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Hypnotic Incantations: A Marguerite Duras Focus

Hypnotic Incantations: A Marguerite Duras Focus

A major figure in modern French literature, Marguerite Duras’ involvement with cinema is lesser known, and usually associated with her celebrated script for Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour, which was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar! Yet the experimental approach she lent to her literary work was further explored in her filmmaking. To discover her cinema is to be bewitched by an innovative, transformative style, both sensuous and reflective, in which spellbinding voices echo within the stillness of her images.

LE NAVIRE NIGHT

Marguerite Duras France, 1979

Directed by French writer Marguerite Duras—who penned, among other films, Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour—this Paris-set drama is a follow-up to her iconic, utterly enchanting India Song. A fervid letter to anonymous love and desire, featuring the voices of Duras and protégé Benoît Jacquot.

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INDIA SONG

Marguerite Duras France, 1975

Set in the colonialist homes of ‘30s India, renowned writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras cast Delphine Seyrig as a diplomat’s wife haunted by imperialist guilt and the anguishing emptiness of opulence. Notably, the film eschews sync sound, advancing its narrative through various off-screen voices.

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BAXTER, VERA BAXTER

Marguerite Duras France, 1977

Mighty performances from Claudine Gabay and Delphine Seyrig bring to life Marguerite Duras’ (India Song) compassionate film. Fixating on one heartbreaking conversation—as music from a neighboring party permeates the room—Duras creates a one-of-a-kind, visceral experience about the anguish of love.