Marguerite Duras, Les mains négatives (Negative Hands) | From My Window / From Your Window: Film #2
Friday, May 8, 2020

e-flux and the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen are pleased to present Marguerite Duras's Les mains négatives, the second film in the joint series From My Window / From Your Window.

An uninterrupted traveling shot seen from the inside of a car. From the end of a night till dawn, from the Bastille to the Champs-Élysées—by way of the boulevard des Italiens, avenue de l'Opéra, and rue de Rivoli—a depopulated Paris offers itself to Marguerite Duras' voice.

In Les mains négatives, Duras creates a literature beyond the book, where the boundary between fiction and documentation becomes obsolete. She deprives the photographic image of its documentary function in order to make visible in it something that never belonged to it, something unphotographed. Here, Duras represents a mystical view of history similar to Edmond Jabès', who wrote that the entire memory of the world is contained in a grain of sand. It's probably what Sartre did not understand about Freud: that the unconscious is not a past being. But that it is also not a fiction—it is real.

Marguerite Duras (1914–1996) was a French novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and filmmaker. One of the most influential intellectual figures of her generation, she is the author of numerous works, among them the films Hiroshoma mon amour (writer; 1959) and India Song (writer and director; 1975), as well the novel L'Amant (The Lover, 1984) which was awarded the prestigious Prix Goncourt.

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