Marguerite Duras

My Marguerite Duras videos...

2 - Moderato Cantabile - Uploaded to YouTube 2023/10/11
The sixth novel of Duras (following Le Square) continued the development of her style. The action of Moderato Cantabile takes place over a single week in an unnamed French coastal town, with, for the most part, a single chapter being devoted to each day of the week, with variations on an established routine generating the work's complexity in lieu of a conventional plot. One source of variation is how much wine the female protagonist drinks, which also impacts how long she stays talking to her male companion, which in turn impacts her interaction with her son on the walk home, etc. This approach generates action out of the desires of the characters rather than from the outside in an extremely convincing way; there is a dialectical relationship with the outside world to the point where there is no sense of events taking place against some neutral background but of everything that makes up the environment being a part of life, capapble of coloring and being colored by events, of shaping mood. There is also a profound engagement with the way in which the female protagonist is everywhere limited by society's demands upon her as a married, respectable mother, always susceptible to the judgment and condemnation of others (male and female). This experience of constant pressure gives this novel a strongly feminist aspect.

1 - The Lover - Uploaded to YouTube 2022/09/05
The most commercially successful of Duras's novels, this is one of a number of her books that examine her forbidden sexual relationship with a wealthy, older Chinese man during her childhood in Saigon. This is written across the decades, at a point in time where Duras feels able to say more about this event, her family life (largely depressing, with a hint of incestuous inclinations on the part of one of her brothers). While there is an awareness of those around her about the relationship (a mixture of condemnation and facilitation, with the mother effectively prostituting her daughter to improve the family's dire financial position), its heart is hidden from the outside world, and it's these scenes of the two lovers together that are most affecting, showing the purity that lies at the heart of the lives of these two individuals, the one a European raised in Indochine, the other a Chinese who has spent time in France. An excellent place to begin reading Duras's work.