Thursday, May 31, 2007

Of supermodels, Goya and Giovanni

Watched this thing called 'La Doublure' (The Valet) yesterday (Stephen Holden's review here) - which is a kind of post-view of what Notting Hill would have looked like if it had been a French film. The Valet is silly escapism, but it's charmingly silly escapism, a delicious confection of silliness that makes for pleasant entertainment on an otherwise dull day. In common with Veber's other work, The Valet has a bunch of characters who are endearing if not quite believable, a situation that it ridiculous overall but surprisingly accurate in its details, and the overall feel of a whimsical daydream. Mostly though, it's a film I enjoyed because it plays out that timeless fantasy of the contrarian man - to meet an incredibly hot supermodel and NOT go to bed with her [1].

In other news, it seems that Milos Forman has a new film out (I saw the trailer at the theater yesterday) called Goya's Ghosts. Okay, so it stars Natalie Portman, who I never cease to find annoying, and Randy Quaid, which isn't a promising sign. But it's Forman. About Goya. Showers of succulent gumdrops.

And finally, here's a lovely piece on Poetry from Nikki Giovanni's new collection Acolytes:

"Of the many foundations upon which humans rest, words are probably the most solid. I remember the old children's song "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never touch me." Which is totally not true. We remember cruel things people have said long after we have forgotten the person....But words without heart, without emotion, without passion are themselves less meaningful. Words need to combine with words to make not a better word but a more meaningful metaphor. Poetry. When arrogance calls it should always be poetry that answers thereby granting a stay to humankind's feelings of omnipotence. When love calls it must be poetry that answers bringing the sweet perfume of gentleness as our hearts pound and pound; when courage calls it will always be poetry that answers as we rise above ourselves to bring about a better thing. When war calls, poetry is the only answer. Poetry says No to destruction and Yes to possibility. Poetry is a good idea. A good friend. A good neighbor. Let's write poems."

- Nikki Giovanni, 'Creative Writing - Poetry'

Am I the only person, by the way, who always thought the saying went "words will never hurt me" rather than "never touch me"? Ah, well. As Terry Pratchett puts it:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, [Rincewind] thought. He was vaguely aware that there was a second half to the saying, but he'd never bothered because the first half always occupied all his attention.
- Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times

P.S. As you've probably figured out by now, I'm back in Philly.

[1] To be fair, not all supermodels are beyond the pale. After all, there's always Carla Bruni.


Space Bar said...

It's Veber, by the way. And do you find his films whimsically daydreamy? I find he picks on the most ridiculous aspect in a character and pokes fun of it fairly cruelly. Not in an especially subversive way, but nastily enough to make it uncomfortable. He's also got a good control over timing, I found. Haven't seen this one, though...

Falstaff said...

space bar: Sorry, typo. All fixed now. I can't say I find him particularly cruel / nasty - he strikes me as being fairly harmless. I suspect this may have something to do with the fact that the situations he dreams up always seem to resonate with me for some reason. Or with the fact that I find him rather sentimental, almost to the point of being idealistic. It may also have to do with the fact that the two other Veber films I've seen - La Chevre and Le Placard (not to mention La Cage aux Folles, for which he wrote the screenplay) aren't, I suspect, his nastiest.

Agree with you about timing, though.

DoZ said...

Falstaff: Welcome back! Having recently watched Le Placard, I agree. I find Veber's humor rather benevolent. I suspect I enjoy his films so much because his characters are endearing without being cute (Depardieu comes close to it several times in Le Placard though). Auteil, especially, makes it work.

Chronicus Skepticus said...

Nope, we thought 'hurt' too. In fact I had no clue (until now) that there even was a 'touch' version.

Aseem said...

Beautiful words used by Giovanni.