La guerre est finie

Resnais's approach to the political thriller emphasizes not so much suspense as suspension: jump-cutting between moments in a chronology that is ambiguous yet somehow inexorable, La guerre est finie profiles a character trapped between the past and the future. Yves Montand is convincingly tired and troubled as Diego, a professional revolutionary forever shuttling back and forth across the border between France and his native Spain, still doggedly carrying out maneuvers in a battle that officially ended decades earlier. Forty-year-old Diego is too young to have fought in the Civil War, too old to join with the impatient youths who fantasize about blowing everything apart; to each generation its own illusions, and its own disillusionment. The sexual politics that posit Montand between wifely Ingrid Thulin and comely Geneviève Bujold have not aged well, but as a portrait of dignified futility, the film is timeless.

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