Nathalie Granger (1972)

MARGUERITE DURAS

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5France, 1972Screenplay by Cinematography by Film Editing by .

Jeanne Moreau and Lucia Bose in Nathalie Granger.

Marguerite Duras loved to challenge an audience, rarely doing so more formidably than with this highly experimental voyage into pure art cinema.  and live in a country house with the one woman’s son and the other’s daughter, having no particularly conventional conversations but their scenes frequently revolve around their concern for the titular young girl’s educational future. Somewhere in the hazily photographed sequences of them in their kitchen or garden, a young Gerard Depardieu enters and tries to sell these two women, whose faces are stymied to an almost humorous extent, a washing machine that he tells them is the latest in innovative appliances. There’s a sense of rebellion not only in the sight of these ladies rejecting the bourgeois convention of a machine connected with housewifery, but also in the fact that Duras, whose fame was built on melodramatic romances, rejects all manner of visible narrative concern and simply puts female figures on the screen without pressuring them to entertain us. In theory, this is marvelous, but don’t be surprised if it’s not a film you’ll want to watch again and again, particularly as the execution of this act of artistic extremism is done in far too loose and improvisational a manner, it feels far too accidental and not the result of a determined artist.

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