Now, Rithy Panh's version takes the story back to its 1930s origins, set in 1931 in French colonial Indo-China where a corrupt government and Land Registry control the plots of land and oppress the locals. Isabelle Huppert, mesmerising as usual, is the worn-down mother trying to protect her worthless land, the children are indifferent and long to get away - but here we have no Mangano or Perkins to fascinate us - the daughter (Asrid Berges-Frisbey) is a pouting bored teenager [but who now looks as good as Silvano Mangano in her prime?], while the son (Gaspard Ulliel) has the looks and build and blankness of a male model. Randal Douc impresses as the besotted admirer. Interesting views then of the same story, 50 years apart. Panh and Huppert provide interesting interviews too on what they intended to convey with the story and the politican background, which is still relevant today where the locals do not own their land and have to work for outside interests. L'AIMANT (THE LOVER) is another version of Duras's youth and erotic awakening by an Oriental, which was dismissed as soft porn at the time (1992).
More Duras: I have been meaning to re-visit her NATHALIE GRANGER with Moreau and Bose, and the oddity that is 10.30 PM SUMMER (which at least has Schneider, Finch and Mercouri) and Peter Brooks' MODERATO CANTABILE with Moreau and Belmondo, and her screenplays for MADEMOISELLE and THE SAILOR FROM GIBRALTAR (Tony Richardson's collaborations with Jeanne Moreau)... watch this space!