THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Tuesday, March 5, 1968
Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, March 5, 1968
A look at
La Guerre Est Finie
by Daniel Okrent
There is something inexplicably strange about Alain Resnais'
La Guerre Est Finie, playing for two more days at the Vth Forum.
It seems much too long, often tedious. It features an actor whose
expression changes practically not at all throughout the entire
lengthof the film. It employs cinematic device almost at whim,
with almost no consistency. It ends up in exactly the same place
it starts out. It leaves the viewer blank at its end, not knowing
how to react.
Yet, "La Guerre Est Finie" is striking, stunning, nitty-gritty
and to the point. It makes what New York reviewers have termed
the "immediacy" of "The Graduate" seem stale and stiff. To be
sure it does not address itself to a broad audience, and not
everyone will feel the impact. But even those who do will not
know how, why or what that impact is until after they have spent
long hours mulling over its utter consequences and reality.
As Resnais' camera follows Yves Montand through the end-.
less charade of underground activity aimed at overthrowing the
fascist regime of Spain's Gen. Franco, it pours forth lengthy foot-
age of plodding plotting and monotone reaction. It makes in-
evitable-yet exquisite-trips into the bedroom, it makes expected
-yet gripping-trips into the futility of conscient action.
It is not purely Resnais' treatment of the subject mater that
makes the film. That subject is in itself of great importance. His
hero is enveloped in an intrigue of faked passports, false identities,
border infiltrations, political subterfuge and, through it all, com-
plete hopelessness, often despair. The fact that the loyalist Mon-
tand never gives up, yet never gains an inch in his futile battle, is
the heart of this film; his bland resignation surfaces in the robot
reactions he makes, even though his nerve cells insist that he
"La Guerre Est Finie" requires that the viewer have certain
preconceptions. You have to empathetically experience Montand's
own experiences, and you can only do this if his emotions have at
one time or another been your own. Perhaps it is egotistical for
any one viewer to say "Ah, yes, it is a hard fight that cannot be
won, but I must fight it nevertheless." Still, it is impossible to
deny that such a feeling is possible, and becomes more possible
with each news dispatch painting gruesome scenes of southeast
Asian murder or midwest American carnage.
Maybe it is because identification is almost a requisite for
full appreciation of this film that many reviewers praised it for
the wrong reasons. Bosley Crowther could quite easily sit in his
office in New York, insulated by The New York 'imes' masthead
and 30 years of experience as a critic, and praise it as "a thriller."
Sure, he called it one of the year's 10 best, but he and many others
missed the real reasons.
Then again, maybe Crowther is right and others are wrong.
It is very possible when you consider that Resnais is the director
who once said in the French journal "Cahiers du Cinema" that
even he, the director of the widely-acclaimed "Last Year at Ma-
rienbad," did not entirely understand his own film.
There are a few remarkable subtleties of this film that should
be pointed out. Yes, for a movie of this type, withs basically a
one-theme plot, it is too long to be completely bore-free. But even
this is an advantage. The grayer Montand's world becomes, the
more it stretches and yawns into mind-revelation. It must by
'necessity be long; the battle itself is long, is it not?
In Montand's two love scenes, first with a Marxist ingenue
and laterswith his old standby, Resnais has given the viewer some
remarkable delights The first is a surreal silhouetteing of reaching
arms and caressing hands and sensually spreading thighs; the
second is visually real, but the intrusion of a light musical air
distorts what the viewer sees and what really happens. The love-
making is a ballet, a pre-arranged drama performed on a premise
ofpre-set action's and reactions, all sincere but all somehow wist-
ful, almost resigned.
There is, nevertheless, one prticuarly bad flaw in Resnais'
directorial work. Montand's most noticeable emotional outburst
Is precipitated by the impassioned arguing of a young French
radical who would rather throw Molotov cocktails than advocate
general strikes; the radical is clearly meant to be a caricature in-
tended to balance and rationalize Montand's existentialism. Sad-
ly, the caricature is too much of an imitation to be convincing,
and the scene becomes oafish and naive. But it is only one scene.
'On a Clear Day': You Could Sleep Forever]
[ J I4CHIG
The "DARLING" of
meets the "GEORGY GIRL"
BOY in the LOVE STORY
of the YEAR!
By THOMAS R. COPI
An Evening with John Raitt
was spoiled last night by the
intrusion of On a Clear Day
You Can See Forever.
The play, with a few (a very
few) bright spots and few char-
acters worth mentioning, was
definitely not worth the entire
evening. As a matter of fact,
the action was so slow and the
story so boring that the bird
which came swooping down
from the rafters in the middle
of the first act actually gave
the audience a brief respite
from the tedium on stage.
But don't get me wrong. It
wasn't really the fault of the
cast, but of the play itself. The
simple-minded plot features our
hero, John Raitt, as Dr. Mark
Bruckner, a psychiatrist with
an interest in hypnosis; he dis-
covers that Daisy Gamble (Lin-
da Michele), one of his pa-
tients, has extra-sensory per-
ception and is extremely sus-
ceptible to hypnosis.
While regressing Daisy
through hypnosis, the doctor
discovers that he has pushed
her all the way past her child-
hood and into the 18th cen-
tury, to a former life when she
was Melinda Welles, a London
While the plot gets a little
more complicated, it doesn't get
any better. The side-plot, ap-
parently added to give some ad-
ditional substance to the play,
is unfortunately fatty and
doesn't give the play the muscle
it needs. What it does serve to
do however, is introduce the
lovably hateful Warren Smith,
Daisy's fiance, who was beauti-
fully overplayed by John Ru-
binstein. It is unfortunate that
Rubinstein had such a small
part as his dramatic ability far
overshadowed that of any of
the other characters and even
made up for his painfully weak
The only other player who
deserves dramatic notice is Miss
Michele. For her ability to
switch between the two roles
she played, and remain com-
fortable in both, she deserves
Brian Avery, who is perhaps
best known for his characteri-
zation of Dustin Hoffman's
amorous rival in "The Grad-
uate," showed that he has a
magnificent voice. Again, I was
disappointed by the small size
of the role he was given as Me-
linda's 18th century husband.
I have only heard John Iaitt
on records; in "Carousel," as
Billy Bigelow, he was fabulous.
In "The Pajama Game," as Sid
Sorokin, he was fantastic. In
"Clear Day" he is not nearly so
In part, the weakness of the
material may have hampered
him, but he was given the three
strongest songs in the show,
and he was disappointing. Raitt
admitted to the audience after
the show that this role, for him,
30Z Wasbtenaw, I'h. 434-1782
Between Ypsuianti and Ann Arbor
is "different." He had to walk
through the whole play before
given a chance to close the
show musically. But he did
close it well.
And when he tacitly admitted
the weakness of "Clear Day" by
singing "Hey There" from "The
Pajama Game," there were
visions of a "John Raitt Sings
the Hits from Broadway" fea-
ture to make up for the play.
But the curtain closed and the
lights came up and I left with
a disappointed feeling of "what
might have been."
JULIE CHRISTIE TERENCE STAMP
"IN COLD BLOOD"
CIIIA~ UIL D
WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 6-10
Presented in cooperation with the DRAMATIC
ARTS CENTER of Ann Arbor. Over $900
in awards. Over 175 films in competition.
There will be two completely different shows each night, Wednesday-Satur-
day. On Sunday, there will be two showings of the prize winners. Individual
tickets may be purchased before each showing; series tickets, which include
9 showings (2 each night and 1 on Sunday) may be purchased for $6 on
Tuesday, from 6-7 P.M. and Wednesday, from 5-6 P.M., at the Architecture
7:00 & 9:05 P.M. ARCHITECTURE
Call 662-887 75c AUDITORIUM
Daisy trips back to the 18th century
it is natural to love-y
it is unnatural.
and harndy kruger
and james mason
Special Requested Booking
ONE DAY ONLY
CANNES FESTIVAL WINNER
in the hilarious
Starting Th'ursday: "CHARLIE BUBBLES"
Shows at 1-3-5-7-9
Mon.-Tues.-Thurs.-Fri. 7 & 9
FRIDAY, MARCH 22
SPONSORED BY McCARTHY FOR PRESIDENT
RECEPTION-5 P.M.-COBO HALL
Donation $100 per couple
LA GUERRE EST
FINIE IS AN EX-
La Guerre Est Finie is an excit-
ing movie on two counts. It is
the most successful film so far
to tackle the chief political
drama of our time: the conflict
between a man's ideological
commitment and the disillusion
such commitment always
brings. It is also the first truly
fore the first truly satisfying-
feature we have had from Di-
rector Alain Resnais.
In La Guerre Est Finie,
story, style and symbols are
much more carefully balanced,
and Jorge Semprun's script is
a model of intelligent character
and thematic development.
Resnais, faced with the chal-
lenge of exploring a plot that is
densely packed instead of
wide-ranging, responds by dig-
ging deeply and carefullyinto
his material. The result is an
energetic, ironic and mature
examination of the sensibility of
an aging revolutionary in an
ieno (Yves Montand) is a
"BEST FOREIGN FILM"
-N.Y. Film Critics Award
"ONE OF THE YEAR'S 10 BESTf!"
-Crowther, N.Y. Times; Winsten, N.Y. Post; Wolf, CUE;
Morgenstern, Newsweek; Sarris, Village Voice; Crist, NBC
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE
SPEECH-4 P.M.-COBO HALL
Donation $10 per person
slips back to his base across
the French border, that the po-
lice are mounting a major drive
against his comrades in Spain.
Objective circumstances, not
to mention the ache in his
bones, tell him that "la guerre
And about time. Revolution-
ary ardor has cooled into habit,
he has begun to see his cell-
mates for the fantasists a quar-
ter century of exile has made
them and his own posture as a
professional revolutionary as
an absurdity. Unfortunately,
withdrawal for him is not as
easy as it should be. There is;
to begin with, his commitment
to commitment to consider.
Could he live without a cause?
Is he indeed evaluating the
prospect of this one correctly?
Isn't it possible that his desire
to settle down with his beauti-
ful, devoted and totally apoliti-
cal mistress (Ingrid Thulin) is
clouding his judgment?
In this role Yves Montand gives
a performance in which rage,
professional equal, giving us a
perfect vision of mature sen-
The Franco government has
objected to La Guerre Est Finie
for obvious reasons, but in fact
it quite transcends specific po-
litical realities and is a judici-
ously composed metaphor that
says something essential about
human condition-not merely
the Spanish one. It is a Man's
Fate for the '60s-a muted,
thoughtful, graceful film about
the way time betrays all revolu-
tions and about the absurd en-
nobling expedients men must
ftake to escape the destruction
of self that is so often the by-
product of that betrayal.
"Are we'to police the world-to respond to
every challenge with military force? Or are
we prepared to take some chances on the
sides of peace? I hope with your help we can
turn that face to the world again."
-Eugene McCarthy, Feb. 17, 1968
Welcome Senator McCarthy
at Metro Airport at
4 P.M. on Friday, March
Free transportation leaving the
Union at 3:10 P.M.
Tickets available from:
Jean L. King, 662-4819, or Barbara Carr, 663-6039