One of Duras’ most fascinating treatments of the dialectical relationship between sound & image, what is spoken & what is left unsaid, is an evocative “adaptation” of her then unperformed play, Agatha. Featuring Bulle Ogier & Yann Andréa as the wandering protagonists, & Duras & Andréa’s disembodied voices on the soundtrack, it is equally a haunting meditation on the relation between humanity & its geographic surroundings. Shot in Duras’ beloved Trouville, whose remarkable array of beachside villas the writer-director considered “the most beautiful tracking” shot in “the history of cinema”. 35mm print courtesy of the Ministère des affaires étrangères. –Melbourne Cinémathèque
4 April 1914, Gia Dinh, French Cochinchina. [now Vietnam] – 3 March 1996, Paris, France.
Ms. Duras was born in southern Vietnam and lost her father at age 4. The family savings of 20 years bought the family a small plot in Cambodia, but everything was lost in a single season’s flooding. The disaster killed her mother as a result. After high school in Saigon, Ms. Duras left Indochina to study law in Paris. As a young woman, she worked as a secretary in France’s Ministry of Colonies from 1935 to 1941, before becoming a writer. She wrote 34 novels from 1943 to 1993, and became an enduring part of Paris’s intellectual elite. In addition to her writing, she also directed about 16 films. For the film India Song (1975), she won France’s Cinema Academy Grand Prix. She claimed to have rescued French president François Mitterand during World War II, when he was a resistance fighter and remained a friend and unconditional campaigner. Her most noted novel is “L’Amant”, the story of a girl… read more
Awful. Another good example of scam in arthouse cinema. Cinema is NOT the reading of a (boring)book/play with unmoving pictures on the screen! Here we have unmoving and not-even-related-to-the-text pictures of a boring seaside resort in winter. Maybe if you manage to follow the text (I didn't) and if you have a literature-brain (I haven't) the thing is strong, text and mise-en-scène. If not it's just empty & pedantic
We shouldn't care about a author life to appreciate his/her work. Or else it is a documentary, a biopic, i don't know... Anyway, as i said, the main problem with this film (and also Hiroshima mon amour that i hated as much) is that you need a strong sensibility in literature to appreciate and manage to follow this kind of difficult work :/ (btw in your review you make a little mistake, irrelevant, the reader is Duras herself, not Bulle Ogier)
"you need a strong sensibility in literature to appreciate and manage to follow this kind of difficult work " No what you need is a strong sensibility: the ability to empathize with another human being. But without the knowledge of what Duras is doing here that is difficult I will agree.. That doesn't mean the work is crap... an art house scam. It just means you have a limited knowledge of French film. No disgrace. But realize that your lack of understanding does not degrade the artistry of the film. and I should have been more careful in attributing the narrator in the film. I thought as much but was too lazy to persure it.
i don't avoid nor dislike "difficult" movies , though i won't see 10 not-easy-watching films in a raw, i just particularly dislike/hate when the "film" relies only on a text, especially when it's a difficult text, pure literature like Duras, not for my brain. it's a provocation to call it a scam, i shouldn't need to say so. obivously i really think subjectively cinema should not be that, but i won't say that seriously in a conference or something ^^. thanks to you this little discussion inspires me some important addendum on my page, even if nobody reads that haha
Fair enough. But let me be clear, film is not this...or that: It is what it is and you can take it or leave it. What one must access, it seems to me, is its worth regardless of form: does it speak to the heart for one. And does it represent a serious attempt to bring us into contact with what is the core of existence, that elusive transitory self that we inhabit.