Essay On Marguerite Duras (Notes to Myself)


“Born in 1914 in Gia-Dinh (VN)
Died in 1996 in Paris (FR)

Icon_werke Print
35 mm film transfered onto DVD, colour, sound
Duration : 11′
Purchased in: 2003
Aurélia Steiner (Melbourne)
Aurélia Steiner (Vancouver)
Les Mains négatives
To show on the basis of something being missing, such is no doubt the obsessive quest in the films of Marguerite Duras. Like her stories and novels, they explore absence (of meaning, of the other); and her films are full of the idea of her own death; of its inability ever to replace the text. While Marguerite Duras has made screen versions of some of her narratives (her way of exhausting them perhaps), this cycle dating from 1979 is taken from no independent writing. The writing is introduced beneath, or beyond, the pictures, it never accompanies them. These four shorts are not blind films in which Duras took her experimentations with the cinema to their limits (L’Homme atlantique, of 1981, for instance). But they do carry the premises of it, being full of that ‘tepid softness of the threatened image’. They in fact start a transition, taking the disassociation of the picture and the soundtrack further on from work like India Song (1974), with a more conventional narrative structure.

Aurélia Steiner (Vancouver) begins with a crack noticed in the stonework. Then the horizon appears, which has ‘the evenness of a huge crossing-out’. A smooth, frail voice intones, ‘I love you, beyond my strength. I do not know you.’ It is an incantation that digs into the film with its mystery, undermining its every image; river banks, clouds and trees. All these places with no origin or reference. ‘I am beautiful, so beautiful I am a stranger to myself. My name is Aurélia Steiner. I am your girl. I am informed about you, through me.’ ‘I’, ‘you’ … But what ‘I’, what ‘you’? Carried off by these fluctuating identities, and by the conjugation of all the tenses, the text is borne along by a multiple voice, with ghosts passing through, over three generations of a Jewish family. Gradually, this slow montage of black and white panoramas together seems to echo this name that might carry within it a landscape: Aurélia Steiner as water and stone? It in any case carries within it a whole memory: ‘Aurélia is there or elsewhere. She is broken, scattered throughout the film. She is there, as elsewhere, in every Jew; the first generation is her, as is the last.’1
In Aurélia Steiner (Melbourne), pictures of the Seine have taken the place of pictures of the sea. Chaotic fluidity of writing, confusion of referents: the principles are identical. Whether urban or watery, the landscape is like a sensitive surface, a blank page, from which memory emerges, in that so typically Durassian mode: ‘The river drained off all the Jewish dead and carried them away. There was talk of Aurélia everywhere, you could hear her name being murmured under bridges, she was the memory of all those days. Yes, the river carried them off in the funerary boat towards the river’s singular end, the universal dilution of the sea […] The death of a Jew from Auschwitz for me populates the entire story of our time, the whole war. I think the Jews, this disturbance for me so powerful, and which I can see in all light, before which I stand in a killing clearsightedness, this ties in with the written word. Writing is seeking outside of yourself something that is already inside of yourself.’2

It is in the light of this statement that her film “Césarée” should be tackled with came about from the unused footage of “Navire Night”, dating from the same year (the images in Les mains négatives were also taken from there). Made up of stills of the Tuileries gardens and its statues by Maillol, “Césarée” is stamped with the memory of Berenice, queen of the Jews, and of her city of which nothing remains but the name, abandoned following her repudiation. There is this same confusion of time periods and resurgence of narratives in Les Mains négatives. Its dolly shots trace a slow advance through Paris, which is deepened by the reference to the drawings of hands found in many caves dating from the Magdalenian age. Thus comes to a head an ode to humanity, and to all its excluded ones, that daylight, only just risen over the city, has not yet forced into extinction. Its murmur resounds for a long time: ‘Everything is being crushed, I love you farther than you. I would love anyone hearing me shout that I love you.’”


Do You Recognize Love When You See It?

“‘I loved that Andalusian for a long time. How long? “A period in proportion to our vain and meagre span,’ said Pascal,” said Debord.

lost highway 1

Or “clenching your fist for the ones like us who are oppressed by the figures of beauty” (Leonard Cohen)

lost highway 2

A Paragraph From The Night by Michèle Bernstein


“In the water, Carole will raise a hand to signal that Gilles should join her: a signal that merges with the action of swimming and which, in any case, will not be understood, because Gilles will not have seen it and will be stretched out at Geneviève’s side – near to the heavily tanned Geneviève, at any rate – on the sand; from a distance, she’ll seem even more brown to Carole because of her high-cut black swimming costume, which Carole will consider very sophisticated all of a sudden, and will admire; it will cause her to regret her own basic blue cotton bikini. All alone, Carole will swim towards the shore, no longer conscious of the cool water surrounding her, but of the increasingly sharp image of the couple that she will swim towards (as opposed to swimming towards the shore).”


Feathers Again

I come home, she lifted up her wings
Full of feathers that were pens
I guess that this must be the place
Turning black and blue with ink
I can’t tell one from the other
One plus NO ONE
I find you, or you find me?

Read more: Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place Lyrics | MetroLyrics

I wrote this after seeing a graffiti with the text “This Must Be The Place”. Got the mind link to the feathers again, but I’ll come back to the Derrida text about feathers and pens more than I do here.


I know i should write something about Mallarmé, feathers (pens (of Prometheus or Lucifer) and writing in Derrida’s Dissemination, but I just couldn’t help getting touched by Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff’s new lyrics for their song Out of the Woods.

You took a Polaroid of us
Then discovered
The rest of the world was black and white
But we were in screaming color

I walked out, I said “I’m setting you free”
But the monsters turned out to be just trees
When the sun came up
You were looking at me.

I wrote a quote on twitter to Swift yesterday (because I was touched by her iHeart Radio version of Love Story), it goes like this:

the joy doesn’t need to cheer, it’s so big, lays next to the ❤ (poem by Siri Oftestad).

Thank you TS 1989 (I'm proud to say that this is also my year of birth)

(Why did I put the Al Pacino clip here? Because that inspired me today too:-))

tired of yourself and all of your creations

“Now when all of the bandits that you turned your other cheek to

All lay down their bandanas and complain

And you want somebody you don’t have to speak to

Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane ?

Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane ?”

Bob Dylan

“My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding…”

Song of Solomon 2,14

I’m blogsick, I wish I’d never write you, my fading picture

letters and pixels

Andrew Garfield

As a inspired reader of Jung the super hero-actor presents a world where living is easy, not in everyday life but in the mission of life, to be the one you are called to be. The modern novels and tv-series were demonic drift is the center one pretends not excists, at the same time as one worships it, leaves emptiness at the core, (the atmosphere of reality is a falseness swimming in the meaningless evil, i.e. in House of Cards, or the trailers I’ve seen to Eli Roths series Hemlock Grove) opposite of love and life that the supernatural call represents for Garfield, for Spider Man and for the human family. Emma Stone, like a tolkiensque statue of stone with inscription of mortality that love and life carries on it, the statue of stone the elfs can see of man, the clear vision