In 1985, the preeminent French writer Marguerite Duras made headlines
by publishing La Douleur, an autobiographical work about her life
under the Nazi Occupation and during the Liberation of Paris, notably
focused on the frenzied months she spent waiting for news of her husband
Robert Antelme’s return from a concentration camp in Germany.
More than thirty years later, writer-director Emmanuel Finkiel rises to
the challenge of adapting this instant though controversial classic to
the screen by being faithful to Duras both as a writer and as a person.
Finkiel honors Duras’s writing by propelling the story with a voiceover
intelligently crafted from her own words. As for Duras the person, she
is brought to life in a magnetically raw performance by Mélanie Thierry,
one of the French cinema’s most honest, powerful performers.
Finkiel designs his mise-en-scène around her presence, privileging
her perspective and sensations through a masterful use of focus (and
lack of it). Far from just another movie about the Occupation and its
legacy, A Memoir of War is a rare opportunity to see and feel through
the eyes not only of a genius but a woman who was immersed in the
historical tumult of her time.
French with English subtitles
DCP, DVD, Blu-Ray
Music Box Films