India Song

Synopsis: Poetical tale of Anne-Marie Stretter, the wife of a French diplomat in India in the 1930s. At 18 she had married a French colonial administrator and went with him on posting to Savannakhet, Laos. There she met her second husband who took her away and for 17 years they lived in various locations in Asia. Now in Calcutta, she takes lovers to relieve the boredom in her life. Told in a highly visual style with little dialogue but a constant voice-over narrative by the different characters.
Director(s): Marguerite Duras
Production: Les Films Armorial
  3 nominations.
120 min

A beggar woman.

- Mad?

- Yes.

Ah yes. I remember.

She follows the rivers.

Comes from Burma.

Not Indian.

She comes from Savannakhet.

Born there.


For ten years.

And one day,

in front of her, the Ganges.

- Yes.

- She stays.

That's right.

12 children dead

while she walked towards Bengal?


She leaves them.

Sells them, forgets them.

On the way to Bengal,

she goes barren

- Savannakhet, Laos?

- Yes.

At seventeen.

Pregnant... seventeen...

...thrown out by her mother,

goes away...

...asks the way to get lost.

No one knows.

In Calcutta they were together.

- She and the white woman?

- Yes.

During the same years...

- He had followed her to India.

- Yes.

For her, he left everything.


- The night of the ball?

- yes.

Michael Richardson was engaged

to a girl from S. Thala,

Lola Valerie Stein.

They were to marry in the autumn.

Then, the ball,

The ball at S. Thala.

She arrived late... the middle of the night... black.

That ball, such love...

such desire.

That light?

The monsoon.

That dust?

Central Calcutta.

What is that scent of flowers?


Where are we?

The French Embassy, in India.

- That murmur?

- The Ganges.

When she died, he left India?


Her grave is in the English cemetery?


- She died out there?

- On the islands.

Found dead one night.

A black Lancia...

...speeds along the road

to Chandernagore.

It was there that she first tried?


What are you afraid of?

Anne-Marie Stretter.

They would dance in the evening

They're dancing.

What are you crying about?

I love you... the point of not seeing...

...not hearing...


Lepers burst like sacks of dust,

you know.

- Don't suffer?

- No, feel nothing.

She's there by the Ganges,

under the trees.

She has forgotten.

- The French Vice-Consul from Lahore.

- Yes.

Sent to Calcutta in disgrace.

He's come back to the grounds?


He comes every night.

The tennis court, deserted.

Anne-Marie Stretter's red bicycle.

Where is the one in black?

Out driving.

She comes back with the night.

The black Lancia

has just entered the grounds.

She hunts at night

in the depths of the Ganges.

For food.

Dead on the islands

- Her eyes pierced with light, dead.

- Yes.

Beneath that stone.

Around her, a bend in the Ganges...

Four o'clock.

Darkest night.

- No one's asleep?

- No one.

What heat!



Another storm...

...coming to Bengal...

...coming from the islands.

From the estuaries, inexhaustible...

- What's that sound?

- Her, crying.

- She isn't suffering, is she?

- No.


Leprosy of the heart.

- Can't bear it?

- No, can't bear it.

India, can't bear it.

She's sleeping.

He loved her more than

anything in the world.

More than that.

Michael Richardson set up a marine

insurance business... Bengal,

to stay with her in India.


The Ganges fishermen.

What a night!

What heat!



From behind the plants in the bar

she watches them.

Only at dawn...

...when the lovers went toward

the door of the ballroom...

...did Lola Valrie Stein

utter a cry.

Didn't hear anything else.

Didn't see anything else.

This crime in her past.





Her music,

that was Venice.

A promising artist.

- Never gave up playing?

- Never.

Ana Maria Guardi.


The first marriage?

- The first post?

- Savannakhet, Laos.

To a French colonial civil servant.

She's 18.

Oh yes, a river...


...she's sitting by a river,

and she's looking.

The Mekong.

- She's silent? Crying?

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Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Donnadieu, known as Marguerite Duras (French: [maʁ.ɡə.ʁit dy.ʁas]; 4 April 1914 – 3 March 1996), was a French novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and experimental filmmaker. Her script for the film Hiroshima mon amour (1959) earned her a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "India Song" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 18 May 2021. <>.

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