Monday, June 09, 2008

now I just need to practice my petanque and Gallic shrugging skills

Continuing my garlic-crazed immersion in French artistic culture, I watched the DVD of Caché last night. I've had it for a while - picked up for a fiver or so in a sale at either Virgin (who seem to have strangely mutated into Zavvi these days) or HMV in Bristol - but never got round to watching it before. And very good it is too - not much in the way of conventional "action" most of the way through, which makes the one brief scene where something unspeakably violent and shocking does happen all the more, well, shocking. Excellent acting from Daniel Auteuil and the divine Juliette Binoche, who manages to pull off looking drab and dowdy in a series of sack-like dresses for much of the movie - a pretty remarkable acting job, considering.

A central theme here is giving smug white bourgeois French intellectualism a good kicking - Platform has some fun doing the same thing.

One of the interesting things about fictional works, be they films, novels or whatever is the oblique light they throw on real-world places and events. A case in point here is the reference in this film to the massacre by the Parisian police of a couple of hundred Algerian demonstrators in Paris in October 1961, something I was unaware of until yesterday. The flipside of that observation is that one of the interesting things about startling or traumatic real-world events is the artistic works they inspire. The Algerian conflict, for example, gave Albert Camus plenty of material, as well as providing the background for The Day Of The Jackal. Looking back through the last few book reviews, you've also got the sinking of the Titanic, the Prague Spring, the Cold War and the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands.

Life imitating art imitating life. Imitating art. Etcetera. Watching us, watching you, watching us, watching you. No, hang on, that was something else.

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