Memoir of War

Directed by Emmanuel Finkiel, the film focuses on Marguerite Duras (played by Mélanie Thierry), whose husband Robert Antelme (Émmanuel Bourdieu) is arrested as a member of the French Resistance during World War II. Marguerite takes his clothes to the authorities so that he will have something to wear while incarcerated and meets an agent of the German occupation, Pierre Robier (Benoît Magimel), who not only promises that the clothing will be sent to her husband but also wants to keep in touch with her about new developments regarding his imprisonment, seemingly interested in a relationship with her. Marguerite’s repeated contact with Robier has an ulterior motive—to get her to rat on other members of the Resistance in exchange for better treatment of her husband. She refuses the gambit but feels obligated to see Robier so that nothing untoward will happen to her husband. But as the Allied armies win, Robier tries to make the case that he was a gentleman, not deserving of postwar punishment. Then prisoners are released to her friends, but she is in suspense about the condition of her husband. The waiting period turns out to be more agonizing for audiences than the Resistance era, when she had a lot of support from friends. She does finally see her husband, who has changed a lot from the experience. A famous writer, she kept a careful diary of her experiences that later provided the basis for the 1985 novel La Douleur. MH