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June 1944, France is still under the German occupation. The writer and communist Robert Antelme, major figure of the Resistance, is arrested and deported. His young wife Marguerite Duras, writer and resistant, is torn by the anguish of not having news of her and her secret affair with her comrade Dyonis. She meets a French agent working at the Gestapo, Pierre Rabier, and, ready to do anything to find her husband, puts himself to the test of an ambiguous relationship with this troubled man, only to be able to help him. The end of the war and the return of the camps announce to Marguerite Duras the beginning of an unbearable wait, a slow and silent agony in the midst of the chaos of the Liberation of Paris.
"Memoir Of War" is a woman's picture in the true sense of the term. Women can understand the agony of waiting for their husband or other male relative to return from war, or in this case, from a concentration camp. Waiting and waiting and waiting - for some word, some hope, some encouragement. Daily trips to the train station provide no help as day after day goes by. Melanie Thierry is outstanding as Marguerite, who waits patiently for her husband to return. The war is over and she scans the returnees at the train station each day.
It is not a war picture in the strict sense of the term and there are no battle scenes, or even a fight worth mentioning. It is a character study ... but c'mon. Enough is enough. The film could have used a heavier hand in the cutting room, as it is about 30 minutes too long. I was beginning to hope he would show up dead or alive and end the interminable wait. I base my rating on the caliber of the acting performances, especially Ms. Thierry and Shulamit Adar, who plays a neighbor who comes to stay with her. But for these outstanding performances I would have opted for a six rating.
7/10 - Website no longer prints my star rating.
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