Produced at the height of the Vietnam War, Emile de Antonio's Oscar-nominated 1968 documentary chronicles the war's historical roots. With palpable outrage, De Antonio (Point of Order, ... See full summary »
Emile de Antonio
Harry S. Ashmore,
Charles Desvallées has good reasons to believe that his wife is cheating on him and hires a P.D. in order to prove himself right. Once he knows the lover is writer Victor Pégala, he drives ... See full summary »
Maurice Pialat's portrait of contemporary France mocks prosperity as a substitute for social and sexual revolution. Nelly abandons her bourgeois friends and a steady relationship for the ... See full summary »
Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave. Herzog ... See full summary »
Set in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, the film focuses on a group of amateur theatre troupe performers whose fate mirrors that of the general population in China as massive socio-economic ... See full summary »
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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