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Le Salon des Internautes
home of the perpetually doubtful and those that are sure of their ground
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Waltz with Bashir is the film you must see. It was praised in Cannes- but didn't get any prize- and it deserves it. It's really original for it is a mix of animated film and documentary. Animated documentary, some would say...Not quite. There's fiction in the film too, the animation allowing to explore the subconscious of the director. 
You may know that the film is about young Isreali guys that went to the Lebanon war during their military service and were there when the Sabra and Chatila massacre occured in 1982. Ari Folman who wrote and directed the film, was one of them. This film isn't about the Palestinian cause or the Lebanese mess. Of course it shows how Beirut was destroyed, the horror of the war and its collateral damages and it deals with the Christian Falangists' crimes against humanity in Sabra and Chatila camps; it doesn't shy away from Tsahal's responsabilty (especially Ariel Sharon's) in those crimes; and yes it makes a universal statement about war, its absurdity and the damages it causes to everyone and everything, but above all it is a film about memory, the way it works, about war-induced individual trauma, about folk memory and its national burden in Israel (because the shoah is always there in the subconscious), and about involuntary repression. 

The animation gives Folman a lot of freedom to work on the psychoanalytical side of the film, hence dreamy sequences.

Everything starts as one day, about 20 years after the war, a friend of Ari tells him a recurring that has been haunting him. That dream triggers another recurring dream into Folman himself, who from there tries to understand why he forgot everything about his war time, especially the Sabra and Chatila events. Was he really there? What did he do? He tries to re-build his failing memory by interviewing his old army friends; thus through the others' testimony he dives in and looks for the truth about himself, using their own memories to seek and unfold his.

The project is interesting and the result is really well done, mixing documentary-style interviews, poetic hallucinosis, discussions that turn into analysis sessions and finally the actual elusive memories that come out one by one like bubbles blowing at the surface.

The film has a strange macabre charm but is always tasteful and formally refined. The form perfectly suits the content since the film deals with the way we can distance ourselves from unbearable events...until there's no more escape.

The teaser trailer 

The official Isreali trailer
Vermeer, woman in yellow
 [info]jamalov29 asked for my thoughts on the American book whose title is The Lost (a search for six of six millions) and I guess she might be the only one interested in reading this post (besides the fact it's in French with possible quotes in English), but I've been needing  to write some things down about that wonderful book and his author for a while anyway, so here it is.

You may skip my thoughts if you can't read French, I'm used to it, but I recommend the reading of the last quote(in English) from the book at the bottom of my post, for these are Daniel Mendelsohn's beautiful words and they are worth reading (and it took me ages to type them !).

Vermeer, woman in yellow
 I've just finished an entertaining book by Pierre Bayard whom I already mentionned last year for his brilliant Comment parler des livres qu'on a pas lus. By the way there's a good article on Pierre Bayard here (it's from the French newspaper, Libération).

Well, entertaining might not be the most accurate word here. It's very clever, recreational and intellectual at once. The tittle is L'affaire du chien des Baskerville. Bayard's idea is that Sherlock Holmes got it all wrong (he isn't the first to think so, the Holmesians had alreay pointed out many anomalies and Christopher Gelly or François Hoff also wrote articles on a possible miscarriage of justice) . Basically Pierre Bayard leads a counter-investigation (and does find/reveal another guilty party) while writing an essay on literature (he teaches Literature in a Parisian University but he's also a psychoanalyst) . 

Bayard has started what he called himself  "une critique policière" which is literary critic applied to detective novels. He has already done it with Agatha Christie (Qui a  tué Roger Ackroyd ?) and Shakespeare's Hamlet (he proved Claudius innocent of the murder of Hamlet's father)

I must say that I am not completely convinced by his solution here, and the final truth he gives us when he unmasks the murderer left me sceptical. However it's quite playful and all the work he does- about Holmes' method and his obvious mistakes, about the hound's innocence(the chapter "Plaidoyer pour le chien" is hilarious), about Stapleton's doubtful guilt and finally about Conan Doyle's ambivalence when it comes to his famous detective- before pointing out the true killer, well that work of his is SO smart and just fun. 

It's an exercice in style of exegesis and critic brilliantly accomplished by an Academic who fights with the text so it could be boring and could seem pointless but Bayard's tongue-in-cheek humour is simply priceless.  

It's even more priceless if you have enjoyed Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, if you have seen the BBC's programme Reichenbach Falls based on an idea by Ian Rankin and  if you think of that recent poll done in the UK wherein it turned out that 25% of British teenagers thought that Winston Churchill was a fictional character but more than 50% believed that Sherlock Holmes did exist and used to live in Baker Street!

See, everything is connected in my world, again...Now you may follow me under the cut into the rabbit's hole.

At the end of the day Pierre Bayard shows us that when you really want to find something in a book you can and the connections you draw will work because there's a sweet insanity and a real freedom in the process of reading, and a reader is just as part of a book as its writer and its characters. 

It's something that we, Buffy fans, already knew, didn't we?
Vermeer, woman in yellow
Césars and Oscars are coming soon. I've checked both lists and realised that I have seen more movies that are nominated for the Oscars than French films that are competing for the César awards. Should I feel bad?

Well, I don't. I have never been chauvinistic when it comes to cinema. I see movies from all over the world(and actually saw all the films nominated for best foreign movies!), I love Asian movies for instance and wish I had more time lately because I missed a few films I intend to see.

Needless to say that I don't really agree with all the nominations. I think that they left out a few movies that I did enjoy in 2007.

Anyway here's the list for the Césars and the list for the Oscars.

Speaking of No Country for Old Men, I saw it yesterday and here's my review. 


Vermeer, woman in yellow
A long but interesting article either here here or under the cut.

The Moral InstinctCollapse )

rhombus: steve the impalor
From Boing Boing:SF-writers work on a series that isn't televised, or they work on fanfiction that goes without 'verse. It's called Shadow Unit, and sounds very promising.

Crossposted to frances_lievens.
Shadow Play
On Friday evening I saw Ken Loach's It's a Free World and yesterday I took my goddaughter to see a lovely French film called Le Renard et L' Enfant.

Apparently the two films couldn't be more different. One is about a harsh social reality, the other is rather a "fairy tale" about an unlikely friendship between a kid and a fox and a journey into the wild. One is almost a nightmare, the other is like a dream. Ken Loach didn't try to make an attractive movie with pretty pictures while Luc Jacquet made stunning pictures. The little girl is cute as a button, the foxes are incredible actors, the landscapes are beautiful.

To give you an idea of how pretty Le Renard et L'Enfant is, here is the trailer.

 I think that being a human being means that one can enjoy both movies, acknowledge Ken Loach's great and subtle work, watch it with adult eyes while marvelling at the wildlife and at the relationship between the kid and the fox. Yes I confess that I smiled a lot, and laughed, feared for the fox and almost cried in front of the screen.

Having said that, as a movie buff I must say that It's a Free World is a better film. I really recommend it. It's Ken Loach at his best.

Vermeer, woman in yellow
28th-Dec-2007 09:25 pm - Lists [coffeetable-conversations]
It's almost New Year's Eve and all that. What better way to say goodbye to a year, than to make lists. There are lists of things you should have done, things you never want to do again, things you're going to do, and things you've experienced. Cultural lists are the ones featured in every newspaper and magazine. But who wants to read which book Nicolas Sarkozy read during his presidential campaign? I prefer hearing about the gems you found in 2007. They don't have to be from 2007, as long as you found out about them in the last twelve months it's all good. You can even say something about it, provide links to places where we can read about it, or just write down your list and leave it at that. Whatever. So, what did stick in 2007?
  1. Book
  2. Film
  3. Television
  4. Music
  5. Food
  6. Acquisition
  7. Other
You can find my list in the comments.
Shadow Play
20th-Dec-2007 10:04 pm/sans titre/ [the piano corner]
Recently I went through all the music I had uploaded on box.net and since it's been rather empty in the salon of late, I decided to share some of the songs here with you.

I tried to keep it diverse and to describe the songs accurately, forgive me if I sometimes got too long-winded!

On to the musicCollapse )
rhombus: steve the impalor
10th-Nov-2007 06:42 pm - Film noir [pop-corn/choc-ice/tv dinner]
Yesterday evening a friend and I went to see Eastern Promises at the cinema. It's an interesting movie, much better than Cronenberg's previous film starring Viggo Mortensen, A History of Violence.  Eastern Promises isn't really a thriller, it isnt' based on an intriguing and complicated plot (you figure it out rather quickly) but it's smart. It's a film noir that takes its time and takes us into the dark world of the Russian mafia in London. 

A young pregnant girl (she's only 14) is brought to Trafalgar hospital wherein she dies in childbirth during Anna (Naomi Watts)'s shift. The only thing left is the newborn baby and a diary written in Russian. Haunted by her own previous miscarriage, Anna whose own father was Russian, decides to have the diary translated in order to identify the anonymous girl's family and save the baby from orphanage. Her quest leads her to be introduced to the most dangerous people.

Vermeer, woman in yellow
Le Salon des Internautes: home of the perpetually doubtful and those that are sure of their ground.