Directed by: Jean Renoir
Countries & Regions: United States
Length: 103 mins
Region: Region 0
Released: 13 February 2012
Cat No: ODNF337
Screen ratio 1:1.33
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This Land Is Mine
WWII drama from the great French director, Jean Renoir. Charles Laughton plays Albert Lory, a cowardly teacher at a school in occupied... Read More
As the second world war raged, Hollywood fought the good fight with a series of artful movies dramatising life in occupied Europe. This Land is Mine was Jean Renoir's contribution to the cycle: it's one of the best.
It's set in an unglamorous provincial town, in an unnamed European country not unlike the director's native France. When the Nazi invaders roll in, the locals react in different ways. Some resist, others collaborate. Schoolmaster Albert Lory (Laughton) is too cowardly to do either: he's a timid soul, dominated by his mother. But when the Nazis escalate efforts to crush the resistance, Albert discovers a courage he never knew he had.
Famously, Jean Renoir never found his rhythm in Hollywood and the American films tend to be the least regarded of his work. But, as This Land is Mine shows, any 'decline' was surely relative. No other studio film of this era understands the pain of occupation – or its compromises – so well. It shows Hollywood (if not Renoir, quite) at the top of its game.