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In the Dark Room

Marguerite Duras and Cinema


Julie Beaulieu and Rosanna Maule

This book examines Duras’s contribution to contemporary cinema. The ‘dark room’ in the collection’s title refers to one of Duras’s metaphors for the writing process, la chambre noire, as the solitary space of literary creation, the place where she struggles to project her ‘internal shadow’ onto the blank page. The dark room is also a metaphor for the film theater and, by extension, for the filmic experience. Duras rejected conventional forms of cinematic address that encourage the spectator to develop a positive identification with the film’s diegesis and narrative. Her films create unusual rapports between image and sound, diegetic and extra-diegetic elements, and textual and intertextual dimensions of cinematic representation. In doing so, they allow the film spectator to establish new connections with the screen.
This collection focuses on the aesthetic, conceptual, and political challenges involved in Duras’s innovative approach to cinematic representation, from an interdisciplinar perspective including film and literary theory, psychoanalytic analysis, music theory, gender studies, and post-colonial criticism. The book opens with a theoretical introduction to Duras’s cinematic practice and its peculiar position in contemporary cinema and contemporary film theory and is divided into five parts, each one devoted to a specific aspect of Duras’s films: the interaction between literature and cinema (Part One); the reconfiguration of the cinematic gaze (Part Two) and of the image/sound relation (Part Three); the representation of history and memory (Part Four) and of cultural identity (Part Five).
Contents: Foreword by Annette Förster – Rosanna Maule: Introduction: Marguerite Duras, la grande imagière – Madeleine Borgomano: The Image of Cinema in The Sea Wall – Catherine Dhavernas: Cinema and the Destruction of the Text in the Work of Marguerite Duras – Cécile Hanania: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Cinematic References in Marguerite Duras’s Texts – Julie Beaulieu: The Poetics of Cinematic Writing: Marguerite Duras and Maya Deren – Michelle Royer: Writing, the Writing Self and the Cinema of Marguerite Duras – Bruno Lessard: ‘Disparaître, dit-elle’: The Vanishing of Lol V. Stein as (Dis)Embodied Haunting and Invisible Spectacle – Tammy A. Kinsey: ‘You Saw Nothing’: Duras’s Cinematic Language – Dong Liang: Marguerite Duras’s Aural World: A Study of the Mise en son of India Song – Lynsey Russell-Watts: Analysing Sound and Voice: Refiguring Approaches to the Films of the ‘Indian Cycle’ – Sandy Flitterman-Lewis: Nevers, mon souvenir: Marguerite Duras, History, and the Secret Heart of Hiroshima mon amour – Thomas Stubblefield: Love and the Burden of Memory in Duras’s Ten-Thirty on a Summer Night and Moderato Cantabile – Alwin Baum: Le Ravissement de l’autre: Subjective Exile and Semiotic Subversion in Duras’s Écriture filmique – Muriel Walker: Taboo Love between Text and Image in the Works of Marguerite Duras and Assia Djebar.