Marguerite Duras – Le camion AKA The Lorry AKA The Truck [+Extra] (1977)


We are confronted with two images, a lorry driving through the night until dawn, a depiction of the loneliness and determination of the long-distance driver, and, intercut with it, an all-night conversation between Marguerite Duras herself and her young collaborator and lover, who are writing the script together, imagining the lorry- driver and discussing the emotions they are trying to depict and their method in doing so. Two frustrations, that of their creative imaginations, and the that of the driver they are depicting, become identified. Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – Des journées entières dans les arbres aka Entire Days in the Trees (1977)


A woman whose son has been estranged from her for years travels to visit him in Paris. Despite offers of money and position, he would prefer to remain a petty thief, gigolo, and paid dancer rather than have anything to do with his mother. She has factories in Indochina which, despite political reverses, still run under her direction, and they could have been put under his control. The lad is happy enough to steal the jewels and money she has left lying around for just that purpose, knowing that he is too proud to accept gifts. His unhappy childhood in Indochina has left him too bitter to be approached.

Based on her novel and prior to directing a film version of the novel, Duras had already modified it into a stageplay that had enjoyed a theatrical run. Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – Détruire dit-elle AKA Destroy, She Said (1969)


“Marguerite Duras’ Destroy, She Said seems to be a film out of time and out of space, but could only have been made after May, 1968 … Significantly, it is only this year that she has felt able to write and direct her own film-without any compromises … It explodes into life, and one is hypnotically captive until the end. The dramatic power of the film, and its way of haunting one for days, are not surprising; what is, however, is the degree of visual virtuosity that Mme. Duras achieves. In short, here is a ‘difficult’ film which more than compensates for the demands it makes on the viewer.”-Richard Roud, The Guardian (Manchester)
” …Destroy. She Said is a triumph … In my estimation its glum enchantments constitute a masterpiece.”-Elliott Stein, The Financial Times (London) Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – India Song (1975)


AMG Review: When Anne-Marie (Delphine Seyrig), the wife of the French vice-consul, grows weary of her oppressive life in 1930s India, she compulsively makes love so as to forget her situation. Her husband (Michel Lonsdale) is aware of her affairs but understands the cause of them and affects not to notice. Curiously, the mansion—so strongly evocative of India—where most of the movie was filmed, was just outside of Paris — Clarke Fountain Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – La femme du Gange aka Woman of the Ganges (1974)


A man returns to the place he once lived a passionate love affair with a woman who is now dead.  So powerful are the emotions that seize him that he imagines she is still alive, and begins to live as if this were the case…

“Woman of the Ganges” is in a way two films. Parallel to the film is played out a purely vocal film, unaccompanied by images.
To avoid any contempt, we would like to let the spectator know that the two Voices Off of women do not belong at all to the characters which appear in the images.
We can add that the characters seen in the images are entirely unaware of the existence of the two women in the story who manifest themselves only in the dialogue which they hold. Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – Le navire Night (1979)



The plot of Le Navire Night concerns a love affair between a young man and a woman, F., who first make contact by telephone one night, quite by chance. They have never seen each other or met before, but a relationship begins as a result of the conversation; F. continues telephoning. He, however, never learns F.’ s full name, telephone number or address, and all initiative for the relationship falls to her. The affair unfolds purely as an affair of the human voice, but this adds to the sexual intensity of the relationship rather than detracting from it: ‘C’est un orgasme noir,’ one hears the voice of Bulle Ogier saying. ‘Sans toucher réciproque. Ni visage. Les yeux fermés. Ta voix, seule’ (‘It’s a dark orgasm. Without mutual touching. Nor a face. Eyes closed. Just your voice’, N, 27–8). Three years go by, and the pair agree to meet. (In the 1978 magazine version the meeting is F.’ s idea, while, in the later version, it is the man who insists on seeing F., but only as a way of putting an end to his fear of seeing her [N, 33]; in this respect it is as though the desire to see belongs to neither her nor him, but circulates between them as a necessary step that must continually be envisaged yet constantly deferred.) Continue reading