Duras film: Nuit noire, Calcutta

Michaël Samyn, November 30, 2012

Extract from Nuit noire, Calcutta, a film written by Marguerite Duras and directed by Marin Karmitz in 1964

Wasting one’s time, one’s youth. Naive expressions she must be using. I wanted to talk about her despair. A great swelling wave smoothly flooding through her. It is the day before yesterday that her lover must have left. His name is Jean, as I heard.

The woman in Calcutta is blond. I will invent her tomorrow.

And that concludes the films directed by Duras herself. Nuit noire, Calcutta was directed by Marin Karmitz. It’s much more conventional than Duras’ own films (as are many of the adaptations of her writing). But it still retains dome of the atmosphere and themes of her work. And the discrepancy between the text and the images (the man is thinking about a novel he wants to write).

Spying on someone in a hotel room through the window, for instance, is a recurring theme in Duras’ work. And of course, the way the sound of the sea flows in when that window is opened is lovely. The almost full moon behind the man. Walking on the boardwalk in Trouville-sur-Mer -already! And the images of lone wanderers on the beach, reminiscent of the avatar’s roaming on the holodeck in Bientôt l’été.

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