[box cover]

La Guerre est Finie

Diego (Yves Montand), a Spanish underground communist member, thinks that the cops are aware about him and others in his organization, so he journeys to his base in France to warn his co-conspirators. But upon his arrival he meets Nadine (Genevieve Bujold), the young woman whose father he borrowed his passport from, and he becomes entwined with her — as he planned to just return the passport, he finds himself aroused by her and her willingness to understand his job. Returning home to his girlfriend Marianne (Ingmar Bergman regular Ingrid Thulin), he finds himself at odds with both his organization and his feelings, especially since Marianne desperately wants to have a child with him. Like a lot of French films at the time, 1966's La Guerre est Finie (The War is Over) occurs en medias res, and the set up never leads or forces the film to its conclusion — few American-made films at the time could have someone in such a dangerous job and not have it lead to violent death (or at least a shoot-out). But director Alain Resnais (Last Year at Marienbad, Hiroshima Mon Amour), has never been one for conventional storytelling. Finie is more about a mid-life crisis then it is about the communist underground, and credit Resnais for his unconventional approach, as the film is successful in conveying this general malaise. Montand, known for his world-weary eyes that made him so excellent in Clouzot's 1953 The Wages of Fear, is at his best here, and his frustration is well translated on screen — it's a fascinating character study. Thulin is likewise excellent, and she has a great scene in bed with Montand as she explains her desire for him. Like Marienbad, much of what happens is never completely confirmed for the viewer. Some things may be in Montand's imagination, others actual events, but the technique lends much to the story, and it does give the viewer enough pieces to put the story together, even long after the film is over. Image Entertainment's DVD release of La Guerre est Finie offers a sharp letterboxed transfer (1.85:1), and solid mono sound (1.0). A dubbed track is included, but (as always) should be avoided. Snap-case.
—DSH



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