Memoir of War
$12 General Admission
** France’s official selection for the Academy Awards! **
World War II, in all its theaters and formulations, is undeniably among the most filmed of cinematic subjects, and yet its portrayal continues at a steady pace. The aim, then, is to find a way to convey some part of this global strife in a way that feels enlivening. With his film Memoir of War, director Emmanuel Finkiel has found one such avenue: via one of French culture’s legends, novelist — and great director in her own right — Marguerite Duras (portrayed here by Mélanie Thierry). The film draws from her 1985 semi-autobiographical work La Douleur, which may or may not have been taken from her own diaries written during the end and immediate aftermath of WWII, and principally chronicles her interactions with multiple factions in Vichy France in an effort to liberate her husband, Resistance member Robert Antelme, from Nazi imprisonment.
Throughout, the film acquits itself with a curious blend of material urgency and emotional ambivalence, evoking Duras’s films and those of Alain Resnais (whose seminal first film Hiroshima, Mon Amour was written by Duras) in its extensive use of fragmented voiceover taken from the supposed diaries. Without erasing the shadow of the war, Memoir of War adopts an interiority and considered view that brings its period to life once more.
Description courtesy of Ryan Swen.
“Mélanie Thierry delivers a career-making turn in this compellingly austere adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ autobiographical novel.” – David Ehrlich, IndieWire
“Among its many notable achievements, Memoir of War is one of the best films I’ve seen about the ways in which grief can pull a person in both directions simultaneously.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com