Duras film: Moderato Cantabile

Michaël Samyn, December 1, 2012

Extract from Moderato cantabile, a film written by Marguerite Duras and directed by Peter Brook in 1960

— I should not have drunk so much wine.

— Since yesterday evening, you see, I have been thinking about it more and more. Since the piano lesson.
I could not stop myself from coming today.

— So what?
You are Madame Desbaresdes, the wife of the director of the factories on the coast. You live on Sea Boulevard.

— Yes, Sir.

And to conclude this series of Duras films, Peter Brook’s adaptation of Moderato Cantabile, the novel that inspired the situation in Bientôt l’été.

We see the factory worker Chauvin, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, meet with the wife of his employer, Anne Desbaresdes, played by Jeanne Moreau, at a café table in a seaside town. This is the first time they meet. There had been a crime passionnel the day before in this café, and curiosity drove the woman to interrupt her daily walks here.

In the novel, many more conversations like this follow, whereas in the film, they meet in all sorts of places. The end result is the same, they fall in love but then decide this love is impossible.

I chose this extract to show the poverty and banality of the situation. There is nothing fancy about this workman’s café. And yet we are drawn to such places in search of some human warmth, away from the wind and the noise outside. We find comfort in the proximity of others, even if we have nothing in common with them.

As long as, perhaps, the conversation doesn’t make too much sense.

Comments Off

Comments are closed at this time.