic representation of something connected to a larger picture. In this case, The Grand Illusion represents the World Wars that are said to be the be-all and end-all of war itself. The film shows no depictions or war, rather it primarily is shot in a prisoner war camp and the home of a widow who lost her husband and all of her brothers in the line of duty. The reason for the setting being in a prisoner camp is because of its familiarity when it comes to any war. That way, anyone who sees the movie from any perspective around the war can relate to the idea of war. The reason that the film shifts is focus on its prisoners to the newly widowed German woman, Elsa, is to portray the loss that comes with war. This also disproves the idea of war seeing each person as an integral part to the machine as all of Elsa’s family died in the most crucial victories of the Germans, which sends the message that her husband and brothers died for nothing. This notion branches to prove the point that war is fought for nothing.