screen poetry, poetic criticism

Not my own words but it’s something at long last. In my rush of IMDb nostalgia I mentioned this review, and celinejulie subsequently asked for it… and here it is.

India Song, Marguerite Duras, 1975

Revision. Luminous, meditative, melancholy, and deeply uneasy. Duras’ prose is pure poetry, recited over images which gracefully and doubtfully evoke glimpses of the long-past events recounted, lost in a haze of heat and melancholy and existential boredom which detach these characters from themselves even in the present, and their image-ghosts from that uncertain present experience, and Venice from Calcutta and the beggar woman’s incomprehensible cry from the beggar-woman’s past. I wrote down some of what was said, following the pauses, and the lines I write it in look like its natural element. The film merges with its reverberations in one’s mind, I think – and it cries (or I did), but not necessarily only for itself. Only Duras ever made films like Duras – it is hypnotic, it is personal, it is also exotic and consicious of the fact (Savanakhet, Savanakhet), but India and Indochina, which Duras really knew, are still a country of the mind, with their sonorous names, their oppressive slow-moving heat, their corrosive plagues. YES oh YES.

-Alison Smith

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4 thoughts on “screen poetry, poetic criticism

  1. I think you may have known it already, but I just want to tell you that I’m feeling very glad to know that Isabelle Huppert and Gaspard Ulliel are starring in A BARRAGE AGAINST THE PACIFIC (2008, Rithy Panh), which is adapted from a novel by Marguerite Duras. My friend who has read the novel said that the casting of Huppert is perfect for the role. I can’t wait to see this film. :-)

  2. is this MY alison smith? tangled up in blue, mayday alison smith? If its you Im trying to find you. It =sounds= like you! Love Jen

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