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In my interests below, I list French language, cinema, theatre, politics, art, and wine. And while French brought me to a lot of these things, I also like all of them in a more general way. I really love languages and their connections. I also have a thing about how theatre and cinema, art, politics and wine all hook up in some way. As I think of these ideas, I can hear the thwonk of the cork coming out of the neck of the bottle, and the gentle squeak as the cork is twisted off the tire-bouchon. Ah, that oakey, musty, acidic aroma wafting, wafting and people talking and talking and talking. And, oh they found out we have some sets of boules and they want to play pétanque. "Let's pick teams and play in the shade of those plane trees." The sounds of summer resonate: the crunch of the terrain under foot, the click of the iron bocce knocking in the players' hands, and the soft kiss of the wooden cochonnet as it hits the ground scuttling down to its resting point where it will await the arrival of each team's battle-worn aggies.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Film Pairings

Film pairings

Wine and cheese or wine and movies?
When I watch films at home I often like to have a glass of wine.  I also believe in stimulating the local economy, so I buy locally made wines and we have several favorites from wineries we visit in the foothills of El Dorado county, in the Lodi appelation, and elsewhere.  At the same time, while reading the descriptions and getting sneak previews of  the films at this year’s Sacramento French Film Festival, I have had  ideas popping through my head of how the film’s themes remind me of other films that took a different perspective on a similar theme. 

The opening film is Lucas Belvaux’s adaptation of Philippe Vilain’s novel.  The story brings together a couple from different backgrounds and observes them as they fall in love, out of love and even over love. 

If you’d like to try to pair the opening night film with a film that explores similar themes as Pas son genre, I‘d suggest any of these accompanied by a glass of a local California cru.

La Dentellière (1977) (The Lacemaker)
In Paris, Béatrice (Pomme), timid and innocent, played by a young Isabelle Huppert, lives at home and works in a hairdresser’s.   Her only friend, Maylène, who has been dumped by her lover, takes Pomme on holiday to Cabourg, a pretty town on the Normandy coast. Soon, Marylène gets involved with a new man and leaves Pomme on her own. At a café terrace, Pomme, savoring a glace au chocolat catches the eye of François, a self-confident French literature student attending the Sorbonne.  Gradually, they become lovers and Béatrice moves in with François in Paris.  But can their love bridge the cultural gap that separates them.

Trailer: La Dentellière

Suggested pairing: Heritage Oak (2013) Sauvignon Blanc (serve cold and savor)

Romuald et Juliette (1989) (Maman, There’s a Man in Your Bed)
Coline Serreau’s follow-up to her 1985 blockbuster Trois hommes et un couffin (Three men and a Cradle) has the late-night cleaning woman Juliet, played by a compelling Firmine Richard helping a company president, Romuald (Daniel Auteuil).  She discovers a plot to frame him for food poisoning in his factory’s yoghurts.  As she takes a bigger role in his affairs, he falls deeper and deeper in love with her.
Suggested pairing: Capay Valley (2009) Tempranillo (red wine that you can drink chilled or even with an ice cube)

Le gout des autres (2000) (The Taste of Others)
In this multi-layered comedy directed by Agnè Jaoui, three women and three men who are quite opposites open a number of possibilities for liaisons, but their personal culture, tastes and backgrounds will determine the course of their loves.  One of the central relationships is between Castella (Jean-Pierre Bacri), the owner of an industrial steel barrel plant in Rouen and a forty-year-old actress, who tutors Castella  in English.  After reluctantly seeing Clara in a performance of Racine’s Bernice that he had to go to since his wife insisted that their niece was acting in the paly, Castella discovers the world of theater and a Bohemian lifestyle quite at tangents to his own lifestyle.  The path of true love never runs too smoothly in this vibrantly dialogued take on life in provincial France.

Suggested pairing:  Sierra Vista (2013) Grenche rosé  (chill this light and refreshing summer pink)

Une femme de ménage (2002)  (The Housekeeper)
In Claude Berri’s adaptation of Christian Oster’s eponymous novel, Emilie Dequenne (Pas son genre) is Laura, a young spirited woman who does cleaning work.  Jacques  (Jean-Pierre Bacri) a fifty-year old sound engineer, whose wife has just left him, is in a mess so he decides to hire Laura to do his cleaning.  Circumstances force her to ask him if she can stay at his place for a few nights and little by little he begins to fall for her, despite her disturbing his ordered world of reading, jazz music, and apértifs with his similarly aged friends.

Trailer: Une femme de ménage (no subtitles)

Suggested pairing: Sierra Vista (2011) Viognier (put it on ice then discover the delicate balance of experience and youth)

Fauteuils d’orchestre (2006) (Avenue Montaigne)
In this Daniel Thompson romantic comedy, young Jessica (Cécile de France) arrives in Paris from Mâcon, a small city in the Saône-et-Loire department in Burgundy.  She has come in search of the "luxurious" world her grandmother had always told her about when she worked in Paris as a maid.  Jessica is hired as a waitress in a café that caters to the bourgeois, the elegant, the famous, and the ordinary:  the nannies, the refuse collectors, and technical staff of the areas various theatres and concert halls.  She discovers the beauty and finery of this upscale part of Paris and also the backstage of this world of celebrity and fortune.  And, she also finds love but it is not quite what she expected.

Trailer: Fauteuils d’orchestre (2006)

Suggested pairing:  Domanine Chandon Blanc des noirs – enjoy this California sparkling wine which is also served at the White House

Angèle et Tony (2010)
Seen at the 2011 Sacramento French Film Festival, this film takes us to a small fishing town on the Normandy coast where Tony works as a fisherman. Angèle, a pretty young woman with a tarnished past, arrives looking for work.  Tony takes her on as a fishmonger, teaches her the trade, and lodges her in a house he shares with his mother.  Their relationships Tony, his mother, and Angèle are strained, but as Angèle adapts to her new environment, Tony starts to like her.  Their destiny is still fraught with risk and confrontation as  they try to come to terms with their imperfect match.

Trailer: Angèle et Tony

Suggested pairing: A Holly’s Hill’s red - Mourvèdre or maybe a Patriarche – if you find a Petit Patriarche go for it.

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