October 15 – 22
Novelist, essayist, and playwright Marguerite Duras (1914-1996) was well-established in literary circles when, at 45, she penned the screenplay for Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959). Its nonlinear plot and elliptical editing would greatly impact the burgeoning French New Wave (a movement whose literary analogue, the Nouveau Roman, Duras was tangentially linked to). The film’s radical use of voiceover anticipates the disjunction of sound and image that would become her calling card. Duras directed 19 features and short films, many adapted from her own work, all exceedingly difficult to see in the U.S. On the occasion of her centennial and the re-release of Hiroshima Mon Amour, we present a selection of her formally daring films, movies adapted from her writing, and more.
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A brother and sister confront the nature of their relationship and try to break with the past. Duras foregrounds voiceover and vacant interior space to mirror the film’s reflective themes.
Duras’s solo directorial debut concerns four alienated guests at a secluded hotel, and the effects of proximity and claustrophobia on their volatile identities.
Three featured shorts demonstrate Duras’s experiments with sound, as voiceover replaces dialogue and associations between aural and visual elements must be inferred. With Maurice Garrel.
What Godard called his “second first film” is a moving portrait of restless, intertwining lives, and the myriad forms of self-debasement and survival in a capitalist state, with Jacques Dutronc, Nathalie Baye, Isabelle Huppert, and, in an unforgettable anti-cameo, the voice of Marguerite Duras.
Delphine Seyrig is hypnotic as the wife of a disgraced diplomat, suffering from “leprosy of the soul” in 1930s India. With elaborate style, Duras captures the emptiness of life in a gilded cage.
Duras adapted Jean Genet’s story of a repressed schoolteacher who causes mayhem in her village and blames an Italian woodcutter, in this lurid and scathing indictment of humanity.
A bored wife and mother embroils herself in a murder investigation that brings out her morbid impulses in this moody, deliberate drama.
The woman’s picture gets the Duras treatment with dashes of absurdism in this spare account of two female cohabitants and their assorted vexations.
Duras proffers two lovers who never meet face to face, allowing their words to take on lives of their own.
Duras and Gérard Depardieu sit and read from the script of a film that might have been, in one of the director’s most beguiling yet accessible features.