Marguerite Duras
Where: Palau de la Virreina
La Rambla, 99

Previous exhibitions

Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras

12.03.2022 – 02.10.2022

Curator: Valentín Roma

Opening: Friday 11 March, 7 pm
Free entry

Marguerite Duras (Gia Đnh, 1914 – Paris, 1996) was one of the most influential European writers and filmmakers of the second half of the 20th century. The author of fifty-six books—including novels, journalistic writings and theatre plays—nineteen films and a dozen or so screenplays, Duras remains not only a cult figure but also, above all in France, a true popular icon.

Each of the nine rooms in this exhibition includes films that offer an insight into Marguerite Duras’s experimental spirit and uncanny flair for forging new semantic links between image and text.

The first room explores how the writer portrayed life in French Indochina along the southern border of Vietnam between 1914 and 1933, based on her experience of growing up as a member of the privileged, white ruling class while corrupt colonial authorities exploited the local population under a barely disguised regime of slavery. This section includes Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub’s short film En rachâchant (1982), based on Duras’s short story Ah! Ernesto (1971).

The second room covers the period between 1942 and 1961 and follows the political twists and turns of the “groupe de la rue Saint-Benoît”, the trauma of the Second World War and Duras’s expulsion from the French Communist Party for her “arrogance, loose morals and sleeping around”. It also looks at her role in anti-Gaullist circles in the late 1950s.

The third room, running from 1968 to 1977, contains Duras’s contributions to the May ’68 student movement and the French feminist movement in the 1970s. It includes a screening of Césarée (1979).

The fourth room brings together her interviews for the television show Dim Dam Dom between 1965 and 1967.

The fifth room is given over entirely to Marguerite Duras’s filmmaking and showcases five of her major films: Détruire, dit-elle (1969), Le Camion (1977), Aurélia Steiner (Vancouver) (1979), Agatha et les lectures illimitées (1981) and Les Enfants (1984). It also pays tribute to her work as screenwriter on Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and features a special 1980 issue of Cahiers du Cinéma magazine written and put together by Marguerite Duras at the invitation of Serge Daney as a kind of blank sheet for her to express her keen thoughts on films and literature.

The sixth room centres on one of the three conversations Marguerite Duras held with Jean-Luc Godard, this one for the television programme Océaniques in 1987, together with an interview of Duras by Eugeni Bonet and Juan Bufill from 29 January 1977, following the presentation of the film India Song at the Filmoteca in Barcelona, and a debate between Chantal Akerman, Delphine Seyrig, Liliane de Kermadec and Duras entitled 1975 : C’est quoi, un cinéma au féminin ?

The seventh room is given over to Duras’s writing and features two major, strikingly contrasting books: La Vie matérielle (Material life, 1987) and Écrire (Writing, 1993), together with the films Les Mains négatives (1979) and Aurélia Steiner (Melbourne) (1979) and the interview Marguerite Duras. Écrire, by Benoît Jacquot.

The final two galleries focus on Duras’s theatre work and journalistic writings, including Michelle Porte’s documentary Savannah Bay c’est toi (1984), the anthology of articles Outside (1981) and clips from Peter Handke’s film Das Mal des Todes (1985), a free adaptation of Duras’s classic book La Maladie de la mort (The malady of death, 1982).

Many of the photographs and films featured in this exhibition were made available by Marguerite Duras’s son, Jean Mascolo, who overseas part of her archive, together with many period documents belonging to the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA).

Marguerite Duras
Marguerite Duras interviewing Lolo Pigalle for the television show "Dim Dam Dom", 28 October 1965
Marguerite Duras
Carme Sansa and Jordi Dauder performing in "L’amant anglesa" (The English lover) at the Mercat de les Flors in 1996 © Josep Ros Ribas. MAE. Institut del Teatre
Marguerite Duras
Dionys Mascolo, Marguerite Duras and Robert Antelme, ca. 1943 © Jean Mascolo
Marguerite Duras
Poster for "Détruire, dit-elle", 1969

With the collaboration of:

  • Filmoteca de Catalunya