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White Man's Burden

By Pan32 on April 21, 2012

This Angry Age 1958
René Clément directs and Diego Fabbri provides the screenplay on what is supposed to be a recreation of the adolescence of famed French author Marguerite Duras, the hard scrabble years, which even allowing for Duras propensity to exaggerate, were tough times, but what does come through in her recount of her life in French colonial Indo-China, is the family’s easy integration into Asian society which earned the disdain of their fellow French colonist. and which is totally absent from this Hollywoodization where Asians are faces in the crowd. Nevertheless, Fabbri does dip into Duras’ novel, The Sea Wall covering in shortened detail, brother Paulo’s midnight pub crawl with a beautiful lady and her drunken husband and Ma’s exhaustive tour of the diamond merchants trying to get her price on the diamond that was given to Marguerite (Suzanne in the film and novel) not by the Chinaman, the central character in the novel, who does not appear at all in this film, but by a character known as Agosti in the novel. Yes, it’s all a mashup, something out of a cocktail shaker, and for some who felt this film promises the magic of the Duras myth, forget it.

The only Asian who figures in the film is this Hop Sing character, briefly, acknowledging his inferior status to the departing Suzanne. Chop chop.