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.