Marguerite Donnadieu was born on April 4, 1914, in Gia Dinh, in what was then Indochina and is now Vietnam. Her parents, who were teachers, had moved to Vietnam from the north of France. Widowed while her children (two sons and a daughter) were still young, Marguerite’s mother tried to support the family by farming on land granted by the government. Unfortunately, the land was frequently flooded, and Marguerite’s mother tried against all odds to reclaim it. This futile battle, Marguerite’s difficult relationship with her feisty mother, whom she perceived as domineering, and Marguerite’s attachment to her brother, are collectively the starting point of The Eden Cinema. Adding a definite sensual dimension to her work, the exotic landscape in which she grew up, with its steamy, hot climate and its luxuriant vegetation, is usually the setting for her plays. At the lycée in Saigon, Marguerite studied both Vietnamese and French and after receiving her baccalauréat (high school diploma), she continued her education in Paris, initially studying mathematics and finally getting her licence (undergraduate degree) in law in 1935.
Marguerite Donnadieu was married to Rober Antelme, a member of the Communist Party to which she herself belonged. She later was divorced from him and met another fellow Communist, Dionys Mascolo, with whom she had a son. After leaving the Ministère des Colonies in 1941, she went to work for the...
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