La mort du jeune aviateur anglais tells the story of a British airman whose grave Marguerite Duras discovered near Deauville. Although we don’t know where fiction begins, Duras’ narrative has a remarkable authenticity. A veritable manifesto of spontaneous writing, brilliantly directed by Benoît Jacquot, where the “direct writing” of Duras meshes perfectly with the unpretentious approach of the filmmaker. (Allocine)
On Marguerite Duras’ coma
Marguerite was in hospital for severe emphysema, got a neurological illness and fell into a coma for nine months. This coma was unusual because at the onset, she was in bed writing a sentence in her notebook, and when she awoke nine months later, she asked for the notebook to finish her sentence! The question arose whether to unplug her and let her die or wait for her to revive. Luckily they decided to wait. One day they called to tell me that she’s back in the world – she was a real Lazarus – that she was speaking and she wanted to see me.
On La mort du jeune aviateur anglais
She wanted to tell me that she had found a grave, while walking in the area. She asked me to make a film from this story. I told her I would not make a fiction film, but a film of her giving the story depth by telling it, showing us these places. Her words evoke what she found in that place, that inspired her writing project. She accepted. We all that knew she didn’t have long and that she yearned for the time when she made films with a crew and real actors, in her locations, her houses, where she was completely happy in a kind of communal life built around a movie to be made and and therefore around her… We shot La mort du jeune aviateur anglais at her locations, letting her talk. In the film, she calls herself “the traveler” (la passante).