[Le Caporal Epinglé], Renoir's Grande Illusion of World War Two, is the wickedly and tenderly witty chronicle of a prisoner-of-war's persistent attempts to escape from a German prison camp after the fall of France in 1940, against odds as unbendingly hostile as any Buster Keaton ever had to face…. Every foot of the film is shot through with the endearing stamp of Renoir's personality, just as irreverent as the nouvelle vague, and a good deal more loving.
This is a very funny film, but also a very moving one, in which Renoir catwalks the tragi-comic line with delicate balance. The opening sequence, after establishing shots of the aerial bombardment of France and the signing of...
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