About Me

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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 p├ętanque. "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.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New York Times on Clichy-sous-bois

New York Times article  (France’s Ideals, Forged in Revolution, Face a Modern Test)
It talks about life in Clichy-sous-bois in the aftermath of both the riots from ten years ago this October and the Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket shootings makes for interesting reading. The article is reasonably short, so it does not expand on some ideas. I was particularly interested in the use of the term "enlightenment fundamentalism".



Friday, January 2, 2015

Bruno Dumont a chronicler of life in the North of France

Stephen Holden's breezy but as usual well-written and thoughtful review of Bruno Dumont's latest film to come to the USA - L'il Quinquin - makes one or maybe two small but significant slips.  He says that the film is set in the extreme northwest of France, which would put it in Brittany - le "Far-Ouest"- a place of Celtic sensibility.  However, one of the significant elements of all of Dumont's work - with the exception of the Camille Claudel film - is that his work emerges almost organically from the North - the area of Northeastern France where he is from: Ballileul, Dunkerque, Douai, Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing.  The region is the Nord-Pas-de-Calais - part of French Flanders - that means a few things: life in small towns in this area hangs between the rural and the urban, the industrial and the agricultural creating a gritty often grimy entanglement of a peasant's hard-nosed look at life cut with a working-class sense of struggle. It is also the place of carnival where larger-than life giant puppets that come out for the raucous festivities; a time when conventional hierarchies and decorum are thrown over as the kings and queens of the carnival throw caution to the wind, usurp power, and engage in lustful riotous acts.  Lastly, this region has a sense and history of incorporating the grotesque/macabre into its artwork - the deepest carnal instincts flare up in all kinds of ordinary situations. J'attends avec plaisir la sortie du film.

Alane Delhaye and Lucy Caron