Director: Jean Renoir
Cast: Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay
In French and German, with English subtitles
I saw this film more than a decade ago in one of the annual editions of Cine Europa at EDSA Shangrila Mall. I can't remember if I walked out or finish the film despite some technical glitches. The projectionist couldn't adjust the aspect ratio of the film so that it would fit the screen well. In one iteration, the subtitles would be out of frame. In another, the audience could read the subtitles but the characters on the scenes were headless. There were also instances where the sound dialogues were either inaudible or out of sync.
It looks like the first time seeing it in this recent viewing. Except for Jean Gabin's face, all the other actors and characters and scenes look new to me. I can't remember any of the scenes.
The central characters in the film are two French soldiers, both officers, are captured by the German forces and imprisoned in a camp. This is a kind of war film that treats the characters - the captured and the captures - as humans. So, the film succeeds in its exposition of the relationships among the prisoners (despite their ranks) and their unanimous plan and collective effort to escape. But just before they can even use the 'tunnel' that they have been digging for more than months already, they will be transferred to a new camp with an impenetrable fortress.
I can't say that the film is anti-war. In some aspect maybe it is. But is more concerned with the drama involving the characters than with the war.
Date seen: March 30, 2013