A film of Lost Illusions and lost dreams

Krystina Slack

For the last few years, Augustana College has held an annual Francophone Film Festival every Thursday starting Feb. 16 and ending March 16. On March 2, the movie “Illusions Perdues” or “Lost Illusions” was shown.

“Lost Illusions” tells the story of a young, 19th century poet, Lucien, and his aspirations for greatness. Along the way, he becomes a corrupt journalist who will get what he wants at any cost. This in turn leads to his fiery downfall.

Trying to make it as an author or a journalist is a hard task. For even the greatest writers, it takes years for their work to be well-known and respected. However, there are those who take shortcuts to success such as bribery and blackmail. These writers’ careers usually come to an abrupt end when their tactics are discovered.

From the beginning of the movie, the audience knows that Lucien’s story will not have a happy ending. The narrator makes it clear that this is a story about his downfall. Knowing this from the very beginning makes Lucien’s story much more tragic, especially as the narrator turns his happy moments against him. As the watcher, no matter how much you want Lucien to succeed, you know that it will all eventually crumble around him.

Lucien has some of the most interesting character development compared to the other characters in the movie. In the beginning, the audience sympathizes with him. He’s a young man in love, and he has grand dreams. By the end of the movie, he has lost everything due to his greed and ignorance. At one point, you stop rooting for Lucien and start wanting to see the consequences of his actions. This point comes toward the end of the movie when Lucien starts to make deals behind everyone’s backs.

By the end of the movie, there are very few likable characters. Most of the relationships between each character is a relationship focused on money and power. This is especially apparent at the end of the movie. Throughout the movie, a majority of the characters showed their true colors as greedy and money-hungry people. In the end, almost everyone has stabbed each other in the back. 

Throughout “Lost Illusion,” you hold out hope that someone will do the right thing, but that almost never comes. This was a good way to show how fast people are willing to turn on one another for money and power. It also makes the good deeds in the movie stand out.

The cinematography in the movie was beautiful. Throughout the movie, the director uses imagery to show not only what the characters were feeling but to hint at what is to come for them. The best shot in the movie comes at the end when Lucien is being lifted over a table filled with food and expensive items. While this happens, the narrator is talking about his rise and how his quick downfall was just about to begin.

As a journalist and someone who is majoring in multimedia journalism and mass communications, this movie was very fun to watch. Throughout the whole movie, there was little-to-no ethical journalism. Every journalist accepted bribes and wrote what they thought was going to get them more attention. When the end of the movie came and most of the journalists were arrested for this, it was satisfying to see.

The movie not only criticized corrupt journalism, but also criticized the wealthy upper class. Lucien was constantly trying to climb the ranks of society, but those of a higher class constantly did things to undermine him. In the end, the only one to truly lose their place in society was Lucien. Everyone else got to keep their spot in the higher class and faced little-to-no repercussions for what they had done. Even though the ending is upsetting, it is an accurate reflection of today’s world. Those who have money do not get punished for the immoral and illegal things that they do.

Overall the movie was well-written and very well-directed. The movie takes place in 1820s France, but it’s still a commentary on today’s world. This movie shows the rise and fall of a young man with a dream. A story like this many people can relate to in a way, because we all have dreams and aspirations. 

The movie also serves as a warning that if you want your dreams to last you must go about them the right way. In the movie, Lucien lost his dream due to the illusion that he could climb the social ladder with bribery. In the end, he not only lost the illusion of fame and money he had gained, but he also lost his original dream to become a poet.