India Song (1974 -100 minutes), based on a play she had written at the request of Peter Hall, then director of London’s National Theatre, is probably the most accomplished and accessible of all her films. Here everything works. The gliding camera movement, the dreamlike world the characters inhabit and the curious soundtrack of voices that does and does not correspond to anything shown on screen.
It was not surprising that this film along with The Truck were the only sold out shows at the retrospective. But even at The Truck there were perhaps nine or ten vacant seats. For India Song there were no tickets to be had. So much so that the normally polite people behind the film tickets desk at the museum were uncharacteristically abrupt and sharp tongued when patrons not believing the sign that said in bold print ALL TICKETS FOR INDIA SONG SOLD OUT, would ask; “Are there any more tickets?” the response would be; “If there were then why do we have the sign?”
At the end of the showing that I attended there was a spontaneous burst of applause. As we left going up the escalator and through the pleasant lobby there was a nice buzz coming from the crowd. It was one of pleasure and satisfaction. I was feeling that too. M. Duras, through her film had challenged and extended me in ways that few artists can. I was feeling grateful and excited. I wanted more but there was no more to be had, this was the end of the retrospective. If I wanted more I would have to go back to the novels, essays and plays. I did and still do but they are no substitute for the films of Marguerite Duras.