VIFF 2018: Memoir of War


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      The Hollow Crown’s Mélanie Thierry turns in an unflinching portrait of Marguerite Duras in a film based on her writings about life in Nazi-occupied Paris.

      She was part of a Resistance group that also included future president François Mitterrand, although this centres on the absence of her husband, captured by the Gestapo, and her ambiguous relationship with a collaborating French police detective. The handsomely shot tale perhaps sustains its protagonist’s cigarette-puffing anguish for too much of its two-hour-plus length. (Her memories of the period were collected in a book called La Douleur.) But there’s quite a lot to admire in the seriousness of its tone and the realism of its re-created milieu, complete with smoke, mirrors, and rations of all kinds.