Sunday, May 27, 2007


i woke up at 3:30 a.m. on one of my many night wakings (the di wakes me a few times in the night), and i went out to get a drink (another di feature, thirst), and there were a dozen beautiful white roses (my favorite) sitting on the table. underneath was my new home theater system!! you'd think that someone who watches as many movies and as much TV as i do would already have a nice theater system, but no, not until now. i'm very happy.

then, i go to my web space (i just can't call it a b*og) to find a lovely comment in Portugese. a Portugese person has written to me. so there you go. i'm feeling quite international and important (even though i think it was an attempt to sell me a t-shirt).

and we're not going to Sundance for dinner but to a restaurant in Salt Lake City. my husband is surprising me, but i'm betting on The Paris. it's a fabulous restaurant, and, believe it or not, one of the best menu items (here comes the dumb American) is:

The Paris Cheeseburger (Grilled 8-ounces Ground Sirloin [Utah Open-range, Grass fed], Gruyère Cheese, Classic Accoutrements & Pommes Frites) Add Maytag Bleu Cheese & Pancetta.....2.00

i eat about 4 cheeseburgers/year, but this one is worth it. but i know i'll probably go for something fancier (mike can get the burger and we can share). i will definitely get:

Escargots Classique (Cognac,Tarragon & Garlic Butter)

because i'm goofy about getting the snails. i love them. and while it's mainly about the texture (i know, gross), i recognize that they are essentially a vehicle for garlic butter (although i wish they'd shift to using shallots; i have learned to love shallots to the point of banning garlic; maybe they will make a birthday accommodation).

this is fascinating, no? i suppose it's not much in the way of thinking about representation except that it is. my fondness for The Paris Bistro is shaped by my acute franchophilia. i can't exactly trace its emergence because it seems that i've carried this identification with me forever. and i have only been to Paris once, and that was a quick layover at the airport (wow. they sure do smoke in that airport. 10 more minutes and i'd have gone for one of my 10/year cigarettes, or worse. i can't recall if it was CDG or not; i think it was Orly). i remember my republican parents worrying about DeGaulle in the late 60's . . . something going on over there. now i know.

but so my francophilia, it's not exclusively about iconic images like the Eiffel Tower (but yes, i would love to see the exhibit, "The Eiffel Tower in Films"). my favorite Eiffel Tower image is the opening scene of Truffaut's Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows). a short peek at imdb and i find out from the "trivia" section at the 4B site that

"The title of the film comes from the French idiom 'faire les quatre cents coups', meaning 'to raise hell'"

. . . i hadn't known that. also, from his mini-bio on imdb:

"His performance as Antoine Doinel in Quatre cents coups, Les (1959) ("The 400 Blows") is ranked #98 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time."

and for those of you thinking about sound and ambience, there's this:

"All spoken lines in the film are dubbed over again by the actors themselves, save for a few minor and trivial parts. For instance, during the last scene, the sound of Antoine's footsteps was added during editing--the truck that the camera rested upon produced too much noise. Shooting on the streets of Paris, as many films of the French New Wave did, was often hectic and re-dubbing everything allowed Francois Truffaut to not have to worry about lugging bulky and expensive sound equipment around, and more importantly he would not have to worry about a street scene having too much background noise. This made shooting faster and easier."

and since i'm trying to figure out why i love the French, here is a clip of Antoine's psychological questioning in 4B. i'm always amazed at Jean-Pierre Léaud's performance. enjoy:

so it's not all about iconic identifications, but then, look at what i'm citing, the Eiffel Tower and Francois Truffaut. but that's okay. there's surely more to it. and even if there isn't, i'm okay w/ that. you have to be okay w/ some things, w/ certain identifications, even if you examine them and find that you are terribly provincial. maybe i'll find something more sophisticated to say about all of this. i think i may find it in reviewing footage of the riots and DeGaulle and thinking about my parents and wondering what it all meant and why i am now making a film called "remove to dispense." mabye not. we'll see.

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