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Duras' impressionistic meditation on French colonial ennui, depression and homesickness in the midst of opulence, petty gossip, and the threat of disease and death is remarkably astute. It is so well-realized, in fact, that the film itself is weighted with a sense of listlessness that is likely to extend to its audience. I can well imagine how unbearable it would be to watch for somebody with no particular interest in the European experience of colonialism. But, considering the subject matter, I don't think Duras could have honestly made a more engaging film. It really is a drag--so much so that at a certain point it becomes humorous. The absurdity of it all. For all the lush interiors, picturesque fading manors, languorous slow dances and sparkling finery, Duras deserves credit for her relatively unromantic (if indulgent and solipsistic) depiction of colonial life.
That lady sure does like to sit and not move for extended periods of time.
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In 6 official lists
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This movie ranks #80 in TimeOut's 100 Best French Films
This movie ranks #229 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Narrative Films (2012)
This movie ranks #415 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #491 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #602 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #667 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films