Elusive Corporal, The

930. THE ELUSIVE CORPORAL (Le Caporal Epingle.) (1962-FRANCE). DIRECTED BY jean RENOIR, with JEAN-PIERRE CASSEL, CLAUDE BRASSEUR, O.E. HASSE. A film filled with the essence Of being French. Set in a P.O.W. camp on June 22, 1940 (the day France surrendered to Germany), the story would appear to be a return to Renoir’s 1937 masterpiece “Grand Illusion” (cat. #424). The French prisoners: the German captors; the bittersweet memories Of a France that is no more. All these remain the same, only the war has been changed. The life Of a prisoner Of the Germans is detailed with loving care, the human as well as the sadistic, the funny as well as the cruel. A French corporal is determined to escape to return to Paris and fight once again. His attempts to achieve freedom are typical Of what we would like to think Of as the human spiritÑa will to be free. His companions range from the cowardly to the despairing, and all shades between. Of particular beauty is the meek soldier with the thick glasses who really has no desire to escape, only achieve a small niche for himself to avoid the more terrible facets Of war. His ultimate fate has got to be one Of the screen’s best portraits Of a man. A taut drama Of suspense, a reassuring story Of mankind’s triumph over adversity. Recommended. Dubbed in English. 109 minutes. Drama