India Song

1975, Marguerite Duras, France

Director: Marguerite Duras
Producer: Stéphane Tchalgadjieff
Screenplay: Marguerite Duras
Cinematography: Bruno Nuytten
Editor: Solange Leprince
Music: Carlos D’Alessio

Delphine Seyrig (Anne-Marie Stretter)
Michel Lonsdale (French Vice-Consul)
Mathieu Carrière (German Attaché)
Claude Mann (Michael Richardson)
Vernon Dobtcheff (Georges Crawn)
Didier Flamand (The Stretter’s Guest)

Rating: PG Runtime: 120 minutes

The remarkable and celebrated French actress Delphine Seyrig, seen in Daughters of Darkness (WFS 2018) and Last Year at Marienbad (WFS 2019), and of course iconic in Chantel Akerman’s Sight and Sound poll-topping Jeanne Dielman is the centre of this drifting reverie of a film from the equally remarkable polymath, Marguerite Duras.

The film is set in pre-independence India and the echoes of colonisation are apparent throughout. It resembles a cinematic poem or a painting that comes to life like a trompe-l’oeil – the longueur of the scenes wash over each other with both a deliberate pace and an indolent breeze. Delphine Seyrig’s ambassador’s wife Anne-Marie appears, the centre of the piece, both in presence and in reflection, suffering from a form of guilt and listlessness, seemingly for past affairs but which could equally be for her part in invasive European colonialism. Duras is speaking from experience, having grown up in French colonial Indochina (now Vietnam), in a way that is lyrical and moving. “Spare, elegant, disjunctive, initially annoying and ultimately drop-dead beautiful, Marguerite Duras’s “India Song” (1975) was one of the great European art films of the post-art-film era. It followed the 1960s heyday of Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman and Alain Resnais, Duras’s one-time collaborator (she wrote the screenplay for his first feature, “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”), and was in some ways more radical than their work.” – J. Hoberman, New York Times


Oct 14 2024


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