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March 17, 1967 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-03-17

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PAGR TWO

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 1967

PAGE TWO THE MICHIGAN DAILY FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 1967

FILMS
'La Guerre est Finie:' Masterpiece

By ANDREW LUGG
When Allain Resnais made
"L'Annee Derniere a Marienbad"
he started a considerable contro-
versy. The same is likely to hap-
pen -with his latest film, "La
Guerre est Finie."
This.time, however, the confron-
tation will -not be about the film
itself, its narrative form, its "aes-
thetics," but will be outside the
film, in the realm of politics.
Diego (Yves Montand) an exiled
Spanish revolutionary, travels
back and forth between France
and Spain, delivering propaganda
arid organizing the overthrow of
the Franco regime. This is 1965
and for Diego it is the 25th year
of the struggle.
No Idealism
He has no youthful idealism
(so magnificently emphasized late
in the film when Diego points
out to some young revolutionaries
the nature of the struggle-organ-

ization). How for Diego it is a
mater of the form of the action.
He knows that "Spain is always
stirring but nothing changes." It
is either a tourist dream or a civil
war dream.
Nothing is romantic; neither
the continual meetings in the
suburbs, nor the organization.
Diego is middle-aged, hardened,
irratible.
Juan has gone to Spain and is
likely to be caught. So Diego must
leave Paris, once again, to inform
Juan and carry on the prepara-
tions for the general strike and
May Day. But the police are on
to Diego too. Marianne (Ingrid
Thulin), Diego's mistress must
leave for Madrid to warn him.
Finally, she also gets caught up
in the movement. There is noth-
ing else for her to do. Action, per-
sistence, struggle, must become
her norms also. The movement en-
'compasses and involves.
Resnais spells out this involve-

ment as the only mode of exist-
ance. But there is no reason, nor
victory for involvement. The
planned General Strike is likely
to be another defeat. It must be
attempted, simply because the
participants feel that it must.
No amount of theory will prove
or disprove this. As Kenneth
Patchen put it "Lenin is terribly
silent, terribly silent and dead."
Half way through the film
Marianne tells Diego of the book
she and some friends are putting
together. "The photographs for
the book," she says, "are on how
cities speak to individuals and how
the citizens speak back and how
a language develops." For Diego,
the professional revolutionary,
such a dialogue is almost impossi-
ble. At best it is only an abstrac-
tion. Resnais and Jorge Semprun,
who wrote the script, know that
the dialogue must be established.
This revolution demands com-

PASSIONATELY CONCEIVED:
Tragic Hero of X4OO Blows'
Victim o a e Society'

mitment, but the promise of the
realisation of the revolution can-
not be a carrot to entice commit-
ment.
Invitation
When Satre wrote "you have be-
come free, join the Communist
Party," Matthieu rejected the in-
vitation. Resnais shows the ac-
ceptance, with all its ambivalences.
He shows Diego influenced by
the minor incidents, victories and
defeats. So, Diego loves Nadine
(Genevieve Bujold) for her youth-
ful enthusiasm and ability to act
without doubt, and Marianne" for
her maturity which he will not
submit to the revolution.
What he says to her aren't lies,
they are barriers to her involve-
ment. He knows that "things will
not change by crying," but he is
also aware that things must
change.
These are the uncertainties that
are the tone or quality of Diego's
life. They are equally the tone of
the film.
Resnais, masterfully, has cre-
ated a film of great beauty which
lays bare the nature of the strug-
gle and of Diego's response. "La
Guerre" is pure cinematic writing.
One can only talk of this film
as cinema, just as one uses the
word "literature" to praise some
great novel. Resnais' control, his
cutting, the movement, the mise-
-en-scenes are superb.
See, for example, the scene of
Nadine and Diego making love,
which as Michael Caen says,
makes us "rediscover cinema in
black and white," and which is
"simply the image of physical
love."
Or the constant use of flashfor-
wards which shows Diego's fears,
hopes, limits and depths of his
vision.
Even a superficial comparison
with the flashbacks of "Muriel"
and L'anneesDerniere" will reveal
the directness of "La Guerre"
compared with the earlier films,
which existed and were created
within a reality peculiar to them-
selves. These examples are to in-
dicate that Resnais has not re-
stricted the plasticity of film to
some over-riding story organism.
The film has developed its own
literature.
In the final analysis I am over-
whelmed by Resnais' complete
mastery of the medium. "La Guer-
re" makes even "Blow-up" look
like a sophomoric essay in com-
position. It is a great film, a mas-
terpiece, a .

Across
Campus
FRIDAY, MARCH 17
7:00 and 9:05 p.m. - Cinema
Guild presents "Les Quartes
Cents Coups" The 400 Blows) as
part of a Francios Truffant week-
end in the Architecture Aud.
8:00 p.m.-The Department of
Speech University Players present
Arthur Miller's "After the Fall"
in Trueblood Aud.
8:30 p.m.-The School of Music
presents the University Arts
Chorale and Womne's Choir, May-
nard Klein directing, in Rackham
Lecture Hall.
SATURDAY, MARCH 18
7:00 and 9:05 p.m. - Cinema
Guild presents "Tirez Sur le
Pianiste Shoot the Piano Player)"
as part of a Francois Truffant
weekend in the Architecture Aud.
8:00 p.m.-The Department of
Speech University Players present
Arthur Miller's "After the Fall"
in Trueblood Aud.
Phone 434-0130
E
e&4" ww On.CARPENTER ROAD

CINIMk
BU- ILD
TONIGHT &
TOMORROW
THE
400*
BLOWS
"Every child must
receive his four
hundred blows
before reaching
adulthood."
-French addage
French, with subtitles
7:00 & 9:00
ARCH ITECTURE AUD.
STILL ONLY 50cm=

"There is a lot of 'LA
in 'BLOW-UP' "!

DOLCE VITA'
-Louis Cook, Free Press

"A STUNNING PICTURE
A FASCINATING
PICTURE
about the matter of personal in-
volvement and emotional commit-
ment in a jazzed-up, media-hook-
ed world!"
-Bosley Crowther,
New York Times
"SO STUNNING THAT
YOU WANT TO SEE IT
MORE THAN ONCE!"
-Archer Winsten,
New York Post

"MOST TALKED-
ABOUT OF THE
NEW MOVIES!"
-Dick Osgood,
WXYZ

FIRST OPEN 6:30 P.M. FIRS
RUN FREE HEATERS RU
NOW SHOWING

"I CANNOT IMAGINE THAT ANYONE WHO TAKES
MOVIES SERIOUSLY WILL WANT TO MISS 'BLOW-
UP' "! -Jay Carr, Detroit News

ST
N

Michelangelo Antonioni 's
first English language film
starring
Vanessa Redgrave
BLOW-UP
cO-storring
4TH GREAT WEEK David Hemmings
Sarah Miles
COLOR
A Premier Productions Co., Inc. Release

By PAUL SAWYER
I still do not know why a film
>f the importance of "The 400
Blows" has been seen by so few
college-age people interested in
the cinema. It is, for example, a
better film than the much-dis-
cussed' "Shoot the Piano Player,"
and was the film which overnight
made Truffaut's reputation as one
of Europe's foremost young direc-
tors. It was released, I think, just
before ."Breathless," and it con-
tains, in full-blown form all the
characteristics associated with
the New Wave - the hand-held
camera, a breezy, informal style
and an impression of spontaneity.
Yet it, remains a masterpiece,
apart from any historical consid-
erations. It is one of those works
of "art-in this sense it remainds
me of "The Catcher in the Rye"-
which one hesitates to call
"great," yet which are so passion-
ately conceived and catch hold of
the viewer's imagination with such
force that they continue to haunt
the mind long ;after other com-
parable works have been forgot-
ten.
The title comes from the French
expression for "growing pains."
Whenever a youngster gets in
trouble, he is said to be receiving
"one of his 400 blows." The sub-
ject matter is not, consequently,
very unusual, and in the hands of
a lesser director, the film could
be quite ordinary. The first half
records -the routine accidents and
escapades of a likable trouble-
maker. But like a Hardy novel, the
minor difficulties snowball, until
Antoine, the hero, is arrested and
sent to a reformatory. The whole
first half retains a remarkably
uninvolved point of view. None of
the characters is free from fault;
"blame," where it is relevant is
judiciously balanced among the
boy, the parents and the others
involved.
But after Antoine's arrest and
subsequent mistreatment at the
hands of a brutal system (based
on Truffaut's own childhood), the
film takes on a grimmer, more
passionate tone. By the end An-
toine, like Lear, is clearly more
sinned against than sinning, and
he grows into the dimensions of a
kind of tragic hero, almost an em-
bodiment of all the brutalized vic-
tims of society.
Yet Antoine is never a mere pup-
pet Everybody. He is a remar -
ably vital and ingenious creation,
and it is by the force of his char-
acterization that the film ulti-
mately stands or falls. Jean-Pierre

Leaud gives an incredible perform- nothing to stand on, inside a re-
ance. vowving drum at an amusement
Film-acting has an advantage park; the blurred, dancing lights
over the stage in that the screen of the Paris streets, shot from
actor is a fuller embodiment than the paddy-wagon that is taking
the stage performance can ever the boy away; or the sinister
be. He can become in a very lit- shadows cast by the cage he is
eral sense the character he is kept in overnight.

ROBERT E KE
STACK SOMMER
an NNY CHRISTIAN
dN KWM a MARQUA DI
Shown
7:05 & 10:4

DIAL 8-6416

Rcommefxed for mature audko I. I

playing, sometimes by merely be-
ing "himself," sometimes without
any previous acting experience.
Leaud's gestures, his manner-
isms, his face-all of which take
on enormous importance in a film
performance -- are perfect: his
bright, serious, searching eyes, his
sudden gushes and starts, his de-
fensive shrugs and hurt, down-
ward glances, Truffaut carried this
equivalence of actor and character
to an extreme by letting Leaud
improvise an entire scene - the
scene with the psychologist - by
describing events from his own
life.
Like most outstanding New Wave
films, "The 400 Blows" could nev-
er have been anything but a film.
The narrative and dialogue are
relatively slight; rather, the story
is told less by dialogue than by
the meanings suggested in a va-
riety of inspired images-the boy
whirling around and around, pin-
ned against the wall and with

And only the cinema could have
produced something like the amaz-
ing, famous final sequence, where
the boy escapes from the reform-
atory and runs out to sea, conclud-
ing with the final frozen close-up
shot that is at once so powerful
and so profoundly suggestive. Some
people have seen in this shot the
wronged hero personally confront-
ing the audience. It is actually a
close copy of an earlier freeze
shot, representing Antoine's mug
portrait, and seems to suggest
that the boy is doomed to suffer
the life of a criminal and an out-
cast.
If he is indeed doomed, it is not
because of anything in him alone,
but because of the cold gaze of
an unsympathetic society which
will never look behind the mug
shot it has branded him with.
"The 400 Blows" is a hard and a
beautiful film, born out of fierce
indignation and profound compas-
sion.

0

ALSO:
HOERRS
TECHNICOLOR* s.hown at
-Onl
Read
Daily
Classifieds

"YOUa'D BETTER GO SEE IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN.
Sylvie is superb--playing the leading role inr a manner that
should etch it. forever on the memories of those
who see the film. Delightful and touching."
- Crowther, N.Y. Times
the Walter Reade Organization. Inc. presents
BERTOLT BRECHT'S
STARRING SYLVIE DIRECTED BY RENE ALLIO
STARTING TODAY-DIAL 5-6290
French Dialogue,
English Subtitles

,7

I

'! '°"

I

ENDS TONIGHT
TATE 15
:15 NILAN
5:15
7:20 !IB
Dial 920
NO 2-6264.
iirtli :{ri ": :d .. rmamm mm m#E

-TOMORROW-

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