French Farmhouse Report for 2/17 with a Movie Review

 

 

balance cookies dessert food
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

After the scale gave me a tough love motivated lecture, I realized that consuming butter and cream and baguette on a daily basis, even with modest portions, long walks, and no snacks between meals was not working. Full frontal French recipes will be created once a month, or will reflect the cuisine of the Mediterranean region. Progress in dropping the menopause induced pounds will resume shortly.

Let us move on to another pleasurable aspect of French culture: films. You probably don’t know Dominic Abel and Fiona Gordon, so let me introduce you. They are a husband and wife comedy team based in Belgium who specialize in absurdist, slapstick-y comedies that run counter to what comes out of Hollywood these days. They aren’t as well known outside of Europe as they should be. I found them through a review of their film “Lost in Paris” in France Magazine and purchased it via Amazon.

The story goes like this: Fiona, a librarian in a small, remote Canadian town, gets a letter from her Aunt Marthe (Emmanuelle Riva’s last role before her passage). Marthe’s home care aide is trying to get her into assisted care, so Fiona goes to Paris help her aunt. She finds out that Marthe has disappeared. Dom, a homeless man, helps Fiona find Marthe, but not without a tango, several pratfalls, and an unintended swim in the Seine along the way.

I liked the DVD, too. Its features included an interview with Abel and Gordon, an overview of the style of comedy they perform, and influences on their work.

Fans of Mr. Bean and Carol Burnett should like “Lost in Paris.”

I know I did.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!

 

Image courtesy of Old Design Shop

If you observe the holiday, merry Christmas. I hope Santa and other gift givers in your circle treated you generously and that all your Yuletide treats were tasty.

We celebrated the day quietly. Hubby occupied himself with wood, power tools, and other small woodworking devices. I thawed a bag of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey as  a springboard for lunch and made a pan of brownies. Afterwards, Oakley and I took a ramble along a two-mile path meandering through a prairie restoration that’s about 15 minutes away.

On holidays and weekends, especially ones boasting above average temperatures, the forest preserve nearest our house gets filled with horses and their riders. That’s fine. It’s their forest preserve, too. However, I needed to clear my head and heart by getting into my zen space rather than dodging equestrians.

My mind had been going around and around since last night, questioning everything about myself over a movie.

Let me back up.

Last night, we ended up watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” instead of  “Star Trek” and a Swedish noir mystery on our local MHz outlet. Its viewing has been a point of contention in our household since, oh, 1986. For some reason, Hubby loves that movie. Me? Nope. No way. Not with my love for international film. Epically dated bittersweet goo is usually not my cinematic thing.

But last night, the potent combination of a “Star Trek” episode that leaves me lukewarm at best and a “Beck” plot involving child prostitution was just too much.  Couple that with the news and I just could not watch. The need for simplicity, the nostalgia for a time that never really quite was overrode routine. I gritted my teeth and let the saga of George Bailey unfold.

I actually enjoyed it.

Maybe it’s the losses and crises endured this year both personally and in the larger world that made me wish more than once that I could find myself splitting a beer with Grandma* at her grey Formica kitchen table so I could benefit from her wisdom.

Maybe it’s the scene where George served as an air raid warden during World War II as did Gram.**

Maybe it’s a function of age. The first time I watched it was when I was a college freshman in a film studies class that fulfilled a humanities requirement. We’d watched classics from France, from Germany; we’d discussed themes and motifs. And then a postwar hanky-soaker? Really?

Really.

For the first time last night, I watched it from start to finish. I’d just watched it in bits and pieces with many scenes taken out of context. When the light and shadows get blended together, the story balances out, cutting its own swath through the sticky sweet parts.

And God/dess help me, I truly enjoyed it.

Yes, we could do without the subtle racism and sexism. However, we could all use an infusion of common decency right about now, a reminder that money isn’t everything, and that community and service never get old.

I felt a little better about the world, and hope that more people will follow the path of George and Mary in the upcoming year.

 

*Grandma was my maternal grandmother. She lived just a couple of miles from us. Her many words of wisdom included “Beer is a strengthening drink.”

**Gram was my paternal grandmother. The town she served as an elementary school teacher and air raid warden bore a close resemblance to Bedford Falls.

 

 

 

The Day As It Is Given

One more weather related cancellation or postponement and I will not be responsible for my behavior.

We had the post-Big Storm Big Thaw yesterday. Warmer temps melted the snow from last weekend’s dumping. That’s a good thing.

The bad thing: we had a pretty hard rain go through. Sheets, buckets, cats, dogs, and a few pocket pets thrown in for good measure. The ground is frozen nine inches down, so there’s nowhere for it to go. The runoff is regrouping in the form of seasonal ponds and black ice in inopportune areas. Nothing livens up your Friday like driving through standing water on black ice. 

After a week of rescheduling and postponements, I was ready to go out for a good walk with Oakley, then out to lunch with a couple of friends. Not so fast. The superintendent at the park was waving people away from the mirror-slick trail, and my road started freezing up again despite a salt truck driving as if in the Indy 500 trials to get the roads covered before the temps tank out again this afternoon. My road follows a hill, curves along a row of telephone poles, then goes straight along a creek .    

I’m erring on the side of caution. I would really like to get out, but what would I be driving into or on when I’m on the way home? I’ve spun out a few times and landed in a ditch. No, thanks. I don’t want to add landing in a creek to my driving resume. 

It’s a good day to practice acceptance. Again. I was able to get out and do some shopping yesterday, so we are set for the duration.  I forgot almond milk, but I will live. 

I have a variety of creative projects to work on, and will delight in the entertainment of “Prairie Home Companion” this evening likely followed by the rest of “Dances With Wolves.” I might even run the vacuum.

But I’m not that desperate yet.