Segments in this Video

Pieces of Childhood (03:32)


Novelist, Marguerite Duras reads from "The Lover" and explains how she incorporated pieces of her childhood in Vietnam into her work.

Early Years in Vietnam (03:26)

Marguerite Duras was born in 1914 and grew up in French Indochina. Her mother was widowed and the family was poor. Her mother lived a life of exile and often sank into despair and despondency.

Poverty among the Vietnamese (02:44)

Duras spoke Vietnamese like a native and grew up alongside them. She wrote of the dire poverty of the Vietnamese in her early novel, "The Sea Wall." Too many children were born and many died.

Corruption of Colonial Officials (04:11)

Duras' perception of the world's injustice was shaped by the corruption of colonial officials. Her mother spent her life savings to buy a piece of land, but the land they gave her was worthless.

A Love Affair (04:11)

"The Lover" is based upon Duras' love affair with a Vietnamese man at age 15. Duras describes the room where her love affair took place as feeling very exposed yet keeping her concealed within.

Breaking Social Rules (04:56)

The theme of an affair which breaks society's rules and brings disgrace upon the family is a theme that reoccurs throughout Duras' works, noticeably in "The Lover" and "Hiroshima Mon Amour."

Love and Violence (04:12)

The origins of many of the themes of Duras' works lie in her earliest childhood. She recognized that in life, love and violence were often connected through the contrasting natures of her brothers.

Nature of Oppression (04:32)

Through her older brother's brutality and through the Nazi occupation of France, Duras came to understand the nature of oppression. Politically and personally she identifies the evil of mankind.

Incestuous Love (02:31)

Duras' attitude towards sexual relations in her writing is affected by her relationships with her brothers, yet she did not recognize her sexual attraction to them until her own sexual awakening.

Nature of Desire (02:37)

Duras recognizes the destructive power of desire through the story of the local administrator's wife who drove her young lover to suicide and becomes a social outcast, something Duras identifies with.

Duras as a Filmmaker (04:05)

In her 1975 film, "India Song," Duras conveys a sense of events long past through recording the soundtrack separately from the film. She calls her super-imposed dialogue the "voice off."

Voice Off (04:01)

"India Song" tries to reclaim something from death. In its complement, "Her Venetian Name in Calcutta Desert," Duras uses the same soundtrack with different, more striking footage.

Separation in "The Lover" (05:21)

Duras ends the affair in "The Lover" through a physical separation and as the steamer carries her to France she realizes that through ending the affair and her brother's death her childhood is lost.

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Marguerite Duras: Worn Out with Desire . . . to Write

DVD Price: $169.95
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She was the sort of woman who spared neither herself nor others—and arguably qualifies as 20th-century France’s greatest femme de lettres. In this interview, the late novelist and filmmaker talks openly about the hardship and the romance of her childhood in French Indochina, sharing how this period haunted her life and shaped her work. Excerpts from her films and readings from her books by actress Elizabeth Rider and Duras herself—including The Lover, winner of the Prix Goncourt and translated into more than forty languages—bring to life those formative years in Vietnam. (52 minutes)

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL10094

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5987-4

Copyright date: ©1985

Closed Captioned

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