Logan, Arthur and Motoko

I am a movie lover, un “cinéphile“. I read a lot about movies. I own thousands of DVDs and Blu-rays. I love Orson Welles, John Ford and Elia Kazan. I love Losey, Bergman and Miyazaki. I BUY movies. I’m able to spend a year to explore 1961 in cinema history (yes there’s a Wikipedia page for that). I’m able to watch all Tennessee Williams movies adaptations in a month, just for the extraordinary pleasure of… oh forget it.

But I download them too. A lot. I watch, and if I like I buy. I’m old school. I don’t have Netflix nor an Apple TV. I want the discs, the bonuses, the sleeves. Les galettes : the “epiphany cakes” (yesss we say that, for movie discs). Makes sense, right?

It’s August, so I found many American mainstream movies to download. Fast and Furious number 39 (or whatever), or Alien Covenant (I wanted to watch is again, because it’s a bad, wrong movie, but also because of Scott, Giger/Böcklin, the “two notes flute in the echo” music, and the stress before the shuttle explosion).

By the way, I wrote to the actress behind the voice of Mother, in Covenant. Great work!

I left 3 movies on the side, because I was sure it was shit.

Logan, King Arthur and Ghost in the Shell. All of them had bad trailers. Logan smelled “I want to end this character violently”. Arthur really smelled like duck-billed platypus shit. And watching Scarlett Johansson exploding a window 6541 times in slow motion on Facebook was enough to keep me away from it (talk about bad e-marketing -> another article).

All of them took me by surprise.

But beware : I’m NOT talking about Kitano’s Hana Bi or Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter (I can’t wait to find these in Blu-ray). Don’t even talk about Heaven’s Gate, Single Man or Fanny & Alexander (I have the Blu-rays, thank you). I’m writing here about mainstream movies, to eat with popcorn and have fun with.

Logan surprised me because it was more violent, tragic, or let’s say “less stupid” than some other X-Men I watched (I watched them all). I like these superheroes movies, but here I was surprised and wondered about the audience targeted by it. So what : Adult geeks? I don’t know, but I loved it. The Wolverine girl, Xavier in his chair, powerful but dying, the cross-to-X at the end, it awed me.

I was really ready to laugh sarcastically at Arthur. But Ritchie made Snatch and the Sherlocks, and I loved U.N.C.L.E., so I tried… And I found it brilliant! Smart and fast, funny at times (I LOVE when Ritchie plays with dialogs/possible scene, like when Sherlock Holmes will fight), and so powerful (ohhh Excalibur). A good evil character (hello Jude Law), a mage… A good one!

I will forgive everything to Jude Law since he played in My Blueberry Nights.

Ghost in the Shell climbed greatfully towards the spider-tank scene (I own the anime movie, and I needed to know what they’ll do with the tank). The face to face with mother ending crushed me. The sound is great. Kitano is perfect. Binoche is fantastic (strong, fragile, alive). What a great surprise!

Well, I’m thankful. I read today something like “Even if it’s bad, it’s OK if it’s made with the heart” – I don’t remember where : Gide or Valéry? All of them were made with some heart.

Then I wonder how to blog about Logan : what are and what could be other branches in the almost totally kryptonitelic ridiculous tree of Superhero Movies? About Arthur : what’s the drive in Ritchie : a casualness, a “I allow everything, shut up” energy? About Ghost in the Shell : how to make a robot alive? How to adapt a fucking Japanese cartoon with elegance? How to convince Scarlett Johannsson to play that?

 

After all this, you will ALWAYS need to clear your spirit from special effects, Excalibur’s devastation, jumping in an invisible electronic device, or fake claws. I suggest an Ingmar Bergman’s movie : Winter Light. Or just one quote of this movie instead :

“God does not speak because there is no God. You should learn how to love, instead of praying”.

Thanks for reading!

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The French “Qu’est-ce que tu deviens ?” is our way to ask “What have you been up to?”…

When you meet a friend, you can say “What’s up?”.

It’s clear and simple for a French, with the fascination we have for English’s conciseness : what is “up”, after all? 🙂

I think there’s a slightly different color in “What’s up with you?”, saying “What have you been up to?”, which is “How have you been busy these days?”. I’m good?

Well, we say in this case “What’s new?” : Quoi de neuf ?

After a long-time no-see, we often say : “Qu’est-ce que tu deviens ?“, which means “Who do you become?”, or “What are you turning into?“.

Yessss you see me coming, there’s a cultural difference here showing on the surface :

USA asks “What have you been up to?”, France asks “What are you turning into?”. One friend is asking about your actions, the other one is asking about your inner transformation. Isn’t it revealing? I don’t know, it makes me think, in any case…

 

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : clairemahoney

Coffee for Ants, Cars for Ants

When I was in my twenties, I had wealthy friends coming back from the USA. Each time, of course, I was like “Hey ! How was New York ? How was L.A. ?”

Each time they had ONE first thing to say.

“Everything, in the USA is big, BIG, BIGGER”

Coca Colas are huge. Steaks are Texas size. Popcorn bags are huge. Cars are huge. Coffees are huge. Trucks are huge. It was so funny to see their eyes like plates, while they were telling this…

Now I know a little more about this country, I know that distances are huge TOO, but the cars are not huge anymore : they probably understood the stupidity of it. This is sad, though… Happily we have some great photography books about this aspect…

Well, in France, one day, my Californian friend ordered a coffee in les Jardins du Luxembourg (you know, this magic place near le Musée du Louvre). It was grey and cold, so she asked for the biggest sized coffee they had, and got the, well, French “normal” idea of it.

“Coffee for ants”, hahaha.

I don’t know what’s the use of this article. The cultural differences are always interesting to list (imagine between Italy and China, or between Brazil and Canada, Angola and Norway). At the lowest level (the sizes of things – for example : houses), it’s just funny. You can compare flowers, insects, the name of different parts of your body, but also the way people make love, how our chakras meet, how we argue on the phone, or say bonjour with a new mother-in-law (in French, say “vous”, not “tu”)  : there’s a pleasure in comparisons.

Oh, voilà!

Well, that’s a beginning, right? Then you can explore narration, influences, money use, etc. It’s infinite. I wish for the moment we will meet people from other planets, don’t you?

Well, have a nice day !

Picture by W. Eggleston

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Olathe means “Beautiful” – My Ouisconsin Toponymy Bliss

France is smaller than Texas alone, but like everywhere, it’s divided into regions, with different cultures, crowded (Paris region) or not (l’Auvergne), near the sea (Bretagne) or near Germany (l’Alsace).

Some regions have city names with the same suffix. Next to Lille (North of France), we have many towns finishing by “in” : Carvin, Camphin, Phalempin, Wavrin…

In Normandy you find many “ville” : Dauville, Trouville…

In Brittany : Bannalec, Carnac, Le Drennec, Glénac, Iffendic…

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You know that I’m a little obsessed with America, and I often wander on the USA map, trying to find the origins of the cities. Indian native, or English, French, Spanish? I check on Wikipedia…

For example, there’s a List_of_Swedish_place_names_in_the_United_States

More interesting : List_of_non-US_cities_with_a_US_namesake, where I find a Chantilly, Missouri (Aawweeeeeeee) or a Versailles, Kentucky (oh really?). Paris, Texas, remember?

22 American city names comes from Norway! (Drammen, Wisconsin, OMG).

So, let’s see the States names. Alabama is Choctaw. Arizona means “The Good Oak” in Basque (South-West of France), Nevada means “snow-covered” in Spanish, and OMG, Wisconsin : “Originally spelled Mescousing by the French, and later corrupted to Ouisconsin” : That’s cute, n’est-ce pas?

 

For each city, you can open this little box of shells. I chose Olathe, Texas, gives :

Olathe was founded by Dr. John T. Barton in the spring of 1857. He rode to the center of Johnson County, Kansas, and staked two quarter sections of land as the town site. He later described his ride to friends: “…the prairie was covered with verbena and other wild flowers. I kept thinking the land was beautiful and that I should name the town Beautiful.” Purportedly, Barton asked a Shawnee interpreter how to say “Beautiful” in his native language. The interpreter responded, “Olathe.”

I knowww, I will never be cured 🙂

Good day !

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Sad Heart, Merry Spirit : Chronicle 9

I read in a Claude Roy diary, as he’s around 70 years old, that he would like to reach this season, this state : “Le temps du cœur triste et de l’esprit gai” – the time of the sad heart and the merry spirit.

Here I have a vocabulary problem : is “gai” happy, merry, gay, jolly? I don’t know. I chose merry.

But I’m very fascinated by this “goal”, from an aged author I liked very much. As if he knew he could never heal his heart. But, knowing this, building his own happiness, a “merry spirit”. This touched me, a lot.

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Just read an article evoking Robert Osborne, a TCM Television Presenter who just died at 87 years old. It is told that Olivia de Havilland had with him :

One phone call a week, for decades.

Awwweeee! (-> this was the sound of my merry spirit). I wish I had a friend so close that she would call me once a week until I die at 87. Like a whatever-happens-I-want-to-talk-with-you. Awwweeee again (my merry spirit if very merried by this idea).

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I read (but where, is it Casanova or Jünger?) about the Venice Purse, a knack which says that when you have to go to a “dangerous” place (which was Venice at the time), you needed to have two purses, one with a little money in case you’re robbed, attacked, knocked out, and another one with the main part of it – well hidden.

It’s just funny to know, but then you realize that when you travel abroad you really have to think about what you do with your passport, the amount of money you have with you, etc. I wonder what this concept can tell us about life in general : Be cautious? Watch the exits? Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket? But also : GO to places where you need to think about the Venice Purse, right?

Venice, in French, is VENISE. A perfect word to say : Venizzz. Elegant as a swan, right? Venice is more like braking at the end. No good. French better, sorry.

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Elmore Leonard says somewhere about novels writing : “If it seems written, I rewrite”.

What a beautiful idea, right? Writing Style Dissimulation Efforts.

And a paradox many artists know well : work, work, work, until nobody sees you worked. It’s an interesting goal, and the path itself is enthralling too. How to reach?

There’s a balance to find, I suppose. It means you have the eyes to know when it’s not OK, when it is OK. Experience.

Well I have a vocabulary problem again. When do you use “enthralling“, dear? Can you say that about a person? How is it radioactivitied? Thrilling? Fearful? Exciting? Or more like “plainfully satisfying”?

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I watched the Iowa episode of Aerial America yesterday. It’s amazing how many times I hear “French” in these. Detroits and Illinois were “frenchised” words, and how Iowa is a piece of this territory called Louisiana, the US bought to the French 214 years ago.

These TV programs tell me how BIG are the United States. Tonight I’ll watch Illinois, following the path of Bill Bryson’s book across America in car (cf Fixin’to traveling in the USA).

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OK, it’s too long. I seize the run-up since a few weeks (is “seize the run-up” a good title?), like making the most of an epistolary energy…

I stop here. Next Chronicle next week. Here’s le hug by Ze French :

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Have a nice day!

 

Fixin’to #traveling (again without moving) in the #USA

Sweatin’ like a sinner in church…

I downloaded a bunch of Smithsonian TV episodes of Aerial America. I just watched the Michigan one, and, say, I’ll probably watch the whole pack!

It’s just one hour long, it’s “taken from helicopter” so I see the country from above, it’s… interesting. There’s a little of History and some funny stories (Kellog’s, Detroit, Eminem, General Motors, Ford, the German population, lakes, and the fact it’s divided in two pieces). The flaws are : there are not enough maps to explain things. It’s not linked enough to the neighbor states. And the narration is a little too much American-TV (so everything is “THE BEST OF THE WORLD” – or the biggest stadium of the country, the greatest factory of the fifties in America, or the longest bridge EVER, etc).

I also have a pack of movies about American History. It’ll help, this summer, I bet, to move forward.

You’ll find plenty of arrogant European people telling that people in USA are non traveling ignorants who don’t even know where Belgium or Italy are on a map. But ask a French what is the capital of Colorado, or to place Oklahoma on the US Map, and you’ll see.

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I began to read the hilarious Bill Bryson book called The Lost Continent. This guy is from Iowa and decided one day to explore his country with two big loops (cf map). So my next episodes will be Iowa and maybe Missouri. It’s another way to visit without moving, right?

When Bryson crosses some cities like Des Moines, Hannibal or Palmyra, I often stop reading and I go on Instagram. I search Pella, Iowa, for example, and, well, I see the land, the sky, the church, the roads, what people do, what people like (cycling or all terrain vehicles?). Do I see vineyards or corn fields? I can’t wait for Wiscasset, Maine, right? I Google-mapped too, a little.

I wonder what you people “feel” when you see one of yours words written in the UK way. For example with realise/realize or colour/color.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on YouTube exploring accents. What is really the Southern Accent? So I watched this :

 

Sorry for my English, it’s difficult some days. I’m French, after all!…

Thanks for reading!

JP

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Instagram : la_fille_de_la_cote

“And he heard how I laughed with you” : Chronicle 6

Happiness is a strange thing. Sometimes we forget to laugh, then we suddenly have someone who’s able to open a box. We laugh. It’s a strange and delicious laugh. It’s THIS box opening. A new sound. Something new. And we laugh.

As a French, I learnt at school that New was pronounced NIEW. Then I talked to Americans, all saying NOO. So now I’m proud to say : “Hey! That’s new!”. Correctly said (noo) and with the “no space between new and the “!”. I find SO interesting that we French are used to add a space here : “It’s new!” -> “C’est nouveau !”.

Today I watched this hippie movie, Hair, with my oldest daughter, and she and I loved it. Then we talked about the fact that last week we watched Forrest Gump. Like if we were studying the second part of the XXth Century of the United States of America, right?

I love this beginning, from Oklahoma to New York :

 

Imagine you live in America, and your street name is in Spanish, your city name is in Spanish and your school’s name is in Spanish. What does it mean? Well, OK, nothing.

I remember my own shock when I realized that San Francisco meant Saint François, and Los Angeles : Les Anges (The Angels, sorry).

I read that a wall between Mexico and the USA would be a little stupid, because Mexican immigrants mainly come by plane. Is that true? Can someone be THAT stupid? I need a lecture.

Tonight I watched a great documentary about one of your best photographer alive : William Eggleston. If you Google Image him you’ll (maybe) understand why I love him so much : he shows (with a fabulous sense of color) something intimate about the USA, he SHOWS something. And this with a “constantly random” attitude (kids, a light, a street, a store, a car), which I adore. I was watching him “hunting” images in this documentary, with a constant “awwweeee” in my mind. The eye of a photographer is something really special. I love that guy. Here are a few pictures :

 

To finish this chronicle here is a good picture I found of Facebook yesterday.

Don’t forget how you laughed. I won’t. Ever.

Have a nice day!

 

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