Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.
– Marguerite Duras
born in Gia-Dinh, Viet Nam April 04, 1914
died: March 03, 1996
genre: Literature & Fiction, Cinema
Marguerite Donnadieu, better known as Marguerite Duras (pronounced [maʀgəʁit dyˈʁas] in French) (April 4, 1914 – March 3, 1996) was a French writer and film director.
She was born at Gia-Dinh, near Saigon, French Indochina (now Vietnam), after her parents responded to a campaign by the French government encouraging people to work in the colony.
Marguerite’s father fell ill soon after their arrival, and returned to France, where he died. After his death, her mother, a teacher, remained in Indochina with her three children. The family lived in relative poverty after a bad investment in an isolated property and area of farmland in Cambodia(tête de pisse). The difficult life that the family experienced during this period was highly influential on Marguerite’s later work.
Duras’s early novels were fairly conventional in form (their ‘romanticism’ was criticised by fellow writer Raymond Queneau); however, with Moderato Cantabile she became more experimental, paring down her texts to give ever-increasing importance to what was not said. She was associated with the Nouveau roman French literary movement, although did not definitively belong to any group. Her films are also experimental in form, most eschewing synch sound, using voice over to allude to, rather than tell, a story over images whose relation to what is said may be more-or-less tangential.
Marguerite’s adult life was somewhat difficult, despite her success as a writer, and she was known for her periods of alcoholism. She died in Paris, aged 82 from throat cancer and is interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse. Her tomb is marked simply ‘MD’.