poem of the day: Do You Know How to Lead a Life? by Ulrike Draesner [and a little Monday mood music, courtesy of Neil Young, Johnny Depp, and “Dead Man” by Jim Jarmusch]

Do You Know How to Lead a Life?

Ulrike Draesner

do you know how to lead a life?
does it have a nose-ring then, some ox
who lets you tweak its tail and trots
along with flies short hair and soft
its swimming eye? there, silver-salver
served and grey a lemon ring so
poignantly peeled it touches you because
you sense in it the tree and something like
a sun-field, an oral y – the tug as palate cells
contract. by the nose then or some book
in leather: ox? or maybe lemon marinade
they put in the lot where you think, where
pictures mix languages: lall. now take the fall it’s
painted all painted on as one (the two
is you) you take a tram (or change). there
just look how suddenly or
even crackingly you
play it

(a little Monday mood music, courtesy of Neil Young, Johnny Depp, and “Dead Man” by Jim Jarmusch [I chose the poem after the song, today]):


One to watch: Surveillance dir. Jennifer Lynch, prod. David Lynch

One to watch: Surveillance dir. Jennifer Lynch, prod. David Lynch

Great viewing, from the next generation of Lynch. It might be time for another yeltnuh Lynchfest. If you want to join me, bring popcorn and nibs. (Blue Velvet is still my favourite.)

Cover of "Blue Velvet (Special Edition)"

Cover of Blue Velvet (Special Edition)

My Afternoons with Margueritte

First, please take a look at the trailer, so my comments will seem less cryptic.

The studio’s description does a rather poor job of highlighting what is wonderful about this film, for it isn’t the situation or the events that make this story great, in my view. However, perhaps we in North America need the focus on ‘what the film is about’:

MY AFTERNOONS WITH MARGUERITTE is the uplifting story of one of those chance encounters that can radically change the course of someone’s life. Germain (Gérard Depardieu) is a large and almost illiterate man in his fifties. He is unmarried and still lives with his mother with whom he has a fractious relationship.

Margueritte is a tiny, elderly woman with a passion for the written word. There’s 40 years and 200 pounds’ difference between them and only one thing in common, a shared fondness for pigeons. When Germain happens to sit beside her on a park bench and Margueritte reads extracts from her novels to him, an unlikely and unexpected friendship develops. Under Margueritte’s tutelage, Germain discovers a love of literature and with it, a wisdom which confounds his friends at the bistro who have always treated him like an idiot. As Margueritte begins to lose her eyesight, Germain sees an opportunity to use his love for this sweet and mischievous grandma to improve both his own life and hers.

Français : Gérard Depardieu au festival de Cannes

Français : Gérard Depardieu au festival de Cannes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess I should admit that Depardieu is one of those actors whose work I am drawn to: even his weakest performance is generally better than the best work of others. He is like De Niro or Streep, to me: some of their most stunning work occurs with roles or scripts that seem slight.

In My Afternoons, a film that focuses on a very few events and characters, Depardieu conveys information with small gestures, with the changes of the character’s gaze, and with the silences between words. As a film about reading, such silences provide counterpoints to the novels Margueritte shares with Germain.

Even the quality of light and the emphasis on open spaces, highlighted by the darkness of enclosed spaces, contributes to the effect of reflection that results from reading.

Perhaps it’s because of my new way of watching movies (about 15 minutes at a time; not by choice), but I’m drawn to the small moment, the eyes that move away, the light that changes ever so slightly within a scene. If so, maybe that will be ok.