Marguerite Germaine Marie Donnadieu (4 April 1914 – 3 March 1996), known as Marguerite Duras (French: [maʁɡ(ə)ʁit dyʁas]), was a French novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and experimental filmmaker. Her script for the film Hiroshima mon amour (1959) earned her a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards.
While married to Robert Antelme, Duras acted on her belief that fidelity was absurd. She created a ménage à trois when she started an affair with Dionys Mascolo, who fathered one of her sons.During the final two decades of Duras’ life, she experienced various health issues. Starting in 1980 she was hospitalized for the first time from a combination of alcohol and tranquilizers. She was also undergoing various detoxification procedures to help her recover from her alcohol addiction. After being hospitalized in October 1988 she fell into a coma that lasted until June 1989.Paralleling her health issues in the 1980s, Duras began having a relationship with a homosexual actor named Yann Andréa. Yann Andréa would help Duras through her various health issues. Duras would later detail these interactions and companionship in her final book Yann Andréa Steiner.Duras’ health would continue to decline into the 1990s, resulting in her death on March 3, 1996.
Duras was born Marguerite Donnadieu on 4 April 1914, in Gia Định, Cochinchina, French Indochina (now Vietnam). Her parents, Marie (née Legrand, 1877-1956) and Henri Donnadieu (1872-1921), were teachers from France who likely had met at Gia Định High School. They had both had previous marriages. Marguerite had two older brothers: Pierre, the elder, and Paul.Duras's father fell ill and he returned to France, where he died in 1921. Between 1922 and 1924, the family lived in France while her mother was on administrative leave. They then moved back to French Indochina when she was posted to Phnom Penh followed by Vĩnh Long and Sa Đéc. The family struggled financially and her mother made a bad investment in an isolated property and area of rice farmland in Prey Nob, a story which was fictionalized in Un Barrage contre le Pacifique.In 1931, when she was 17, Duras and her family moved to France and she completed her baccalaureate. Duras returned to Saigon again with Paul and her mother in 1932 and completed her second baccalaureate, leaving Pierre in France. In 1933, Duras embarked alone for Paris to study law and mathematics. She soon abandoned this to concentrate on political science. After completing her studies in 1938, she worked for the French government in the Ministry of the Colonies. In 1939, she married the writer Robert Antelme, whom she had met during her studies.During World War II, from 1942 to 1944, Duras worked for the Vichy government in an office that allocated paper quotas to publishers and in the process operated a de facto book-censorship system. She also became an active member of the PCF (the French Communist Party) and a member of the French Resistance as a part of a small group that also included François Mitterrand, who later became President of France and remained a lifelong friend of Duras. Her husband, Antelme, was deported to Buchenwald in 1944 for his involvement in the Resistance, and barely survived the experience (weighing on his release, according to Duras, just 38 kg, or 84 pounds). She nursed him back to health, but they divorced once he recovered.In 1943, when publishing her first novel, she began to use the surname Duras, after the town that her father came from, Duras.In 1950, her mother returned to France, wealthy from property investments and from the boarding school she had run.
Movies & TV shows
Edgar Morin, journal d'une vie
The sociologist, born in 1921, has gone through his century as an enlightened observer and unruly researcher. The portrait of him was woven from his past and recent interviews. The figure of the intel...
Marguerite Duras wrote 'The Little Horses of Tarquinia'.
There is a view of a Riviera beach house for her family's summer vacation. This break in her routine will be a turning point in her life. The portrait of a woman trapped in her marriage to a wealthy b...
Mitterrand, président culturel
On the occasion of the fourty years anniversary of Franois Mitterand's election, a look back at the relationship between the President and artists, from admiration to manipulation.
About the Gabriel Matzneff affair and pedophilia in French culture and society from the 1950s to the present day. "It was not very difficult to know who Matzneff was at the time." Vanessa Springora de...
Delphine and Carole
The pioneers of video activism in France in the 70s were Delphine Seyrig and Carole Roussopoulos. They used new technologies to counter the poor representation of women in the public media.
When French writer Marguerite Duras (1914-96) published her novel The Sea Wall in 1950, she came very close to winning the prestigious Prix Goncourt. Meanwhile, in Indochina, France was suffering its ...
Drifters of a shadowy dream
At the same time that he's looking for funding for the film he wrote himself, X, a film location scout, spends his time travelling from place to place looking for filming locations. In the middle of n...
Jeanne Moreau: Free Spirit
An account of the life of actress Jeanne Moreau (1928-2017), a true icon of the New Wave and one of the most idolized French movie stars.
Memoir of War
Marguerite Duras waits for the return of her husband, Robert Antelme, who was arrested for being a Resistance fighter and deported in the last days of the Nazi-occupied France. She must endure the pai...
A Stormy Summer Night
Pierre and Maria, a Parisian couple, travel to Spain with their daughter and her friend. When a violent storm hits they must settle for the night in a tiny hotel in a small Andalusian city. This small...
Les vendredis d'Apostrophes
40 years of "Apostrophes". Hours and historical meetings, Pierre Assouline has composed an anthology of the best extracts presented in the form of a primer, which he had commented on by a surprised Be...
The Sea Wall
The film centers around a young French widow and her two adolescent children attempt to carve out a meager life for themselves by farming rice fields alongside the ocean in French Indo-China in the 19...
Hiroshima: The Time of Return
In the film's biography, Luc Lagier puts the film back in its historical context. He tells the story, then the development of what was originally intended to be a short documentary film turned into an...
Marguerite, as in Herself
On June 3, 1991, Marguerite Duras gave me her last published work, "The North China Lover". She wrote in memory of her friend, who worked in the cinema with her. This is a portrait of her as she was c...
Duras told Benot that the film was about him. She treated me like a criminal. I offered to make a film where she could talk about her life as a writer. That is how we did it. The same film crew was br...
The Death of the Young English Aviator
The story of the death of a young Englishman in a French village is told by Marguerite Duras.
The Malady of Death
In the space of a short 65 minutes, a woman enters the luxury apartment of a wealthy man with an eccentric fascination for the female form and is paid both for her sexual favors and for lying there na...
The seven-year-old boy with the body of a thirty-year-old man decided on his first day of school that he wouldn't attend because he didn't want to be taught about matters that he doesn't know.
Marguerite Duras: Worn Out with Desire . . . to Write
She was the sort of woman who spared neither herself nor others—and arguably qualifies as 20th-century France’s greatest femme de lettres. In this interview, the late novelist and filmmaker talks open...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
The Colour of Words
This afterword to India Song (Duras' celebrated 1975 film) is organized in several parts. It begins with an interview to Marguerite Duras by Dominique Noguez, an expert in her work; the interview lin...
La Dame des Yvelines
Conversation between a woman (Duras) and a man (D. Noguez) about a woman and a man.
One Minute For One Image
In a TV series directed by Varda, she gives thoughts to her favorite images and why she likes them.
The film is about a man and a woman talking. It doesn't matter if you are a couple or a married couple. We don't see the city of Rome during this conversation. I wanted to show the feeling of an indis...
Aurélia Steiner (Vancouver)
Based on the letters of a fictitious poetess to her lover. Duras reads extracts from the letters, about the poetess’s Jewish past, while the film shows stark waves beating against the seashore. – BFI
Aurélia Steiner (Melbourne)
Based on the letters of a fictitious poetess to her lover. Duras reads extracts from these letters, as the film shows a boat journey down the Seine, past familiar bridges and landmarks. – BFI
Le Navire Night
Each night in Paris, hundreds of men and women use telephone lines that date from the German Occupation and are not listed to talk to each other to love each other. The people are dying to love each o...
Entire Days in the Trees
An old lady returns from Africa where she made a fortune to find her son in Paris, whom she has not seen in five years, with the intention of bringing him back with her. But this project fails.
In this most talky and personal of films, director Marguerite Duras and actor Gerard Depardieu do an on-camera read-through of a movie script. The director and actor talk about their characters. There...
Baxter, Vera Baxter
In an empty villa, Vera Baxter sits and contemplates her life, as she recounts to a woman who was drawn to the villa when she heard the name Vera Baxter pronounced. Vera tells her that her husband has...
The Places of Marguerite Duras
Marguerite Duras spent her formative years moving. She says that all the women in her books have lived in this house. All. Duras remembers the forest of her childhood and her fear of music, and she te...
Son nom de Venise dans Calcutta désert
Marguerite Duras' 1975 film India Song, about a French ambassador's wife in 1930s India, is reworked with all new cinematography. We travel through images of decay and absence as we hear the dialogue ...
India was founded in 1937. Anne-Marie Stretter is the wife of the French ambassador and lives in Calcutta. There are many love affairs with government officials and young men who find her attractive. ...
A simple, often wordless chronicle of a woman's day is offered by Marguerite Duras. While doing yard work, she and her friend are talking about their families. There is a bright spot in the day when a...
Jaune, Le Soleil
The film takes place in a single room where representatives of the two political forces and their enemy "the Jew" are gathered. A female character establishes the dialogue between these individuals an...
Destroy, She Said
A group of people meet in a hotel in a dense forest. Max, a professor of future history and an aspiring author, is immediately attracted to the brooding wife of industrialist Bernard Alione, who is re...
Marguerite Duras and the '68ers
Duras is less an interviewer than a documentarian. The sixteen-year-old Romain Goupil was excluded from the lycée among his peers and fellow student revolutonaries. Duras asked Romain if he ever forge...
The Sailor from Gibraltar
Alan became interested in Anna, a widow who was searching for a sailor she had known many years before, after arguing with his girlfriend. Alan and Anna embark on a search for a sailor on a yacht boun...
Three years after their separation, a husband and wife meet in a town where they used to live to pick up their divorce decree.
Marguerite Duras and the Prison Governess
Duras takes on a female prison official. The moral disaster of the prison industrial complex is reflected in the women's verbal wrangling.
10:30 P.M. Summer
A married man and his wife are having sex with a female companion.
Marguerite Duras in the Lions' Den
Duras forensically questions a Parisian zookeeper about the happiness of the animals in his charge. Black-and-white footage of the animals behind bars, as they pace the length of their small concrete ...
Un metteur en ordre: Robert Bresson
A documentary, originally produced in 1966 for the French TV series "Pour le plaisir," about Robert Bresson's film "Au Hasard Balthazar," featuring interviews and discussions with Bresson, Jean-Luc Go...
Report on the young people of the yéyé period and pop music. Jerk at the Palladium, Beatles, press clippings, questions about the impact of fashion (long hair and accoutrements) and modernity, youth, ...
A mother fights her foster parents to get her child back.
In a series of shocking crimes, a sexually repressed school teacher releases her repressed passions.
4 Movies · 1 TV show
The Moment of Peace
There are three segments in the movie "L'instant de la paix". "Les rideaux blancs" is a French phrase. "Berlin N 65" is in West Germany. "Matura" is a Polish word.
Marguerite Duras and Little François
Dim Dam Dom was a variety show that aired on the second channel. Marguerite Duras interviewed Franois. Duras inquired about the inventions of the future, the usefulness of TV, and talking horses. Fran...
Marguerite Duras interviews Jeanne Moreau
The two were close friends and lived in the same houses.
Marguerite Duras and Stripper Lolo Pigalle
Duras interviews the stripper Lolo Pigalle. A clip of Lolo dancing in a golden dress is followed by an intense and intimate conversation in which Lolo discusses the definition of work, the splitting o...
Dim Dam Dom
The Long Absence
Therese, a café owner, mourns the mysterious disappearance of her husband sixteen years earlier. A tramp arrives in the town and she believes him to be her husband. But he is suffering from amnesia an...
Hiroshima Mon Amour
The basis of this celebrated French film is a deep conversation between a Japanese architect and a French actress. A couple recount their previous romances after the end of World War II. Two people ar...
This Angry Age
The twenty-year-old Joseph and his sixteen-year-old sister Suzanne live in a foreign land with their widowed mother. The family's run-down rice plantation is where the mother tries to exert a hold on ...
Une journée à la mer
A short story about the incestuous relationship of brother and his sister Agatha returns to the seaside resort of her childhood in Normandy with her six-year-old son Honoré after years of absence.
La Caverne noire
In this interview, Marguerite Duras talks about the four short films she made in 1979. The return to Césarée of Berenice, repudiated for reasons of state, Jewish wandering, and the scandal of the camp...