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Le Navire Night

A film by Marguerite Duras
With Dominque Sanda, Bulle Ogier, and Mathieu Carrière
Narrated by Benoît Jacquot and Marguerite Duras
Cinematography by Pierre Lhomme

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Le Navire Night from Icarus Films on Vimeo.

With LE NAVIRE NIGHT, writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras (L'Amant, India Song) explores the matrix of love, desire and language in her characteristically oblique and experimental style. The film’s lovers—played by Dominique Sanda and Mathieu Carrière—are never allowed to meet in person, instead carrying out their conversations over the phone, using unlisted phone lines leftover from the German occupation of Paris. Elliptical sequences play out in empty streets, nocturnal cityscapes and shadowy interiors, linked together only by the spectral presence of the character’s voices.

At once dreamlike, intimate and fundamentally anonymous, Le Navire Night challenges the conventional relationship between sound, image and narrative. A particularly uncompromising expression of Duras’s subversive approach to filmmaking, LE NAVIRE NIGHT stands to this day as an equally challenging and rewarding experiment in cinematic modernism.

“Elliptical yet ecstatic; as original as it is rare. [Duras] devises a new genre. A story about phone sex, which she transforms into an existential mystery and a gothic nightmare. Duras invents the conditional tense on film.” —Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Duras possesses a talent of great force and true originality.” —L'Express

“This 1979 feature consists entirely of Duras and Benoit Jacquot’s voices describing a telephone romance that is decidedly not enacted onscreen by stars Dominique Sanda, Bulle Ogier and Mathieu Carrière. Pierre Lhomme’s photography—especially in a new restoration—is striking, as is Sanda.” —The Flip Side

90 minutes / Color
French / English subtitles
Release: 2021
Copyright: 1979

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Subject areas:
France, Fiction Feature Films

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