Memoir of War – Movie Review – The Waiting Game Can Kill You

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Memoir of War – Mélanie Thierry – Photo from Music Box Films


MEMOIR OF WAR, written by Emmanuel Finkiel is an adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ semi-autobiographical novel “The War: A Memoir.”  Distributed by Music Box Films  produced by the French company Les Films du Poisson,  it stars Mélanie Thierry as Duras and will shortly have it’s Los Angeles theatrical premiere on August 24, 2018, at the Laemmle Royal and at the Regal Edwards Westpark 8 in Orange County on August 24. Other cities will follow.


An emotionally charged story told in French with English subtitles Memoir tells Marguerite’s tale of war.  In 1944, she and her husband Robert Antelme were active resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Paris.  When her husband is captured and deported to Dachau by the Gestapo, Marguerite risks her underground cell and befriends a French collaborator Rabier (Benoit Magimel) hoping to get information about Robert.

Mélanie Thierry and Benoit Magimel staring in Memoir of War – photo from Music Box Films

Months drag on without any news.  She waits at the trains as some return from the war but Robert’s not there.


She refuses to give up and while doing so helps other wives and families in her same position, all the while hoping that she will reunite with her own husband.


While the film was interesting, it was a bit slow and the subtitles in white lettering were, at times, difficult to read against the lighter backdrops, but it definitely  emerged you into a realistic sense of the occupied city with all the danger and concern Duras feared about her husband’s fate, the war and discovery and her desperation and willingness to go as far as she could to get information about him.  Even after the liberation of Paris, she continued to wait and hope, almost to despair, as the survivors of the camps dragged back not speaking, not talking about what they had endured.


The film also stars Benjamin Biolay, Shulamit Adar, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, and Emmanuel Bourdieu.  It was an official selection at the 2017 Haifa International Film Festival, 2018 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, COLCOA French Film Festival, and the Rendez-vous with French Cinema.


Marguerite Duras was a highly successful novelist, memoirist, screenwriter, essayist and experimental filmmaker. Her script for Alain Resnais’ seminal film HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. She went on to write over 30 novels and direct 19 films. Duras won the Prix Goncourt (France’s most distinguished literary prize) for “The Lover.” “The War: A Memoir” (“La Douleur”) was written in 1944 and first published in 1985. The book has been translated and released in over 20 countries.

Memoir of War – photo from Music Box films

Award-winning writer-director Emmanuel Finkiel began his career as an assistant director to Bertrand Tavernier, Krzysztof Kieslowski, and Jean-Luc Godard. His first outing as a filmmaker, MADAME JACQUES ON THE CROISETTE, won a César Award for Best Short Film. His first feature length film, VOYAGES, which follows the travels of three elderly Jewish women whose lives were touched by the Holocaust, earned him two César Awards (Best First Film and Best Editing) and the Youth Award in Cannes. In 2008, he won the prestigious Jean Vigo Award for NOWHERE PROMISED LAND which debuted at the Locarno Film Festival. He has also directed documentaries including CASTING (2001) and JE SUIS (2012).




About Serita Stevens 54 Articles
An award winning writer of books, scripts, adaptations and teacher of writing I am also a forensic nurse and assist writers, producers, and attorneys with their medical, forensic, poison and investigative scenes in their stories or cases.

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