History, for the lack of a better word, is time turned backwards. It is a sight into the past that was before. History chronicles the lost glories, the missed opportunities and the things that could’ve been. Our present has always been shaped by our past. It decides how or what our future would be moulded into. Sometimes it’s our choices that decide our course of action and eventually our destiny. Director Patrice Guillain’s short film ‘La Der Des Der’ translated into English as ‘The war to end all wars’ is about the choice that defined the shape of mankind forever.

In eight minutes of running time, the director tells a story of a world war one survivor and about his choice, on the battlefield. The story begins in a news studio where Simon Rosenberg, a 121-year-old, the last living WW1 veteran calls and offers to tell his story. Despite an uninterested editor, the journalist Samia lands up at the door of the veteran to listen to his tale of the war, for she has a WW1 connect too. Simon tells her the events that had occurred in 1917, on 16th June, when he was ordered by his commanding officer to ferry a group of injured soldiers to the base camp. Lost in the woods, the group unknowingly walk towards another group of soldiers, from the enemy camp. What unfurls next, is perhaps history mocking the viewer for their belief in humanity. Watch the movie to know the rest.

The fact that a concept like this was told in eight minutes, is simply unbelievable. Quentin Tarantino’s war film ‘Inglorious Basterds’ (2009) is an alternative history compared to the actual events. What ‘La der des der’ tries to tell, is more relatable because it’s more close to the actual events. The director Guillain tries to draw attention towards the inherent good and evil that remains imbibed in an individual. At times, an act of good can spiral into an eventual destiny that proves to be calamitous. The very elementary definition of Chaos Theory states the same. As the android David from Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ would say – ‘Big things often have small beginnings.’ The awe on Samia’s face combine with ours, as we hear the prophetic last words from Simon – The first world war would’ve been the last of the last wars. With the number visible on Simon’s arms and the climactic image of his family with the star of David on their coats, the horror finally dawns upon the audience. 

Starring Jana Klein, Antonin Schopfer and Arthur Choisnet, ‘La Der Des Der’ is a film that needs to be watched by everyone.

Here’s the youtube link –

The Cinemawala Rating: 4/5

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