While reading Amber’s post, I realized though I wasn’t sick sick, I pretty much had all her symptoms. I was down with a sense of general malaise brought on by the interminable holiday season and aggravated by songs about snowmen and sleigh bells while outside temperatures hit 30ºC.
In this grinchy state I retreated and hunkered behind a fortress of DVDs and downloaded TV shows, hoping when I emerged, that the city will have rid itself of icicle lights and reset to normal. And nothing takes me out of myself more than reveling in the drawn-out restlessness, awkward life transitions, and militantly anti-fairytale endings of French cinema (France simply has the market cornered, period).
Below are some gems I had the pleasure of watching over the holidays.
Tomboy. Where else can we be privy to what happens when a little girl decides she’s going to pass herself off as a little boy? Here’s a poignant look at that moment when gender and identity start elbowing everything else out of the way. (If you prefer seeing what happens when a young boy decides he’s going to be a girl, check out the equally touching, Philippine-made The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros).
Beau-père (The Stepfather). Of course there’s the classic tale of forbidden love: a 14-year old girl falls head over heels with her 30-year old stepfather and, needless to say, lines are crossed, taboos breached. Plus, anything with Patrick Dewaere in it is certainly worth watching.
Mon fils à moi (My Son). The brutal and suffocating power of obsession cloaked in maternal love. The quiet horror lies in the mother’s manipulation of the most banal circumstances—a soccer match, a piano lesson, a plate of uneaten dinner.
Cinema out-angsts our angst, sees it and raises it to heights unimaginable. And we as spectators are permitted to cross boundaries and dip our toes in the unspeakable as well as the sublime, while remaining safely tucked under the covers.
Thank goodness for movies.