Sunday, November 25, 2007

French Literary Snobs, Princesses and Pumpkins

La Fleur à la Flore

Nov. 7, 2007. It was the epitome of the French hipster chic intellectual Parisian literary and media snob scene. Lanky girls with bangs and flowy dresses mixing funky music on stage as Gallic author/ modern-day dandy Frederic Beigbeder slammed prose by Proust and chic men and women smoking cigarettes, sipping champagne and snacking on mini croque-monsieurs shook their moves (or lack thereof) on the dance floor of the legendary hub of international intellectuals, the Café de Flore. This image is immortalized every year at the annual Prix de Flore, a French literary prize founded in 1994 which aims to reward young writers judged by a panel of prestigious writers and journalists. The nominated books must be written in French, but the author doesn’t have to be French (there’s hope for moi just yet!) The winner gets not only the respect of everyone in the room, but also a free glass of Pouilly-Fumé at the Café de Flore for all eternity (or at least until death do him or her part) and 6,100 euros. This year, Belgian author Amélie Nothomb took the coveted prize for her 16th novel in 16 years “Ni d’Eve, ni d’Adam” (in English: “Neither Eve nor Adam”) about a young woman in her early 20s who has a relationship with a young Japanese man. Justice was certainly served for the occasion – no, I haven’t actually read Nothomb’s book, but – literally – Justice was there! The Gallic electro house duo made a surprise appearance! Apparently they ARE our friends! (that was a reference to their hit club tune “We Are Your Friends” for all of you allergic to the club scene.) Journalist and writer Nicolas Rey told the crowd “I am a writer who doesn’t write, it’s better that way.” The lovely waiters of the Flore made sure that no champagne glass went unfilled the entire night (or mine at least!) and I think I may have broken the world record for most mini croque-monsieurs consumed in a 3-hour period. (Unfortunately, I get neither 6100 euros nor unlimited Pouilly-Fumé for such a feat.) But a good time was had by all (and by “all” I of course mean modern French literary talents and a few TV personalities sprinkled among the mostly Germanopratin crowd.) So “Neither Eve, nor Adam” were there, but it was definitely a sinful evening nonetheless.

Movie of the Week: ENCHANTED

An appropriate title for Disney’s latest cinematic voyage into the land of happily ever afters because I truly was “enchanted.”
The story is this: “Once Upon a Time…” (like the film’s French title “Il était une fois…) a princess who believes in true love and a perfect cookie cutter prince charming who really exists somewhere out there is banished to New York City by an evil queen and meets a real man. But can her storybox view of romance survive in the real world? I know what you’re thinking – Disney stole my life story and made a movie about it, right? Well I’m not aware of any evil queens (although a few French girls I know certainly fit that description), that’s pretty much the situation over here in a nutshell (no this is the situation over here in a nutshell – help, I’m in a nutshell. How did I get in this nutshell? What a shell for a nut! Apologies for the poor Austin Powers reference). The princess who believes in true love (me of course.) …the perfect cookie cutter prince charming (haven’t quite cast this one in the giant film of my life but I’m thinking along the lines of Louis Garrel or Andy Gillet – thoughts?)…the real man (well of course there aren’t any of THOSE in Paris, France and Dr McDreamy is already taken in the Disney version so that leave limited options here)…and the big city (Paris) filled with cynical people (Parisians) who don’t believe in the power of true love. But enough about me…”Enchanted” is enchanting. It’s all the magic of Walt Disney catapulted into modern day New York. There are singing forest creatures, wicked witches, prince charmings on horseback and poisonous apples but in this version, there are also rats and cockroaches, bitchy businesswomen, divorce lawyers and pizza. Amy Adams plays the naïve Giselle whose whiny voice finds a perfect home in Disney animation and Patrick “Dr. McDreamy” Dempsey her knight in shining…divorce lawyer armor. The story is completely implausible and ridiculous – be prepared to evoke those wild imaginations of yours – but also absolutely enjoyable and entertaining as well. It’s a film for children – Disney movies were all so scary when I was young, but this film definitely earns its PG rating – and for parents (and any childless adults lucky enough to have an excuse to go and see it such as yours truly). The humor is simple and unpretentious, yet also subtle and witty at the same time. It’s a movie for every princess who still believes her prince charming is out there somewhere- even if, as Giselle discovers, he may not necessarily be the perfect cookie cutter, sword-bearing knight on horseback she’s envisioned since childhood. After seeing so many important yet disconcerting films about the war in Iraq this season, thank you Disney for reminding me of the power of true love and happily ever afters.

While we're on the topic of princesses and pumpkins...


Roast turkey. Gravy. Stuffing. (Three different kinds of) sweet potatoes. Corn Bread. Cranberry sauce. Broccolini. Asparagus and beets. Butternut squash soup with toasted pecans and gruyere. Cranberry bread. Pumpkin seed bread. Pumpkin cake. Pumpkin pie. Pecan pie. Apple crisp. Toffee cake. Whipped cream. All topped off by my entire extended family. Vive les pilgrims!

Quote of the day:
“To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write.”
-Gertrude Stein

1 comment:

Parisian Cowboy said...

Hey, that's a nice blog here :) I like the quote.

Ciao bella.