Monday, July 27, 2015

Belle de Jour in July

"Belle de Jour" (1967) was considered one of the most famous French movies, especially since it was directed by Louis Bunuel. With a Jesuit upbringing, the director left Spain in order to join the Surrealist movement in Paris. "Belle de Jour" is his first out of six movies he shot in France.
The universe he creates is quite strange, and the line between what is real, what is wished for and what is a mere dream is so often blurred that it becomes disturbing more often than not.

The 24 year old Catherine Deneuve plays the part of Belle de Jour, a prostitute who sells herself out of too much boredom, not because she needs the money and this is her only way of acquiring it. However, her kinkiness and depravity get the best of her and still, I felt I was left wondering what was real and what not, so this was indeed an avant-garde experiment. It is worth seeing, especially as it is seen as one of the world's cinematic masterpieces, not to mention that Bunuel himself defined his movie as "the search for truth, as well as the necessity of abandoning it as soon as you’ve found it.”

You can read a great review here

Monday, July 20, 2015

Le Voleur des Moments Banales

"Le voleur d'ombres" (The Shadow Thief) de Marc Levy, un des plus connus et admires ecrivains francais, est un des romans magiques qu'on ne peut pas mettre de cote avant de le finir. Pourquoi le faire, quand il s'agit des histoires d'amour?   Les ombres peuvent nous dire des secrets et partager les chagrins et les espoirs de ceux qu'on aime ou qu'on connait. Cet etrange pouvoir aide le petit a comprendre les adultes et meme a se reconcilier avec le passe. Ecrire des mots doux dans le ciel avec un cerf-volant est toujours possible :)

Voici quelques citations que je prefere:

Et si l'adulte que vous êtes devenu rencontrait l'enfant que vous étiez ?

A écouter mon coeur tambouriner dans ma poitrine, je me suis dit qu'on pouvait peut-être mourir d'un baiser.

Il ne faut jamais comparer les gens, chaque personne est différente. L'important est de trouver la différence qui vous convient le mieux.

C'est drolement dangereux de s'attacher à quelqu'un , c'est incroyable ce que ça peut faire mal . rien que la peur de perdre l'autre est douloureuse . sans nouvelles d'elle ; tout s'écroulait autour de moi . c'est moche de guetter un signe de quelqu'un pour se sentir heureux .

"Le Figaro" presente Marc Levy racontant la genese du "Voleur d'Ombres".

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vive le Pain Perdu!

Every July it's time for some simple, yet tasty recipe to try. Here's my favorite from Rachel Khoo's book, "The Little Paris Kitchen".

Pain Perdu avec Compote de Cerises et Basilic (French Toast with Cherry and Basil Compote) 

"Pain Perdu" means "lost bread" and you can top it with compote or eat it just as it comes. You need 1 egg, a tablespoon of sugar, 250 ml of milk, 4 slices of bread and a tablespoon of butter. For the compote you need 450 frozen pitted cherries, 150 g of icing sugar and a bunch of basil, but you could use any compote you like.

To make the compote, place all the ingredients in a pot and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time to help dissolve the icing sugar.

To make "the pain perdu" whisk the egg, milk and sugar together in a dish. Place the bread in the egg mixture and soak for a minute on each side. Heat the butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the bread and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then flip the slices over and cook the other side. Serve the "pain perdu" straight from the pan, with the compote spooned over and around.

Rachel has her own show on BBC Two. Click here for more info on her cooking preferences. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Boredom Read Along Part I

"In the beginning was boredom, commonly called chaos. God, bored with boredom, created the earth, the sky, the waters, the animals, the plants, Adam and Eve; and the latter bored in their turn in paradise, ate the forbidden fruit. God became bored with them and drove them out of Eden."

I have only managed to read a third of Alberto Moravia's book, due to a very busy weekend, but I can truly say it is not as enjoyable as "Contempt", mainly because I could not relate to the main character who does not find pleasure in anything, whether that is money, women or art. He seems to be bored with life itself, without feeling the need to end it, but rather go into rambling speeches about "boredom". Maybe the movie will be more interesting.

"And the main feature of my boredom was the practical impossibility of remaining in my own company - I myself being, moreover, the only person in the world whom I could not get rid of in any possible way." 

To be continued...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Madame Bovary

What an excellent adaptation this was! I am thrilled directors still choose to return to classics and create beautiful pieces of art. I few years ago I saw "Madame Bovary" starring Isabelle Huppert (which appeared in 1991) and I really enjoyed watching it, but then, Huppert is one of my favorite actresses. This time, I think Mia Wasikowska is among my favorite young actresses. I was impressed with her acting in "Alice in Wonderland", "Jane Eyre" and "Stoker" and she did not let me down playing the part of Madame Bovary.

We all know Emma's story. She marries a country doctor and starts feeling bored in the small village where he practices medicine. She also begins to see him in a different light, until she cannot stand him any longer. If at first she can say "no" to a younger man who shows affection towards her, she then longs for a different life, with more money to spend on clothes and trifles next to a man who can have time for her. Her wish does come true, but Gustave Flaubert's novel is not a fairy tale...

Reasons to watch "Madame Bovary" (2014): Mia, the story, the scenery, the inner struggles.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Another Beautiful July in ... Paris!

There is no such thing as July without Paris and since I can choose whatever I want to read, watch or listen to, this month is going to be fantastic!
I will be watching the controversial "Belle de Jour", starring Catherine Deneuve and the new adaptation for the screen of Flaubert's famous story "Madame Bovary", starring the young and talented Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre). I am really looking forward to this one. Also, I have some plans for one or more French movies, depending on my free time.

Bookwise, I am planning on reading Marc Levy's "The Shadow Thief", Simone de Beauvoir's "The Woman Destroyed" and David Foenkinos' "Lennon". It is such an eclectic range of books that I know I will have quite a blast going from one to the next.

However, what will Paris be without its lovely chansonettes? To my huge surprise, one of my all time favorite French singers, Benjamin Biolay has just released a tribute album to Charles Trenet and Paris. The first released song is "Revoir Paris". Can you think of something more beautiful Paris related?

Enjoy your own Paris in July! 
P.S. Visit Thyme for Tea for more info on the challenge :)