Paul is preparing to leave Tajikistan, while thinking back on his adolescent years. His childhood, his mother's madness, the parties, the trip to the USSR where he lost his virginity, the friend who betrayed him and the love of his life.
Poetical tale of Anne-Marie Stretter, the wife of a French diplomat in India in the 1930s. At 18 she had married a French colonial administrator and went with him on posting to Savannakhet,... See full summary »
A soundtrack plays folk rock as a woman prepares, at noon, to take her Borzois for a walk. She goes through her dresses, all 1920's style flapper gowns, holding them one at a time, shaking ... See full summary »
A woman dressed elegantly walks purposely through the water gardens at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, as the music of Vivaldi's "Winter" movement of "The Four Seasons" plays. Heavy red filters... See full summary »
In a Parisian suburb of Bagnolet two receptionists who work in the lobby of the titular high-rise drift from one enigmatic situation to the next going to the pool, visiting a maze-like sex club and hunting for new employment.
Marguerite Duras was a great soul, she stood up against nothingness, with the power and fragility that is love, and she cried out. If that which is base, which is most everything, collapses around you like a rubbish tip avalanche, there is still Marguerite Duras, and films like this.
The images of the film are Paris at dusk. A city far too great to comprehend on any level other than the superficial, a city that leaves one reeling in Stendhalism. It's a blank Paris, before the stories of the day play out, it mirrors the "mains negatives" of the title, presence by absence, the hand-print revealed by the blank left when the area round it is covered in paint. The beauty of the city is revealed by the traces that people have left behind, murals, avenues of trees, monuments.
Marguerite spoke of these images as images passe-partout, images that allow the narration to infuse them with meaning. It's good to watch the film without sound first to understand how fully the perception of the images is informed by the narration.
The parallel images you don't see are of pre-historic petroglyphs, stencilled scuplted hand-prints which Duras describes as being in a cave by the sea. These were, in her interpretation, people simply recording their existence, in front of the immutability of the sea and the granite. What they have in common is that all the hands look the same, there's an equality to each person's existence implied. I have learnt in life that people require your love for them to be special, an exception. Marguerite was far from this paltry model, and loved everyone who looked existence in the eye. I plan one day to visit her grave in Montparnasse and pay my respects.
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