Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who Said 'Slapstick' Doesn't Go With 'Obit?'

"...I know that you know that I know that you know that aside from alive-and-well French talk show hosts, I already have my fair share of crushes on a fair share of dead guys, but it’s hard not to have a crush on Claude Chabrol. Just ask France – or anybody from here. If Victor Hugo was France’s son, then Claude Chabrol was kinda like France’s uncle, only not in the creepy-sugar daddy-drinking-a-Coke-in-a-bordello kind of way. There’s a saying, or at least the newspaper Libération recently, rightly, righteously, just right the other day, the day right after his death, at the right time, kinda compiled and created one: Chabrol, c’est la France. (Chabrol is France.) When you think of the joyous, jolly, jovial, jubilant bon vivant-cum-cinéaste movie director – and you live in Paris – it’s hard to make the connection between the fun-“here kid, have a dollar”- type of uncle and, well, la France. But if you think about it a moment longer, you kinda get the drift. “La France perd son miroir,” Libé went on to say, in big, bold, black, bold emboldened letters: “France Loses Its Mirror.” And this is where it starts to get interesting.

"The thing about Claude Chabrol’s films is that someone always ends up with a fork in the eye. Or a knife in the back. Or a bullet in the head. That kind of thing. I don’t know if the French stick more knives in each other’s backs or more forks in each other’s eyes or more bullets in each other’s heads than anybody else from any other country, but when you’re watching Chabrol, that’s pretty much how things turn out. Complete with crazy, classically-inspired, it’s-three-o’clock-in-the-morning at the campus radio station-and-the pianist-and-horn-section-just-went-apeshit type of music. Often composed by Chabrol’s son, Mathieu. You know, just to create un peu d’ambiance. The kind of ambiance that makes the rich look, well, bitch..."

The New Vulgate Goes Burlesque! (Thanks To Caro-leen)

"...No, don’t worry, non, ne vous inquiétez pas — French cinéma has not just come out with a re-make of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. And sadly, in Tournée (that’s ‘On Tour,’ en américain), there’s not one single-solitary-shimmery drag queen. There is that American guy dressed up as Louis XIV, however, and he does dance around while kinda-sorta deep-throating a baguette. And that kind of rocks in its own doughy-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside kind of way. So there’s that.

"Then there’s that scene where that girl blows up that giant balloon for that routine where she pulls it over her neck and then her shoulders and then her chest and then her breasts and then her belly and belly button and bum and bottom parts and then she dances around inside of it? With the lights and the music and the scenery and the nakedness and heels, it’s really pretty amazingly cool. I wonder: Do you think that could be done with a condom? Helluva trick on a first date!

"No, this isn’t the Crazy Horse . . . or the Lido or Chez Michou or the Paradis Latin or the Moulin Rouge. And thank Dieu for that; we sure as hell wouldn’t want Nicole Kidman standing around in the wings. Because Tournée is sexy, in its own sexy-smart-celebratory kind of way, and we all know that when it comes to Sexy, Nicole Kidman is like bleach-scented disinfectant. When it comes to Sexy, we all know Nicole Kidman has the appeal of a salad. You know – as we all do – the un-sexy bleach-flavored one with Nicole Kidman starring in it. Made mainly-mostly-only of lettuce..."

France In My Thighs

"...My Yoga dojo is right in the heart of Paris’s Communist Central, right at Métro Colonel Fabien. Je vous assure, that’s right, just across from the Parti Communiste HQ — the one that looks like a big diaphragm? Or cervix, depending on your angle? There’s, like, only four guys left that belong to France’s Parti Communiste — can’t say if they’ve ever seen a cervix from any angle — but I think that’s the building where they still come up with all of their slogans and stickers and rants and chants for when all four of them rise up to raise hell. In solidarity. (The liberté, etc., goes without saying.) Gazing at the big cervix/diaphragm was kind of inspiring. It kind of put me in the mood. I came up with my own bumpersticker chant-rant – only it was less political-propaganda-esque and more meditative/reflective (you know, in preparation for that meditative/reflective part of the class) (see how cooperative I am?): Down With Menopause! Rah! Rah! Rah! Namaste! Ça sonne, non ? I’m thinking of trying it out on the Communists the next time I’m down at the dojo and we’re all standing outside for a smoke..."

Who's More Jealous of Whom? JLG or Guy Debord?

"...Film socialisme, Godard’s latest foray into nothingness, is one of those flicks that you can say you’ve seen once you’ve seen the trailer. Kind of like The A-Team. You know sometimes when you’re at an expo or a vernissage and there’s art on the walls and sculptures on the floor or suspended in the air and then there’s this bad video installation shoved off into a corner somewhere and it’s emitting endless loops of what sounds like it could be a human being, but it also sounds like moo-ing and moaning and meowing? And then after your third glass of free Veuve Cliquot you finally go over to check it out and discover that it actually is a human being and they are actually moo-ing…and moaning…and meowing…and they’re also rolling and romping and writhing around on the floor in-the-buff and they have a pimply bum? Well, Godard’s Film socialisme is kinda like that..."

France On The List (Or, Caro-leen's Top Ten . . .)

"...Don’t you just hate Top Ten Lists? They’re soooo degrading. I mean really, how can you narrow down and chalk up and sort and sift through and screen and say who is – and isn’t – list-worthy? How does one come up with the criteria? And what does that criteria mean? And who’s to say that one’s criteria isn’t complete crap, that their priorities are misaligned, that their values are all out-of-whack, and that they’re perpetuating society’s increasingly fucked-up perspective on cool and cute and hip and hubba-hubba-hot? What gives one the right to play Top Ten List God? Who died and made Top Ten List writers the kings and queens and princes and princesses and dukes and duchesses and dauphines and dauphins of qui est in and qui est out ? Just where do they get off??!

"Meanwhile, I don’t know if you know this but in Paris there are a lot of cute men. Frenchmen – all French and manly (well, in a French way) and fine. Running loose in the streets and the rues and the courtyards and the passageways…especially now, especially since it’s September, especially since they’re all back from the South for la rentrée, hair all surfy and sun-bleached and just so. You know that little petite moi wouldn’t descend so far as to create a list — you know me. And this isn’t really a list at all — it’s more of a rundown. You know, in an effort to assist you in your French education. (Oh, and it’s in no particular order. Not really. Anyway . . .)"

Mammoth Masturbation in "Mammuth..."

"...I can see why they didn’t put the Gérard Depardieu masturbating scene in the trailer. It wouldn’t make for good box office results. O.K. sure all right fine, if it had been Gérard Depardieu masturbating back in the Seventies it would have been an entirely different story. Back in the Seventies, Gérard Depardieu was kinda hot. But Mammuth came out just a couple of weeks ago, so in this film he’s all modern and masturbatory and present tense and present time and present decade and present day. And not to be shallow, but when you see Gérard in the flesh? In that full-fledged full-frontal fleshy façon ? Well not to be shallow or anything, but he’s gotten kind of . . . fleshy. (And get your minds out of the gutter — geez! — I’m not talking about that.) Actually, not to be to shallow or anything, but he’s...well he’s actually gotten kind of fat. Less in that jolly 'ho-ho-ho' kind of way and more in that 'wheeze-hack-wheeze-will-he-make-it-to-the, uh, climax' kind of way. So you can see where I’m, er, coming from..."

France Drops Its Pants (For Running In Heels, Anyway. . . )

"...And if we can’t wear pants or burqas, what are we supposed to put on…mini-skirts? Every day? All the time? Tous les jours ? Try that in my neighborhood. Go ahead, you’ll see what I mean. My neighborhood is made up of an entire quartier of leg men, from the préfets and garbagemen and gadabouts right on down. Wear a mini-skirt in my neighborhood and you’re guaranteed to make new friends. Oh sure, all right, O.K., fine – no one’s denying that it’s a little flattering. Especially on those 'I feel fat and worthless' kind of days. But most of these ‘friends,’ the ones in my neighborhood, aren’t the kind you want or need. Sure, they can spit real good to impress you as they’re out there barking and hollering and hooting at you in the street, but that’s about it. We all know that with relationships of the deep, meaningful, profound, earth-shattering variety, good spitting skills count, sure, but they only take a couple so far. So when it comes to the wearing of pants or burqas or mini-skirts or otherwise, I’m all for a little liberté. . ."