Recounting the story of a Laotian-born beggar girl along the Ganges River who, at the age of 12, had embarked on a ten-year journey that would eventually take her from Burma to India in a desperate attempt to lose herself in the unfamiliar landscape, the elliptical narrative then abruptly shifts subjects within the threaded element of common geography as a tale of lost love is revealed between a devoted suitor named Michael Richardson (Claude Mann) who had followed his beloved, a socialite named Lola Valérie Stein, to India, only to lose her in death. Meanwhile, the sunset has been replaced by languid, fractured images of the interior of an uninhabited, elegantly appointed colonial-era home: a grand piano in an empty hall that is reinforced with the sound of a melancholic jazz piano tune; a shimmering evening ensemble laid across the floor as an off-screen narrator describes the pageantry of past soirées once hosted in the Tunisian city of Thala that had served to uncover the hidden desires of its aristocratic guests; the illumination of an ornate chandelier that is set against a conversation of an unseen light that became a harbinger for a monsoon in Calcutta; the imprecise memory of the aroma of flowers that is answered with the recollected odor of leprosy. It is within this dramlike roundelay of opulence and decadence, passion and loss, that a failed love affair plays out between the Vice-Consul of Lahore (Michael Lonsdale) and Anne Marie Stretter (Delphine Seyrig), the wanton, neglected wife of a French administrator in Laos, as they live out their waning days of colonial privilege in the exotic, transitory paradise. –filmref.org
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
beautiful to watch... but i might have to give it another try and maybe read the book. Marguerite never ceases to impress me !
In its melacholic, austere, yet desolate landscape, Duras deconstruction of narrative conventions makes this an unforgetable,and intimate experience, as we struggle to put together the pieces of a long lost story. With nothing to envy to better know masterpieces such as Marienbad, and sharing the same avant garde fierceness of cinema masters like Robbe Grillet, India Song will remain as one of cinema´s true classics.
Anne-Marie Stretter (Delphine Seyrig) in Marguerite Duras' India Song (1975). Cinematography by Bruno Nuytten.
"I fell hard for the films, novels, plays, and essays of Marguerite Duras roughly thirty years ago and then spent the decades between then
India Song 1975
Marguerite Duras wrote and directed this evocation of colonial far east in its final years, here Calcutta and for virtually the entire film, a drawing room of… read review