Tag Archives: French

Les Valseuses

I watched ‘Les Valseuses‘ the other day. It was not the first film featuring Gérard Depardieu, but it was the one that brought him to fame.

The film follows two ‘rogues’ from ‘les banlieus‘, Jean-Claude (Depardieu) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere) as they explore their world. They are thoroughly unlikeable characters, sexual harassment is a past-time for them – and I found that certain scenes were repellent, not through their (bad) behaviour, but through the responses of others. For example, the mother who is harassed on the train comes to enjoy the attention very rapidly. Miou-Miou’s behaviour (Marie-Ange) is pretty unbelievable, but then, she is portrayed as someone who has been in an abusive relationship, and as hard as it is to fathom, people do move between relationships like this.

There are instances where Jean-Claude and Pierrot’s exploits become amusing, the cuts to the bicycle chase as they run away, for example – and there are sequences which are poignant. For example, the story with Jeanne Pirolle (Jeanne Moreau) has a beauty and a tragedy about it (even though the initial motivation is sordid) – that the men get involved with Jacques Pirolle (Jacques Chailleux) speaks to them becoming less unlikeable as the film moves on.

Though the film has a very misogynistic attitude to women (though Jeanne is treated well by Jean-Claude and Pierrot, albeit with ulterior motive). The men are portrayed as weak – the film was made in the decades following the turbulence of the 1960s, at the end of the post-war economic boom for France. Unemployment was on the rise. Jean-Claude and Pierrot are representing the no-hope, no-prospects atmosphere of the age. Pierrot in particular is emasculated by an early incident in the film which perhaps partially explains, though doesn’t excuse, some of their despicable behaviour. Miou-Miou’s ‘responses’ to both Pierrot and Jean-Claude extend this, and when Jacques does satisfy her, he recounting of the experience doesn’t do Jacques any favours.

There are moments in the film which were amusing, but I found the characters and morality of the film repugnant. All the more so because at moments there was a danger of sympathising with them, until you remembered what they’d done up to that point. This repulsion was a new experience for me, I can watch films where dark things happen, and nasty people do them. I can watch films with a dark ending (rare as they are) – but there was something about this film that prevented an appreciation on that level. It’s a film that was interesting to watch, but not one that I would want to see again for entertainment.

The imdb summary puts it well:

Two whimsical, aimless thugs harass and assault women, steal, murder, and alternately charm, fight, or sprint their way out of trouble. They take whatever the bourgeois characters value: whether it’s cars, peace of mind, or daughters. Marie-Ange, a jaded, passive hairdresser, joins them as lover, cook, and mother confessor. She’s on her own search for seemingly unattainable sexual pleasure.

Cert French (Open)

My first Open University certificate came through today. I’m now entitled to use the letters Cert French (Open) after my name.

I won’t be doing this, I don’t even use my degree letters as a rule (BSc. Hons, I believe, though there may be some detail difference).

To start using Cert French (Open) would be equivalent to writing my GCSE/O Level/A Level qualifications!

Still, it’s nice to have the bit of paper. The next one, assuming that I finish the course, will be Cert Hum (Open).

No, I won’t be using it, it may get silly.

Article by Murk, BSc (Hons); Cert French (Open); PGCE; A levels in Maths, Further Maths, Computer Science, Physics; City of Guilds Amateur Radio Examination; RoSPA minibus training, GCSEs in English (Lang and Lit), Maths, Technical Drawing, Electronics, French, Geography, Chemistry and Physics; Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, 6th Kyu Ni Judo (from 1981!), yellow belt judo (similar vintage), cycling proficiency, 50m swimming; Milk Monitor.

Non à 2008!

According to the BBC News website, protestors in Nantes spent december 31st protesting against 2007. "Now is better".

They "called on governments and the UN to stop time’s “mad race” and declare a moratorium on the future"

The tension mounted as the minutes ticked away towards midnight – but the arrival of 2007 did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.

The protesters began to chant: "No to 2008!"

They vowed to stage a similar protest on 31 December 2007 on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris.

Further details (in English) and in French (1) (2)