Let Cinema Go To Its Ruin: The Cinema of Marguerite Duras

18 July 2024 to 25 August 2024 The Institute of Contemporary Arts

Three individuals are lying on an ornately patterned carpet. A shirtless person in white pants is sitting up in the background. In the foreground, a shirtless person with red hair in white pants and another person with short hair in a black outfit lie on their backs.
India Song (1975)

The ICA announce a retrospective of the prolific film maker Marguerite Duras.

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in partnership with Another Gaze Editions is pleased to announce a major retrospective of the work of Marguerite Duras taking place at the ICA between 18 July and 25 August 2024.

In 1966, Marguerite Duras, already a prolific writer of novels, plays and screenplays, turned to filmmaking, co-directing the first of her nineteen films. In collaboration with Another Gaze Editions – whose recent publication of Duras’s My Cinema encourages an engagement with this body of work in the filmmaker’s own words – the ICA presents a full retrospective of her shorts, features and televisual work, alongside several works in literal or theoretical conversation with hers. Throughout her three-decade spanning filmmaking career, Duras – often adapting her own work, and then readapting these adaptations when they (still) failed to satisfy her – advocated for a “poor cinema”, railing against commercial productions, which she considered to be “chewed over, pre-digested, and served up for the consumption of a public whose intellectual faculties are made to work at twenty percent of their capacity”.

Duras’s films challenge and complicate any conventional relationship between the audio and the visual: often, that which is described never manifests on-screen, when, indeed, there is an easily decipherable image at all. Most of her films are anti-narrative, and the backgrounds and motivations of her characters (in so far as they can be described as such, given that characterisation is often deliberately lacking) are absent. As in her writing, Duras’s scripts are full of language games: sentences are twisted beyond recognisable syntax, and repetition of elements of speech and music is used to hypnotic and sometimes maddening effect.

The retrospective includes 39 films and 23 distinct programmes, spread across 37 screenings. Alongside all 19 of Marguerite Duras's films – many of which are presented on 35mm, in new restorations and/or with new subtitles – the programme includes films by Jean-Luc Godard, Michelle Porte, Absis, Tony Richardson, Straub-Huillet, Henri Colpi, Jean Chapot and François Barat, several of which are screening in the UK for the first time. Guest speakers includeAssistant editor Janique Vigier, writers and critics Lili Owen Rowlands, Phuong Le, Martin Crowley, Laura Staab and filmmaker Saeed Taji Farouky.

  • Thu 18 July, 6.45pm Opening Night: La Music
  • Fri 19 July, 6.45pm + Tue 6 August: Destroy, She Said
  • Sat 20 July, 2.30pm: Dim Dam Dom: Marguerite Duras on Television; Sat 20 July, 4.30pm
  • Moderato Cantabile Sun 21 July, 2.30pm: The Long Absence
  • Sun 21 July, 4.30pm + Wed 7 August: Jaune le soleil
  • Thu 25 July, 8.40pm + Fri 9 August: Nathalie Granger + Gaumont-Palace
  • Sat 27 July, 6.30pm + Sun 11 August: La Femme du Gange + Nuit noire, Calcutta
  • Sun 28 July, 4pm: La Voleuse
  • Thu 1 August, 8.45pm + Sun 11 August: Mademoiselle
  • Sat 3 August, 4pm + Wed 14 August: India Song
  • Sun 4 August, 2.15pm: Les Lieux de Marguerite Duras
  • Sun 4 August, 5pm + Fri 16 August: Son nom de Venise dans Calcutta désert + Cygne I & II
  • Thu 8 August, 6.30pm + Wed 21 August: Des Journées Entières Dans les Arbres
  • Sat 10 August, 7pm + Fri 23 August: Baxter, Vera Baxter
  • Tue 13 August, 7pm + Tue 27 August: Le Camion
  • Sat 17 August, 5pm + Fri 30 August: Le Navire Night
  • Sat 17 August, 7pm: Aurélia Steiner
  • Sun 18 August, 4pm: Sauve qui peut (la vie)
  • Thu 22 August, 6.45pm + Sat 31 August: Agatha et les lectures illimitées
  • Sat 24 August, 5pm + Sun 1 September: Les mains négatives + L'Homme atlantique
  • Sat 24 August, 7pm + Sat 7 September: Il Dialogo di Roma + Césarée
  • Sun 25 August, 6pm, Closing Night: Duras and Children

Ticket prices: £13 Full Price / £11 Concessions. £5 for 25 and Under.

Tickets: ICA | Let Cinema 

Further Information: The Cinema of Marguerite Duras