“La guerre est finie” is a film about two exceptional people – Diego Mora (Ives Montand), a professional revolutionary in the tradition of Spanish antifascism, and his wife Marianne (Ingrid Thulin), caught in a period of anthropological mutation in Western post-WWII countries (mutation as a result of a successful socio-political corruption of the populations by cheap consumerism and entertainment).

Diego’s underground work in Franco’s Spain makes it impossible for him to participate in his family life in France where the secret service was collaborating with the fascist circles in Spain. Marianne, who knew about her husband’s secret identity and supported his dedication to trying to organize peaceful resistance to the Fascist rule in Spain, is a scholarly educated person who was trying to do through intellectual press in France the same in spirit as what Diego was doing on a political level. He was organizing peaceful resistance of the people in Spain while she was trying to awaken the humanistic and cultural sensibility of the French public.

Diego and Marianne sacrificed life in a modern sense of enjoying material prosperity and foolish entertainment and trying to upgrade your social status for the sake of spirituality of living. The couple represents the two aspects of spiritual being in today’s world – resistance to inequality and protection of the poor and the needy (Diego) and the attempt to educate the masses not with technical but through humanistic knowledge (Marianne). They lived like this – loving one another, seeing each other not more than once or couple of times per year, until Diego started to come to the conclusion that the forms of their resistance became outdated – that people became so corrupt by the fake prosperity that they have lost the feeling that human beings are basically equal despite their differences in race, nationality and social status. People today have drastically changed their orientation – they are worshipping the wealthy, dreaming to be like them and are more and more ready to serve rich bosses on any conditions. Diego understood that it’s necessary to change the forms of resistance from fight to the alternative way of living, that it’s not enough to resist politically – that people will not support this type of resistance anymore, that it’s time to learn how to live differently and how to share this experience with others. They decided to return to Spain with new identities, which are their own (belonged to them before an artificial life of political fight and the Middle Class life in societies of artificial prosperity, consumerism and conformism). But this step appeared to be much more dangerous and even radical than their previous lives.

During the film we follow Diego through flash-forwards and flash-backs coding visually his imagination and memory, through his ordeals, through the moments of his reverentially sexual consolations, through the torments of his efforts to confront the necessity of change his life – making his very existence a political tool.

The intelligence of acting in “La guerre…” (refraining from vanity of mass-cultural appeal to the public) also becomes a political instrument of a new – existential resistance to the predatory status quo.

Resnais directing Ives Montand (Diego Mora)

Resnais and Ives Montand enjoy success of their film

Resnais and Ives Montand chat about – life, world, politics?

Marianne always enjoying her husband in spite of his long and uncontrollable absences

Diego sees his son approximately once a year during his sleep (in order to protect him from the curiosity of surveillance)

Nadine, much younger than Diego, is a gift from destiny. But their personal one episode affair does not intervene in their “working relations”.

Young girl’s (Nadine) hand on Diego’s will. The common humanity of those who follow different path of resistance to repressive philistinism – old revolutionary and young idealists, will leave its trace in Nadine’s existential memory, as…

…Nadine’s youth will be forever in Diego Mora’s memory.

Marianne, probably, for the first time in her life wearing a headscarf, is on her way to take a plane to Spain with a new political agenda – not to fight for a better life in the conventional sense, but to live, modestly, ascetically, intelligently. We have to find how to invest our intelligence not in fighting, even for justified causes, but to life. Resnais is not clearing what this new life will look like – our historical time doesn’t know this yet. First, we must learn, how not to take the very image of new life from the corrupt social elite – to stop living according to their idea of what life is.

Posted om Sep 23 2014 –   Alain Resnais’ “La guerre est finie/The War Is Over” (1966) – When Cultural (Symbolic And Sublime) Transcendence Is Impossible, Then Politics Becomes Purely Instrumental  by Acting-Out Politics