Sunday, June 11, 2006

Still and moving pictures


Just read a post on Rebecca's blog that reminded me of something I forgot to mention.

I visited Christie's last Friday - they had a bucketload of things on view, and I saw part of the plate books and cartography sale. There is a heavy 19th century Orientalism theme going on between the three big auction houses this month!

Anyway, at Christie's I saw some charming pieces from Princess Margaret's collection. To think: one could own Queen Mary's dainty little dressing table with fold-out leaves, with her coroneted monogram stamped in gold upon a corner of the leather surface - for a catalogue price of GBP 1500-2000. I wonder how far the competition will drive that up, though.

I spotted a charming painting of two girls in stylized shepherdess dress sitting by a cottage garden wall. Their names were Olivia and Sophia. One of my first girl friends in Texas was called Sophia.

There was also a painting called
Making Friends, depicting a country girl of about 7 or 8 years old reclining in the grass, surrounded by curious rabbits standing to inspect her, or straining forwards to take a sniff. They were silently communing, little human and bunnies. I identified with every facet of the scene, and what's more, the little girl looked just like I did at that age.

Don't ask me how I end up here or there in London...a little later that afternoon I found myself in Sotheby's catching the tail end of their Orientalist sale.

Sotheby's and Bonhams really should not be on the same street, and both waving blue banners...because I meant to go to Bonhams...



I watched
A Very Long Engagement with Audrey Tautou, same director as Amelie. Even the smushy-mouthed lurker from the cafe in Amelie played her uncle in Engagement. His growing a beard in this movie hardly rescued him. When he grows old, he will lose his teeth and suck his gums.

Anyway, it is an utterly charming and touching film. I tried to watch it in French with French subtitles, but no go. You could get English subtitles for the hearing impaired, but not French.....*sigh*

Anyone notice Jodie Foster was in it? At school we read a French teen magazine called Copains that published an interview in which Jodie said she went to a Francophone school, so she's fluent. I had never seen her speak it before, and I couldn't help but notice she sounded more feminine en francais.

The director is distinctive. Just as in
Amelie, he tells many incidental stories at the beginning, and ties them into the main. Some are necessary, some are superfluous, but none would you want to cut. And just like Amelie, Mathilde is a flawed, quirky orphan. She measures life in her own way: If I reach the corner before the car, Malech is alive. If I can count to seven and the conductor asks for the tickets before we reach the tunnel, Malech is alive. If the dog comes into the room before dinnertime, Malech is alive.

It was the last scene, though, which made me nearly cry:

Dans la douceur de l'air,
Dans la lumiere du jardin,
Elle le regarde...
Elle le regarde...
Elle le regarde...


Steliano Ponticos said...

i love paintings with a story, like the making friends one you mentioned, what are those called olive. Haha doesn't the lurker from Amelie look so french I mean this guy they could put his face on the flag of france loool

StarCorner said...

A Very Long Engagement has to be one of my top three favourite films!

Olivia said...

Gosh Steli, I can't think what...shouldn't write comment when I am falling asleep I guess.

No by Jove, that fellow's so ugly, it would put everyone off France!

Well Hello Starcorner, what are you not doing on 20six or 27?
And the others in your Top Thrree are.......?

Nite nite all...

lunaliar said...

Oh my God! Audrey Tatou is my favorite actress and A Very Long Engagement was my first Netflix hold out! I watched it like 5 times in one week and cried every time... after which Dave laughed at me hysterically.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I have been wanting to see this movie. one day, I will.
Jodie Foster speaks French - I would have never guessed.


Olivia said...

Luna - you softie!

Vanesse - Funny you never heard mention of it in all your years.