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Renoir's La Grande Illusion (1937). An Ambiguous Masterpiece

A lecture by Dr Martin O'Shaughnessy as part of the FilmTalk Lecture Series at The Wiener Library

Widely seen as the greatest anti-war film, Renoir's 'La Grande Illusion' was initially seen as bravely anti-racist, not least because it gave a starring role to Jewish actor Marcel Dalio. After the Second World War, it would be accused of latent antisemitism in the way French Officer Rosenthal was portrayed, an accusation that still lingers. Why this ambiguity? And what do we make of the unacknowledged Jewishness of the famous Austrian actor Erich von Stroheim in the role of the Prussian officer von Rauffenstein?

Martin O'Shaughnessy is Reader in Film Studies at Nottingham Trent University. He has written widely on French film and is the author of Jean Renoir (Manchester University Press 2000) and The New Face of Political Cinema (Berghahn 2007). He has just completed a book on La Grande Illusion for I. B. Tauris.


Dr Martin O'Shaughnessy | talks


Date and Time:

18 March 2009 at 7:00 pm


2 hours



The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide
29 Russell Square
020 7636 7247

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