Isabelle Huppert: Reading for love

By Zhang Xingjian | | Updated: 2017-06-15 14:03

Isabelle Huppert: Reading for love

French actress Isabelle Huppert meets the press at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on June 14. [Photo by Zhang Xingjian/]

A swivel chair, a backdrop, a woman and a stage exclusive to her. In such a simple scene setting, French actress Isabelle Huppert read excerpts of the novel The Lover in Beijing on June 14.

The Lover is an autobiographical novel written by French writer Marguerite Duras.

Set against the backdrop of then-French colony Vietnam, The Lover reveals the intimacies and intricacies of a clandestine romance between a pubescent girl from a financially strapped French family and an older yet wealthy Chinese man.

In the 80-minute reading time, the 64-year-old woman made an adaptation of the novel and divided it into seven chapters, highlighting the love story through a combination of reading and acting.

Isabelle Huppert: Reading for love

French actress Isabelle Huppert read excerpts of the novel The Lover in Beijing on June 14. [Photo by Zhang Xingjian/]

“Marguerite Duras is a great writer as she is noted for her command of dialogue. The Lover is one of her greatest works that describes her youthful affair with a Chinese man, making it easier to cause a sensation among Chinese audience,” said Huppert.

“Reading is not a word-for-word process, but an integration of understanding and personal emotions,” she said. “When I read about the conflicts between the two lovers, I read out loud and out of rage; when I read about the Chinese man’s lovesick for the lady, I heartily sympathize with him.”

In addition to Marguerite Duras’s works, the actress said that she prefers Marquis de Sade’s writings.

“Marquis de Sade endows philosophic thinking in his works. The conflicts and collusion between the lines lead me to understand the meaning of life and love,” she added.

Huppert also said that the modern lifestyle cannot discourage people to read books.

“I cannot live in a house without books as reading means so much to me. On the one hand, it helps me explore the mysterious world, on the other, it is a self-discovery process,” said Huppert.

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