India Song

A Journey in the Festival’s History

France  ·  1975  ·  HD  ·  Color  ·  114'  ·  o.v. French

Chosen by Helena Wittmann.
On Demand

5-15 | 8 | 2020  ·  Sub. English

Disponibile in Svizzera – Available in Switzerland

On Demand

5-15 | 8 | 2020

Available on MUBI for the international audience: film availability varies depending on your location

Calcutta, 1937. Anne-Marie Stretter, the wife of the French ambassador, embarks on a relationship with Michael Richardson. One evening, during a reception at the embassy, she sees him again and grants him a dance. One of the guests is France’s vice-consul in Lahore who, having fallen from grace, notices Anne-Marie and promptly declares his passionate love for her in front of the outraged guests. The next day, Anne-Marie is mysteriously missing… Marguerite Duras’ film, shown in the Locarno competition in 1975, desynchronizes image and sound to evoke, through the anguish of the protagonist, the void and guilt of the invading West.

Selected by Helena Wittmann​​​​​​​
Director of Human Flowers of Flesh​​​​​​​

The Indian housekeeper lights an incense stick before white society enters the decadent rooms. From outside, the voice of a beggar woman keeps pushing into the building, carried by the damp air. There's no sight of her, the beggar woman, and she will not be seen in the entire film. But one can feel her, just as one can smell the heavy scent of the incense sticks, which slowly and yellowishly blend with the sultry heat. Anne-Marie Stretter, the Venetian pianist, wife of the French ambassador to India – listless and longing – dances. She appears in a mirror, regarded by us and by one of her suitors, who watches her from all sides throughout the film. Off-screen voices recall this woman, sometimes they seem to be present in the room; sometimes they seem to conjure up the scene that we see; sometimes they report on what we don't see and what echoes into the film as "world". Sometimes it's silent, completely silent. A hand passes over her white back. One hand turns in another's. Just very lightly. In the film, it's a tremor. Time passes in loops, very dense, very sinister and very seductive. And there is this song, India Song, which is heard repeatedly, and which is danced to repeatedly, and one you will not forget so quickly.

– Helena Wittmann




Marguerite Duras


Delphine Seyring, Michael Lonsdale, Mathieu Carrière


Stéphane Tchalgadjieff, Simon Damiani, André Valio-Cavaglione


Bruno Nuytten


Carlos D'Alessio


Marguerite Duras


Michel Vionnet


Solange Leprince


Sunchild Productions

Les Films Armorial

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