The French Institute Alliance Française Presents IN THE WORDS OF DURAS

The French Institute Alliance Française Presents IN THE WORDS OF DURAS

The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York's premiere French cultural center, along with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and in conjunction with Anthology Film Archives and Baryshnikov Arts Center, will bring the works and words of one of France's greatest writers to New York this winter in a four-week series entitled, In the Words of Duras.

Known for her evocative and experimental style, Marguerite Duras revolutionized the form of the novel in the twentieth century, breaking with convention and creating a truly unique literary voice. While the artist moved freely between media, including theater and film, appreciation for her work on stage and screen is deeply rooted in the power of her words. In the Words of Duras will present a fresh take on her works with today's French innovators bringing her words to the stage and screen in new and provocative pieces.

Astrid Bas Diptych: The Lover and La Musica Deuxième
Friday and Saturday, February 26 & 27, 2010, at 7pm

The Lover is directed and performed by Astrid Bas with music by Ami Flammer. La Musica Deuxième is performed by Astrid Bas and Daniel Pettrow.

A unique theatrical event, this program pairs a staged, set-to-music adaptation of Duras's prize-winning novel The Lover (1984), with Duras's play, La Musica Deuxième (1985). The Lover, a recipient of the Goncourt prize, is an autobiographical work. It evokes Duras's childhood in Vietnam, recounting a teenager's scandalous affair with a rich, older Chinese businessman. In this adaptation, director and actress Bas collaborates with Flammer, a composer and violinist, who has previously scored some of Duras's films. Bas and Flammer use their respective instruments-voice for Bas and music for Flammer-to create a transporting performance.

The second piece, La Musica Deuxième, tells the story of a man and woman who reunite three years after they have separated, to finalize their divorce. Though they have begun new lives, their history and a shared nostalgia lead them to each other. Through conversation they reconstruct their past, revealing misunderstandings and betrayals. Conceived by Bas, this bilingual presentation features brilliant performances by Bas and the Wooster Group's Daniel Pettrow, and has been well received by American audiences.

World Premiere
Irina Brook: La Vie Matérielle
Friday and Saturday, March 5 & 6, 2010, at 7pm

Parisian stage director Brook presents a work featuring a diverse ensemble of female performers including Sadie Jemmett, Joan Juliet Buck, Nicole Ansari, and Winsome Brown. Inspired by La Vie Matérielle, Duras's collection of essays on daily life, and Virgina Woolf 's A Room of One's Own, this evening promises to be more of a festive gathering of talents than a classic reading; an experience of sharing these authors' extraordinary words while cooking, laughing, crying, singing, and dancing together in an imaginary and theatrical kitchen.

Brook, daughter of director Peter Brook and actress Natasha Parry, has directed theater and opera productions throughout Europe. Her Paris-based theater company, Compagnie Irina Brook is currently on tour with four different productions. Brook is a recipient of the prestigious Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Kathleen Chalfant and William Nadylam read excerpts from Duras
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 7:30pm
Venue: Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Info at

Critically acclaimed American actress Kathleen Chalfant and Paris-based French actor William Nadylam will come together to read the words of Marguerite Duras.

Marguerite Duras by Hélène Bamberger
Opening: Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 6-9pm
February 18-March 18, 2010
Venue: Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Info at

An exhibition of photos of Duras taken by Hélène Bamberger during the summers they spent together at Trouville from 1980 to 1994.

U.S. Premiere
Razerka Ben Sadia-Lavant directs L'homme assis dans le couloir
Friday, February 19, 2010, at 7:30pm
Saturday, February 20, 2010, at 7:30pm
Sunday, February 21, 2010, at 5pm
Venue: Baryshnikov Arts Center
Info at

Based on Duras's 1980 novella, Ben Sadia-Lavant conceived and choreographed this performance that reveals "what the story does not tell us" of love's erotic powers and pain.

Christine Letailleur directs Hiroshima mon amour

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 7:30pm
Friday, March 5, 2010, at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 6, 2010, at 7:30pm
Venue: Baryshnikov Arts Center
Info at
In French - with English titles

Hiroshima mon amour is the tale of a brief, adulterous liaison. "She", the French actress, has come to Hiroshima to make a film about peace. "He" is a Japanese architect in his forties. Their passionate encounter is set to end in 24 hours' time, when she must return to France.

The production stars Valérie Lang, Hiroshi Ota, and Pier Lamandé.

Screening / Historic Footage
The Lover: Fantasy of a Movie Marguerite Duras and Claude Berri (1987)
Tuesday, March 2, 2010, at 7pm
Venue: Cultural Services of the French Embassy
Info at

French professor and specialist on Duras Sophie Bogaert will introduce an exclusive film with footage of Duras discussing The Lover with producer Berri and others.

Marguerite Duras on Film
March 12-18, 2010
Venue: Anthology Film Archives
Info at

Duras's engagement with filmmaking was passionate and sustained, a vital component of her life's work. This retrospective explores the fiercely intelligent, radically experimental approach of Duras the filmmaker.

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