Dear French People: Non-Fiction?

Dear French People,

I’ve seen and enjoyed French films before, namely Starbuck (2011) and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007). But Non-Fiction? Non, non.

Let me get this straight:
You’re intellectuals; ok, I respect that.
You’ve got labor problems and politicians are forced to be super moral and transparent. Ok, got it.

But, sex with multiple people? C’est la vie.
Your spouse or partner has an affair? C’est la vie.
You’ve seen each other for 6 years? Ghosting is an appropriate way to end things.
Women deserve consoling, but men get spat on.
You have kids, but farm the raising off to grand mere and the nanny.

I appreciated the drinking debates about digital vs. print media, but must ask this of Americans as well, why is everything such a black and white issue these days? Why can’t we do both? Certainly the case has been made for bisexuality (and in this film) which is defined by liking both sexes, so what the heck is the hand wringing about other much easier choices that also need not be binary. It’d be like a war about cake is better than pie (which it is), but why not have both as choices?

I appreciated the ennui couples feel in their relationships, but why not work on intimacy rather than just secretly sleep with others? Sure, it doesn’t have the titillating risk of getting caught, but it sure as heck makes you a deeper person.

Sure there’s some cutesy bits about Juliet Binoche’s character not wanting to be referred to as a police officer, but instead a crisis conflict manager, and a roll your eyes wink wink at the end when she says maybe they could get Juliet Binoche could play her in the movie version of her show (hardy, har har), but come on. Let’s face facts because Assaysas is an industry darling everyone gushes even when it’s just plain mediocre.

Bottom line: there is suppose to be some character arc or growth in a film and I saw only one character who was sort of maturing, and he with a shrew of a partner who chastised him for his cell phone all the while hanging up on him to get back to work.

Other characters in this film contradicted themselves. Juliet Binoche’s character whines to her friend that her husband is having an affair, but she is also having an affair (a fun fact she doesn’t reveal to said friend).

Guillaume Camet’s character sleeps with a younger woman but doesn’t agree with any of her rigid stance on throwing out all print books (which would include his career).

The reading public in this movie seemed to care about morals, but none of the lead characters, so would the real French person please stand up? What is definite in your society as far as propriety? I am truly curious.

And if sex is something you procure within and outside of relationships, where were the joie de vivre scenes for that? Sex seemed to be as exciting as going grocery shopping for cleaning supplies.

So please, would any Pierre, Monique, Gerard, Phillippe, anyone…please get back to me. Though I sound judgmental, I’m more curious about your cultural norms. Or was Non-fiction more science or dystopian fiction?

Words and Pictures: Perhaps Too Close to Home

I saw Words and Pictures two weeks ago at the super quaint Cinema Theater on Clinton Avenue in Rochester, New York where pet therapy (the theater cat) is free with admission. Usually I am chomping at the proverbial cat nip to write about a film, and it wasn’t that the film was bad that kept me mum till now, but two other factors instead.

For one the film hits a little too close to home. Meaning, as an English teacher of 28 and a half years, I am always longing for, and uber excited when, new teachers are hired by my district. Let’s face it, we (teachers) live a cloistered life, not only in an our individual islands of classrooms, but in our precious microcosmic world which follows us home weeknights nine months out of the year.

So yes, I was envious that a Clive Owen character could be a swaggering English teacher in any world and that he would fall for a plainly adorable rheumatoid arthritis victim such as Juliette Binoche. Don’t the Clive types really always go for the perky first year teacher whose wide eyed enthusiasm wakes him from his jaded mediocrity? Didn’t I even ask my friend when she was fixing me up with such back in ’99 (goodness I’m old) that didn’t really good looking men equal trouble?

Anyway, the movie was satisfactory, despite poor reviews on Rotten Tomatoes 42 critic, 58 audience. My rating would be more of a 75, so in teacher talk, it’s not quite mastery level. The main problems were: the students were much too two dimensional and their subplot angst was not well acted. The other issue was Juliet Binoche was just too demanding and surly to be worthy of a man chasing after her. The most cringe worthy scenes were: one, after their first love making session (not shown by the way) which Juliette’s character prefaced by saying she wasn’t sure she could operate her sex life dormant for years, post-coitus suddenly becomes insatiable nympho. Second was the cheesey wine drinking to a love song scene, where they almost feed each other grapes. Holy cliché.

My second reason for not diving into blogging about the film is that, my readership has not exactly been growing. Yes, I need to change my domain name to something easier for people to type. Yes, I need to consult my notes from my meeting with the successful blogger Jennifer Blanchard and do the items instructed. My excuse for that procrastination is that I met with her at the end of the school year, on a school night, hence refer back to my alluding to the teacher mind as mush during nine months of the year.

So, I have some home (blog) improvement to do, but as my homemade business card holder*mms_picture(19) instructed, it took 90 plus minutes to watch a World Cup game and only 5 or 6 to invest in my blog, so why not?

Spread the word and make a comment! Thanks for reading!