Wednesday, March 12, 2014

598. India Song (1975)


Running Time: 115 minutes
Directed By: Marguerite Duras
Written By: Marguerite Duras
Main Cast: Delphine Seyrig, Michael Lonsdale, Claude Mann, Mathieu Carriere, Didier Flamand

Note: Man, Netflix is really burning my ass lately. I keep having to call to report that I've returned my discs, because they're not getting them as quick as they used to. Granted, the problem could be with my local post office, but as far as I know it could be with them too. The woman that I just spoke to was very reluctant to cooperate with me and gave me a TONE, even though she did manually check back in my discs. I seriously hope this problem fixes itself, because waiting three days between mailing them back and them getting them is getting ridiculous. Anyway, I just had to vent a little - I'm fine now...

ALL STYLE AND NO CONTENT

Those aren't my words, but rather the words of a frustrated movie critic who'd had his fill of "India Song" as well. Since I couldn't stand the film either and shared that critic's sentiments, I decided to borrow his quote. Read on...

This scene of Seyrig lying on the floor goes on for about fifteen mins. She's joined by other men and there's voice overs, but damn...FIFTEEN MINUTES of nothingness!

I can't even begin to relay the plot for you here, so I'm sorry if you were wanting it laid out for you. What I can do, is kind of just tell you what happens in the movie and hopefully you'll get the gist of what it's all about. All online sources say that the film is about a woman, Anne-Marie Stretter (Seyrig), who is living with her husband in India (he's the French Ambassador in India) and becomes bored so she begins to have affairs. Her husband knows of the affairs, but is tolerant of her promiscuity. Okay, that's all I can really find as far as what the film is about, when I look online. Truth be told, if I hadn't looked online and found that much, I wouldn't even have been able to piece THAT together. The film is just so....unwilling to provide us with a straight story. I'm fine with a little off kilter, if you have your own method of storytelling, but this thing was so off kilter I couldn't wait for it to just end, so I could tick it off and move on with my life. There are many shots of Seyrig just lying around or standing around, eating up precious minutes of screen time. Sure, she looks fantastic and the cinematography is outstanding, but it leads to nothing, so what's the point. Seriously, did Delphine Seyrig ever do a normal movie? I adore "Jeanne Dielman..." but one has to admit that even it's not quite normal, compared to other films. Therefore, abnormal isn't bad, but again, "India Song" is too abnormal for my tastes.

Another shot that just drags. Sure, it looks amazing and I loved the placement of the mirror throughout the film, but this dance goes on for probably a good ten - fifteen minutes.

THE BOOK points to Alain Resnais as a Duras collaborator and as soon as I read that, I nodded in realization. This film also, for some reason, reminded me of "Gertrud", a film that I'd nearly forgotten. Was anyone else reminded of "Gertrud", because honestly, I don't even know why I am drawing comparisons between the two. I do know that "Gertrud" dealt with marital conflict and I do seem to remember scenes that seemed to go on forever, with a camera pointed at characters that remained stationary, but I could be wrong. There are long scenes in "India Song" where the characters seem to be frozen in a pose, as if they were models for a sculpture. Also, there is no delivered dialogue, as all of the films words come from voice overs and mostly from narrators, who are just telling the story to us. In other words, Delphine Seyrig's mouth never opens to speak dialogue - on camera anyway. Again, it goes back to the "all style and no content" quote from that critic, because it's very true. The camerawork is marvelous, the setting is to die for (seriously, it's great and I was left wishing so hard that there had been a good movie going on, because the surroundings were just perfect - I mean that) and some of the techniques could have worked. I could've gotten into a movie with no dialgoue and all voice overs, but not this one. I have to say, I really love Seyrig and was really looking forward to this one, so I have to chalk this one up as a HUGE disappointment. Sorry Delphine.

And yes, a shot of Seyrig's breast, which we're treated to for probably a good two - five minutes, just watching her breathe. On one hand it's kind of hypnotic, but on the other that's precious screen time. This all coming from the guy who was totally fine with watching Seyrig peel potatoes for ten minutes in "Jeanne Dielman...". I know, I don't make sense sometimes.

RATING: 3/10  I have to give it at least a '3' for the look and the feel, but damn it just sucked beyond that.

MOVIES WATCHED: 817
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 184

March 12, 2014  11:32am

4 comments:

  1. I think I was just in the right mood to watch this when I popped it into the VCR, because I can't disagree with anything you say and yet I still enjoyed the film. I liked the ephemeral feel to it. I just relaxed and was drawn into the slow pace and the visuals.

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    1. Well William, I really am glad you took something away from this one. I know there was SOMETHING in there, I personally just couldn't uncover it.

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  2. My turn to be in the middle between you and William.
    One of those you feel you should be bored with.. feel you are about to put on fast forward.. but I never quite did. there was 'something' that kept me there.. but nothing I could say "hey Andrew, you were wrong, you missed this about it..."

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    1. This movie is just hypnotizing everyone isn't it? It IS very hypnotic though.

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