Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Weekend in France: Movies

Picture this: It's the weekend, and the wet fog is rolling in.  You need an escape, but where can you go with limited funds before payday, and no time to find a dogsitter for the beloved pup? Put on your comfy clothes, claim your favorite spot on the couch, turn on the television, and go to France! 

First you will need to stock the cupboards with the essentials. Popcorn and bubbly, and if the pocket book allows - go Champagne. If the pocket book doesn't allow then go for a bottle of Cremant (a bubbly from France), or Spanish Cavas are also wonderful and affordable bubbles. 

Now get to poppin' that corn. Uh-uh-uh... what are you doing? Don't put that popcorn in that cheap ol' plastic bowl. Pull out that expensive crystal bowl that's collecting dust and use it! If you don't use it, someone else will. Don't let it get sold at your estate sale for someone else to enjoy - - and possibly break. It's for you to enjoy. 



Do the voo-doo that you typically do on your popcorn - just be sure to be authentic - use real butter or "truffle" oil, and not the fake stuff made out of chemicals. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese, and your favorite herbs. And speaking of  "pop" - - it's time to pop the bubbly. 

Now what movie to watch? There are many movies with French, and especially Paris themes, so the French weekend theme is endless. My personal recommendations give you a variety: from the sweet and childlike, some history, revolutions to love, and even a little bit of fantasy. They are all guaranteed to take you away... 

A Good Year (2006) A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. The movie is  based on the 2004 novel by one of my favorite writers,  Peter Mayle (See: Introduce Yourself to Peter Mayle)

A Little Chaos (2014) The year is 1682, and somewhat of a "historical" fiction. The French King of Kings, Louis XIV is putting the finishing touches on his gardens of Versailles, his royal chateau outside Paris. He makes an unusual decision and hires a woman to create the lavish gardens. If you are a fan of actor Alan Rickman, as much as I am, this is a tribute to his directing and acting (King Louis), as it was one of the last films he did before he died.


A Little Chaos
Amelie (2010) A quirky yet rather naive young waitress, with a rich imagination, gets her kicks by doing acts of kindness for others. The movie is shot in over 80 Parisian locations

Chocolat (2000) Might I recommend you have a lot of chocolate on hand while watching this movie - - you're going to need it. It's a sweet story about a young mother who arrives at the fictional, and rather repressed little French village, and opens a chocolate shop during Lent.  And speaking of candy, Johnny Depp provides the eye candy. 


Chocolat
GiGi (1958)  This movie brings me fond memories as I watched it one Sunday afternoon with my mother at a very grand old theater. I didn't necessarily understand the theme of the movie, but I loved the music ("The Night They Invented Champagne"). It's about a turn-of-the-century Parisian "tomboy" acting young woman who falls for her guardian while being groomed as a "courtesan" - in another words a prostitute with a rather wealthy and courtly clientele.  

Jefferson in Paris (1995)  This historical and somewhat fictional film is a glimpse of life during the pre-revolutionary period in France. It shows the absurdities of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who were simply out of touch with ordinary people, and why the people demanded change. In the mean time, our Ambassador to France, American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and third United States President Thomas Jefferson was a first hand witness. 

Julie and Julia (2009) the story of Julia Child and blogger, Julie Powell. Fearlessness, the love of cooking, and butter rules in their individual memoirs; and their lives intertwined though separated by time and space.  Most of the movie is set in New York, however there are many adventures about Julia in France. 


Julie and Julia
Marie Antoinette (2006) The retelling of France's iconic but ill-fated queen as she matures from a teenage bride to a young woman and eventual queen of France. The movie is opulent from the backdrops to the costumes, but I don't have to tell you how it ended. Guillotine! Guillotine! 

Midnight in Paris (2011) When a Hollywood screenwriter vacations in Paris with his fiancee’s  family, he finds himself traveling back in time to the 1920's at the stroke of midnight, where he meets some of the greatest artists of that decade. What writer wouldn't want to have a drink with Hemingway? If you enjoy Woody Allen's writing and directing, sans his acting, you will particularly like this movie. 


Midnight in Paris
The Triplets of Belleville (2003) It's an animated musical that tells the story of a grandmother on a mission to rescue her cyclist grandson who is kidnapped during the Tour de France. The "famous" singing Belleville sister-act gets involved and eventually saves the day. It's quite charming, and even the toughest of film critics applauded this adventure. 


Whether you are alone or enjoy your "visit" to France with friends, this event is what I would refer to as the simple "trimmings" for an elegant life - Passementaries






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