Friday, September 13, 2013

MARGUERITE DURAS AND LE CAMION

BAXTER VERA BAXTER (1977, Marguerite Duras) and LE CAMION (1977, Marguerite Duras) will be screened at Thammasat University Library this Sunday.
 
Here is an excerpt of what Duras said about the truck driver and the woman in LE CAMION. It comes from the book DURAS BY DURAS:
 
“I don’t know where I’m going in LE CAMION. The woman in the truck doesn’t know either. And it doesn’t matter to either of us.
 
I didn’t know anything about this woman. Nothing except this: I knew there was a woman at a bend in the road. I saw this road near the English Channel, on the way to the Hague, and she was waiting for a truck and for me. Just that, for several weeks. I didn’t work on the text. I knew that whatever it was, it would be swept away in the shooting. That the woman and the text would not coincide prior to the film. That the woman would only begin to exist with the film, simultaneously with the film’s unfolding.
 
More than that, I knew that the woman needed the film in order to begin to exist. Before the film, I see only her waiting. I know how to love her. I am attracted to her.”
 
“This woman without a face, without an identity, degraded in class, who may even be an escapee from a mental institution, who claims she’s the mother of all the dead Jewish children at Auschwitz, or believes she is Portuguese or an Arab, or from Mali, who reinvents everything she’s been taught—this woman, for me, is open to the future, If she’s mad, so much the better, let everyone be mad like her.”
 
“What I know about Vera Baxter is that her existence has a completely reassuring, normal appearance, and that she should be recognized everywhere as the perfect woman and mother—that’s what scares me. It’s not the woman of LE CAMION who frightens me, it’s Vera Baxter. The woman in LE CAMION is not circumscribed by any identity. She’s broken with all possible identities, she is nothing more than a hitchhiker. Some have a theoretical practice, Marxist or some other, at their disposal. She has only the practice of hitchhiking.”
 
“The driver of LE CAMION adheres forever to a solution proposed by the French Communist Party. He kills all spirit of freedom in himself. How do you get to that point, to accepting an assumption of responsibility by political and union organizations? It is this problem of the proletariat that’s posed in the film. The truck driver is defined by absolute alienation. How did the enlisted working class get to that point? To the rejection of the spirit of May, 1968? To this fundamental refusal of life, of living? To be an official member of the French Communist Party is to be apolitical. “
 
“He doesn’t have the ability to listen deeply, he can’t listen at all, He is rotten with orders. Orders are killing him. He has an answer to everything, including her madness—to her love, if you will. It’s completely a speech of love I’m talking about there, and he passes judgement on it as he would a logical argument.”
 
“The guy in the truck has, is only meant to have, only one definition. He has two strict allegiances: to a very scholarly syndicalism, and a pseudo-revolutionary Stalinist party. And outside of that, beyond these two affiliations, he is nothing, he is in fact without an answer. He tries the whole time to bring the woman into his world which is a closed place, a place of asphyxiation. I know this world, I was in the French Communist Party for eight years.”
 
The guy in this photo is the image that comes up in my mind when I hear the words “the truck driver”. Hahaha :-)