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Must End Tuesday, September 11
4:25 ONLY

Emmanuel Finkiel's haunting and hypnotic adaptation of seminal author Marguerite Duras’s autobiographical novel The War: A Memoir. In 1944 Nazi-occupied France, Marguerite Duras (Mélanie Thierry) is an active Resistance member along with her husband Robert Antelme. When he is deported to Dachau by the Gestapo, she dives into a desperate struggle to get him back, and enters into a high-risk game of psychological cat and mouse with French Nazi collaborator Rabier (Benoît Magimel). But as the months wear on without word of the man she loves, Marguerite must begin the process of confronting the unimaginable. Through subtly expressionistic images and voiceover passages of Duras’s writing, Finkiel evokes the inner world of one of the 20th century’s most revolutionary writers.



“An expressively filmed tale of anguish and betrayal. A clear-eyed vision of history… (that) works best when there’s tension between the inner thoughts of Marguerite and outside forces that require her to take action. After she meets the eager collaborator who arrested her husband, they commence an intellectual seduction that explores the iron grip and tenuous grasp of power.”
– Serena Donadoni, Village Voice

“A serious, high-minded film… infused with Duras’s words.”
– Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

“The film is obliquely but innately about writing and how it provides a means of survival.  While the film begins with the pat rhythms of a wartime thriller, setting up its heroes and villains, it eventually loosens into an atmospheric psychodrama. The film’s true power lives in Thierry’s performance, specifically her commanding, square-jawed face. Her restrained channeling of Duras grounds the war as a private cataclysm rather than something devouring the entire world.”
– Zack Hatfield, Artforum

“Powerfully evokes...a crucial, often-mythicized moment of twentieth-century French history. [Mélanie] Thierry’s is a transformative performance; she has simply never been better. In many respects the most sophisticated and accomplished film of [Emmanuel] Finkiel’s cinematic career.”
– Stuart Liebman, Cineaste

“Absorbing. Grinding suspense. Utterly compelling. Melanie Thierry leaps toward the front echelons of current French actresses with her riveting turn as Marguerite Duras.”
– Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“A great film. Melanie Thierry is a revelation as Marguerite.”
– Dustin Chang, Screen Anarchy

Film Forum