During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.
Sergei M. Eisenstein
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Aviator André Jurieux has just completed a record-setting flight, but when he is greeted by an admiring crowd, all he can say to them is how miserable he is that the woman he loves did not come to meet him. He is in love with Christine, the wife of aristocrat Robert de la Cheyniest. Robert himself is involved in an affair with Geneviève de Marras, but he is trying to break it off. Meanwhile, André seeks help from his old friend Octave, who gets André an invitation to the country home where Robert and Christine are hosting a large hunting party. As the guests arrive for the party, their cordial greetings hide their real feelings, along with their secrets - and even some of the servants are involved in tangled relationships. Written by
Despite now being considered by historians to be one of the best films ever made, the picture almost became a lost art. Claiming that it was bad for the morale of the country (due to impending war), the French government banned the film about a month after its original release. When Germany took over France the following year, it was banned by the Nazi party as well, who also burnt many of the prints. Allied planes then accidentally destroyed the original negatives. It was thought to be a lost picture. In 1956, some followers of director Jean Renoir found enough pieces of the film scattered throughout France to reconstitute it with Renoir's help. Renoir claimed only one minor scene from the original cut was missing. See more »
When you first see Christine and Lissette, there is a man visible in Christine's dressing-table mirror. See more »
Robert de la Cheyniest:
I have no choice but to dismiss you. It breaks my heart, but I can't expose my guests to your firearms. It may be wrong of them, but they value their lives.
See more »
This is the film I usually think of as my favorite of all time. It is perhaps the closest that cinema has come to the perfection of a Mozart opera. I'm thinking of "Marriage of Figaro" and "Cosi fan Tutte" in particular as the Mozart operas most closely related to Renoir's cinema masterpiece. Like those operas, there is a masterfully proportioned blend of outrageous humor and deep pathos. It is a comedy, but it is a particularly civilized form of comedy that you will not encounter in another film, except maybe in some films of Charlie Chaplin. Above every human situation in the convoluted plot there is the all-pervading sadness for a fading civilization about to be extinguished. The ambiguities of that civilization are perfectly captured in two hours of cinematic heaven. Everything about this film is extraordinary, and I long to see it issued on DVD, and only Criterion will be able to do it justice. I hope they will turn to it soon!
27 of 49 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?