La bête dans la jungle

  • 95'
  • France
  • 1988
Henry James' short story The Beast of the Jungle, one of the greatest and most powerfully concentrated works in American literature, is rooted in his affinity for the supernatural, not to mention his love of Hawthorne. The predicament of John Marcher, the central character who spends years worrying over a presentiment that something monumentally awful will befall him, only to discover that it's the realisation that he's wasted his life worrying, is where the absolute depths of human psychology merge with the uncanny. In Marguerite Duras' theatrical adaptation of James' story (originally adapted, in 1962, from American writer James Lord's play), the emphasis is less on the otherworldly than on irretrievable loss and despair, shared by Marcher and May Bartram, the woman who loves him and who accompanies him as he goes in search of his 'beast.' Jacquot's 1988 television film recreates what will no doubt prove to be the definitive rendering of the play, Alfredo Arias' 1981 production with Sami Frey and Delphine Seyrig. A truly mesmerising experience. The music of Duras' language, as spoken by these two actors, takes your breath away. (KJ)
Director
Benoît Jacquot
Country of production
France
Production Year
1988
Festival Edition
IFFR 1990
Length
95'
Medium
35mm
International title
The Beast of the Jungle
Language
French
Producers
Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, Societe d'Edition et de Programmes de Television (SEPT)
Screenplay
Marguerite Duras
Cinematography
Caroline Champetier
Editor
Dominique Auvray
Music
Carlos d'Alessio
Cast
Sami Frey, Delphine Seyrig