Pastries, philosophers, and of course, films! Another rich resource for our Around the World in 80 Days stop in France is the French DVD collection. There’s nothing better than practising your rusty high school French by watching a classic.
My best job ever was selling popcorn at the Plaza Movie Theatre during its repertory days when there were 2 different movies every night. Once the snack bar was restocked we could sneak in and watch the movie, so I’ve seen ¾ of many films! I loved the smell of popcorn and drinking the cranberry juice. One staff member was a starving student, and his diet consisted almost entirely of what he ate at work. Luckily we had nuts, baked goods and coffee to supplement the popcorn.
I also loved seeing the regulars, and the sense of community among staff and customers. Working at the Riley Library has a similar neighbourhood feel.
All this nostalgia is making me feel like Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris, as it’s about romanticizing a past time. It’s stirring up memories of all the French films I’ve watched. Not the serious stuff like the Francois Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard movies I puzzled over in film class. I’m thinking of the romanticized dreams of a better life in Paris with Isabelle Adjani, Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Deneuve. These are the ones that women like on rainy days, with beautiful clothing, refined sensibilities, and complicated men. One watches them and thinks if only I were French!
Here’s a list of some girls’ French movies you can watch from Calgary Public Library:
Chocolat- Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp in a romantic confection
A Christmas Tale- Catherine Deneuve reeking sophistication as the head of a family during Christmas
Camille Claudel- take that Rodin! You weren’t the star after all
Amelie- Audrey Tatou as the gamine Amelie, with her unique take on the world
A Very Long Engagement- another camera lovefest with Audrey Tatou again, this time as a devoted girlfriend searching for her lost boyfriend after WWI
Paris Je T’Aime- a montage of short stories
Coco Avant Chanel- about fashion designer Coco Chanel
La Vie en Rose- Marion Cotillard plays Edith Piaf
Jean de Florette/ Manon des Sources- a historical drama with Gerard Depardieu
Rue Montaigne- a waitress meets interesting customers at a cafe
A Trip to the Moon- Georges Melies made this 1902 fantasy about a flight to the moon. Martin Scorsese honoured the director in the film Hugo. This is in a complilation at Calgary Public Library called Georges Melies: First Wizard of Cinema