Destroy, She Said

This film (10/10) is for lovers of books and films that require unlimited attention and immersion and effort of will.

Book and film: Remains of language. Fragments of memory. Residue of oblivion. Imitation of thought.

Mixed together dialogue from film and words from novella.

Destroy, she said.
Bay windows are open.
Gone to sleep again.
Increasing heat. Sunshine. Brilliant. Seventh Day. Creation done.
About to be destroyed.
Voices echoing.
Stein. Silence. Stone.
Neon light. Drained of colour. Lurid lamp glow of last light.
Chairs. Empty. Arranged face-to face. Empty. Silence.
Voice sharp, almost brutal.
Empty Dining room.
Right through your head and heart.
Gleams of light.
Day in the garden.
Sun shines steadily.
Alione. Elisabeth Alione.
To read.
To sleep.
Cry out. In the mind.
And then there's the forest.
Now, suddenly, she looks only at the forest.
Is it dangerous?
Yes. How did you know?
Elisabeth Alione.
Torn. Bloody. Yes.
The voice that just spoke goes echoing through the hotel grounds
Thoughts wear one out.
Shuts the book.
In the empty hotel, who to write to.
Two mirrors reflect the setting sun.
They look at each other in silence.
No one reacts. Silence.
Alissa knows, but what does she know.
Total Destruction
Elisabeth Alione.
Fear comes into her eyes.
Dusk in the grounds.
It's too late. To kill you.
The tennis courts are empty.
I think I'm going to lose.
You're insane.
Leucate. Leucate. Leucate.
Time is not important.
Trembling uncertainty.
I didn't think anything.
Elisabeth Alione.
I must have known and forgot. It didn't surprise me.
It's nothing
You don't know anything?
What does he do?
She says nothing?
I wish I could wake up.
That was nothing.
But he said nothing.
I don't know.
We don't know.
No, we don't know.
You think?
It's nothing.
No, yes... I don't know anymore.
It's not possible.
Your turn again.
Try again.
We've lost the game.
Were we really playing?
I don't really know.
Who knows?
I don't really know myself.
You must throw it away. You must throw away the book.
What will become of you?
What's the matter?

When boredom takes a certain form, when it's become part of a timetable, say, you don't notice it. And if you don't notice it, don't give it a name, it can take some curious turns.

Alissa mimicking/reciting Elisabeth Alione: I'm afraid, afraid of being abandoned, afraid of the future, afraid of loving, of violence, of numbers, of the unknown, of hunger, of poverty, of the truth

Elisabeth Alione - You've just arrived.
Alissa - No, I've been here three days.
Elisabeth Alione - Really?
Alissa - We're quite close to one another in the dining room.

Elisabeth Alione - Do you go into the forest?
Alissa - Oh no. Not on my own.
Elisabeth Alione - Have you seen it?
Alissa - Not yet. I've only just arrived. I've only been here three days.

She halts by a path--the path that leads to the forest--hesitates.

He's always seem there, yes, either in the grounds, or the dining room, or in the corridors, yes, always, or in the road that runs by the hotel, round the tennis courts, at night, in the daytime, wandering round and round, round and round, alone.

Is it coming from the forest?
Yes, from the forest. This time, majestically loud.
What pain. What immense pain. How difficult it is.
It has so far to travel, so many barriers to get through. It has to fell trees, knock down walls. But here it is. Nothing more to worry about. Yes, here it is.

Fragments of memory. Residue of oblivion. Remains of language. Imitation of thought.

The balls - thoughts, emotions, pulse - ping in a liquid dusk, a grey lake, the unconscious, the subconscious, the mind.

tennis - thoughts/emotions hit back and forth and back and forth and back and forth

tennis not allowed while nap time - thought battles not allowed while sleeping, time to rest mind

tennis courts - cages of mind, limitations of the mind.

People always looking at tennis courts. Even when they're empty. Even when it's raining. they do it mechanically. People chewing in thoughts non-stop. Thoughts wear one out.

forest - memory, world of thoughts/emotions, the world itself, the future, horrors of the world, limitations, babel, etc, total mental holocaust, total destruction

Fragmented book, or is it a play, or is it just words, no sentences, structure torn to pieces

Structure torn to pieces, communication torn to pieces, destruction is deconstruction which is necessary for revolution and reconstitution of communication

Absence of writer's voice, absence of camera eye, camera eye devoid of presence.

Certain number of acts and gestures written in the book are omitted from film, which is funny because those things are usually things that films retain; usually films based on books retain all the physicality, the facts, the action, the motions, but everything that belongs in the realm of literature is eliminated, but Duras took out nearly everything that belongs in the realm of cinema (gestures, movement, physicality) and put into the film everything that belonged in the realm of literature.

Absence of camera eye, Durassian gliding from one point of view to another, no primacy of one character over another, all characters the same, interchangeable, camera eye assumes multiple points of view, no fixed role, when point of view shifts sensorial disequilibrium, rare technique

Background of absence representing the mind's absence, the mind already in the void

Throw books away - people like me, me, the writer of this message, read to gain knowledge (and absorb all culture possible) in order to destroy knowledge and culture (in order to trigger a revolution), destroying knowledge from within knowledge, but Duras is arguing for destruction of knowledge (to trigger revolution) by not reading anything at all and by rejecting all culture, marginalize oneself into a void outside of everything in order to bring about revolution, but her idea of revolution fails just as much as "mine" because the system destroys us all, the system isolates us faster than we isolate ourselves from the system, and snuffs us before you can say, Destroy

Destroy, to re-establish real communication, and real communication could bring about real revolution...................or can it? Elisabeth Alione's little girl born stillborn. New birth was still born, dead upon arrival.

Live outside the rules, absolute freedom, fighting for a revolution within that freedom is antithetical to the point of living outside the rules

Elisabeth Villeneuve at eighteen = Villeneuve - new village = Void = ground zero = seedbed for recreation after revolution, but Elisabeth was a failure.......

Duras' feeling - world comes into existence through destruction.

Each and every word uttered contains powerful ambivalence and ambiguity. Not one word wasted. Laconic monotone speech. Riddling. Asking questions as a form of reproach.

Reminded of Nicole Kidman's segment in the The Hours (Virginia Woolf), she plays Virginia Woolf and Woolf is waiting for hours to pass, waiting for time to pass, waiting for the end, waiting for death.

Leucate = Rock of Leucade = jump off the rock and free yourself from love

Leucos - bright; brilliant; white; clear; pale; mineral found in volcanic rock

Elisabeth Alione, ready to explode

Elisabeth Alione. "Alione" sounds like "All alone".

Elisabeth Alione. Lacking the Lion (a = lacking, lione= lion), the vitality, the bravery, the ferocity, courage, to revolt.

Destroy: a word that shines brightly and catches fire but does not enlighten

Loud crashing and harmonious burst of music through the forest is Elisabeth Alione smashing through the void and Waking Up, jumping off the rock and freeing herself from her loveless marital life, albeit that might either be an act of divorce or an act of suicide

Alisa = Youth, Idealism, Vigour = caught between Stein and Max mirrors Elisabeth (Establishment, Old Social Order) caught between Doctor and Husband

Elisabeth, husband, two doctors
Alissa, Max her husband, and Max and Stein as the two doctors

Elisabeth = Alissa

Elisabeth = replaying her past, Alissa is herself, Stein the doctor-lover, Max her husband

Alissa also Elisabeth's daughter - Elisabeth Alione's daughter Anita is rude and awkward doesn't want to work, sounds just like Alissa (although Alissa isn't really rude, she's asking questions and making terse statements as a form of reproach; she doesn't want to work because she married an older established man despite being in college, she could have earned a degree and built her own life but chose socialite wife route instead; awkward because she's a newlywed and sees her husband on the brink of having an affair, and she drifts to Stein)

Alissa shifts from being herself to being Elisabeth to being Elisabeth's daughter

Max Thor is virtually erased from the book and film - Marx Thor representing the Establishment that needs to be destroyed, and ironically he's part of the destruction because he teaches nothing, nothing not as in literally "nothing", but nothing as is immaterial stuff that has no relevance to existence, which causes the students to tune out. He's the Establishment destroying itself.

Stein - G-d walking in the Heat of the day as opposed to G-d walking in the Cool of the day

Alissa claims Max Thor is a German Jew but when Stein reads the hotel registry we learn he's Parisian French (and presumably Christian).

We all feel the same.
All four of us.

We are all Steins, we are all German Jews: We strangers to the states we live in, to the society we live in, we are displaced and estranged and highly sensitive and vulnerable and least protected and persecuted and wiped out. Duras' reference to revolutionaries of French revolution and hippie generation: people who buck the establishment displace themselves and estrange themselves and become highly sensitive and are least protected and persecuted.

Jews - pale skin, thin, slightly bent, dry black hair, description of Elisabeth Alione. Stein sleeps everywhere, wandering Jew.

Arthor Rosenfeld is Herbet Rosenfeld = Freud's view of paranoia was that it hid an underlying homosexuality, but Rosenfeld's view, homosexuality covered an underlying unconscious paranoia, the Duras usage means, the subtle hints of impending homosexuality between Elisabeth Alione and Alissa are really subtle hints of the unconscious paranoia both women feel towards the male societal world they're stuck in.

Going back to - Elisabeth replaying her past, Alissa is herself, Stein the doctor-lover, Max her husband, but also, Max strongly attracted to Elisabeth, thoughts of cheating on Alissa, that is what Alissa knows, she knows Max thinking of being with Elisabeth, she knows Max mentally cheating, and she knows she'll remain in the marriage just as Elisabeth married young and remained in the marriage regardless of lovelessness of marriage, she knows she'll turn into Elisabeth Alione.

It's too late.
For what?
To kill you.

Because she's already metaphorically killed herself.

The earth trembled.

What did she say?
She said,
She said.
The bay windows are shut.


Brilliant performances by Catherine Sellers & Nicole Hiss and brilliant direction by Marguerite Duras.

Novella should be read and re-read and read aloud multiple times until it thuds through head and heart, in order to understand complexity of film.


THANKYOU ! ... food for thought