translated from the French by DANIELLA SHREIR
with writing by PHUONG LE and ALICE BLACKHURST
I make films to fill my time. If I had the strength to do nothing, I would do nothing. It is only because I haven’t the strength to do nothing that I make films. For no other reason. This is the truest thing I can say about my practice.
J.D. – What do you say to people who tell you that your films aren't cinema?
M.D. – Cinema is being trapped in the dark with an image. Nothing more. No matter what the image. A car going at 100 miles an hour or a face saying "no". A concert that has been filmed is also cinema; there is music and then there’s an image. The rest is nonsense. There is no theory that can support it.
My Cinema is an extensive collection of writings by and interviews with Marguerite Duras about her cinematic oeuvre. Working chronologically through her nineteen films made between 1966 and 1985, this 400-page volume includes non-standard press releases, notes to her actors, letters to funders, short essays on themes as provocatively capacious as "mothers" and "witches", as well as some of the most significant and substantial interviews she gave about her cinematographic and writing practice (with filmmakers and critics including Jacques Rivette, Caroline Champetier and Jean Narboni).
In Duras's hands all these forms turn into a strange, gnomic literature in which the boundary between word and image becomes increasingly blurred and the paradox of creating a cinema that seeks "to destroy the cinema" finds its most potent expression. Yet Duras's biggest preoccupations are global. With the audiovisual as a starting point, her encyclopaedic associative powers bring readers into confrontation with subjects as diverse as the French Communist Party, hippies, Jews, revolutionary love, madness and freedom across three decades of an oeuvre that is always in simultaneous dialogue with the contemporary moment and world history.
MARGUERITE DURAS (1914–1996) published over forty novels, numerous essays, novellas and plays and made nineteen films. She was part of the French Resistance, joined then left the Communist Party, and actively protested against the war in Algeria. She collaborated repeatedly with actors including Jeanne Moreau, Delphine Seyrig and Gerard Depardieu. Her films speak of her childhood in Indochina and the French colonies, of desire (burning and frustrated), madness and domesticity. Contemporary filmmakers including Claire Denis, Alice Diop and John Waters have cited Duras’ cinema as inspiration for their own work.
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