Back in graduation we had to pick a foreign language as an extra class. Out of the four languages that were on offer, I picked French without giving it much thought. My best friend in college was a Creole and French speaking young lady from Mauritius, Yeshee. She was obviously better at the language than our teacher because she would often correct the teacher’s French grammar. I sat through my foreign language class either giggling or passing notes around or reading a novel. Yeshee would teach me French outside of the class, all the time.
What I loved about the language was the sound of it. It’s just so melodious and pleasant that you want to go on listening to it even when you don’t understand a word of it. The accent, the pauses, the tone – everything sounds musical and harmonious.
By the end of college, I had managed to learn only the basic exchange of pleasantries in French. With Yeshee going back to Mauritius, my French lessons came to a complete halt.
The first day, I watched Main dans la main (Hand in Hand). The movie is about a dance teacher at Paris Opera in Paris and a boy from a small French village who is much younger than she is. The two, because of an unexplained spell, have to stay together physically all the time. If one walks, other follows. If one goes right, the other goes too! It’s part comedy, part drama but a whole lot of fun! They are two very different people who do not have anything in common. She is rich and loves her money and lavish lifestyle, he is non-ambitious and is happy with simple pleasures of the small town living. It’s a tricky situation for both of them since they even have to sleep together.
Resilient as humans are, they both eventually give up on their inability to do anything about the strange phenomenon and attempt to make the best of the situation. He learns the ballet as she teaches her class full of female students, she learns to appreciate him and value his presence. Slowly they become inseparable. They become best friends.
The movie made a point – love and relationships can bloom in the wildest of situations, in the unlikeliest of places.
It makes me think – as humans, are we capable of loving anyone and everyone if we give ourselves and others a chance or is it all destiny? Would I be equally happy if I had a completely different set of people in my life?
As much as they were enjoying this new set up of always being together, he started missing his simple life back in the village, his family, his sister, his job at the mirror shop and wished to go back. When the spell breaks, they are both upset but decide to move on with their individual lives. Their separation makes them realize that they did not wish to be separate and they, of course, reunite. And this time for good!
The movie is captivating and humorous for most parts. Although, the humor underlines the sensitive issues that the two have to deal with as they move along – a dying friend, an ignored sister, the pain of losing and the joy of being loved and cared for.
The second movie that I managed to watch at the festival was called The Dandelions. Let me tell you something about this movie – It’s something you can go on watching! Who would want to stop listening to two beautiful, little girls from constant, yet innocent, chattering ..and that too in French!
The story is about young Rachel who is overly-protected by her mother. The little one has no expression of her thoughts and is usually quiet and to herself, to the extent that her mother takes her to a shrink! But it all changes when Valerie offers to make Rachel her bench-partner on her first day in school. Valerie is fun, happy-go-lucky, notorious and finds a reason to laugh and make merry in all situations. She teaches the-over -protected Rachel to have fun, to laugh, to talk and some hush-hush stuff that kids their age are NOT supposed to know!
The two nine-year-olds find comfort in each other since Valerie’s parents are separated (and she has a crush on Rachel’s father!!). And Rachel has a crush on Valerie’s teenage brother! It’s as innocent as it sounds.
As much as Rachel’s over protective and paranoid mother is uncomfortable with her daughter’s new friend and her husband’s growing friendship with Valerie’s (single) mother, she is also somewhere happy that Rachel is opening up. Things finally look perfect when the two mothers and their respective daughters spend a day together at a farm house and the mothers clear the air between them as the younger ones run through the fields – laughing and discussing their innocent love issues!
It all takes a tragic turn when Valerie dies of a heart problem unexpectedly. The two families are shattered and little Rachel has no idea what has just happened. She wonders if she would even remember Valerie and the time they spent together as she grows older. She wants to hold onto all the beautiful memories because she cannot afford to let them slip away with time. The problem is – she doesn’t know how.
You can hear the crack with which your heart breaks when you see a nine year old deal with the death of another nine year old. It just leaves you thinking that every second of time has the power to turn your world upside down, no questions asked and no answers given.
A beautiful and heart warming piece of art.
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