A study of a cold, remote thirtyish woman whose husband, a building operator, has practically sold her to get rid of a gambling debt. –BFI
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
Real ruins around a scrupulous analysis of a ruined life. but unlike real ruins, ruined lives often appear under the most carefully kempt and conserved surfaces, with all the microfissures meticulously hushed under the heavy rugs of various accomplishments. To obliquely quote a beatle: a ruined life is what happens to you when you are busy making other things. Women facing Anna Freud: do compliance and conformity
really represent defenses against the anxiety of loneliness, worries over being left out, displaced, unplaced? Also, actors as voices, as mere vehicles of spoken drama, as materialzed shadows detaching from the walls one by one: you don’t need fully blown characters to convey despair here, the actors could be sitting face to the wall, they could be anyone, reading a text, taking part in a dialogue that has already, forever, begun before they entered the scene. The schematism of their play as a means to show a growing twilight of the soul. Why would Vera retain anything of her personality, when she’s given up all hopes of convalescence long ago? We still don’t know who she is, other than a voice and a story, that could be anyone else’s, since the fluctuating passion, the sinuous diction she’d use when emotionally outlining her life story, is missing. Only occasionally dust devils spring up in the placid crypts under the eyelids. When life wanes in someone, they lose character, colour, identity, they become discourse, words, speaking stream of odorless indifference. A man pays another man to satisfy his wife, whom he does not desire anymore. He would pay anything, including a million, to get that job done: the gratification of the woman he does not want to touch, out of guilt perhaps or out of imagination, but with whom he still keeps a civilzed, amiable, transparent relationship. A clean, monstrous, financially hygienized form of rejection and irreversible separation. Going back to pre-currency times: a villa for a wife’s luxury love affair. The film also presents an intriguing genealogy of the witch phenomenon: women, waiting for their husbands to return from the holy war, developed an alternative, healing heresy of despair, of interrupted dialogue: talking to nature.
part 1. my comment on film’s page.
part 2. i changed my opinion this morning, after a good cup of coffee, which means i must see more of duras, cuz there are few films that make you make a 180… read review