With Renoir at the height of his later artifice, this completes what was effectively a trilogy begun by The Golden Coach and French Cancan, exploring both the glorious innocence of the past and the power of theatrical illusion. A prancing ballet of love's surprises, set amid the military manoeuvres and Quatorze Juillet carnivals of France in the 1880s, it is sheer delight as Bergman's entrancing Polish princess (or goddess from Olympus) weaves her spell over destiny to inspire men to fame and fortune until - in a magnificent coup de théâtre - she is herself finally trapped and rendered human by love. Fantasy, yes, but hardly escapist in the astonishing pertinence with which it reduces the hawkish military and political ambitions of the day to derisory farce while demonstrating the infallibility with which love goes on making the world go round.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Jean Renoir, Jean Serge|