Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two Favorite Movies + Two Days In Paris = Just About As Perfect As Life Gets

Last week was crazy busy, and then put some major league migraines on top of all of it, and, well, I think I have an excuse for not blogging as much as I should. There, I said it, now let's move on.

Anyone who knows me knows that two of my favorite movies of all time are Amélie and Once. Amélie came out way back in 2001, and never before had a movie captured my idealized memories of Paris better. That movie is how life should be, in Paris and everywhere else. And that Audrey Tautou is just so cute. And Once came out in 2007. Steve and I saw it on our anniversary that year and, although it's filmed in Dublin, it took me right back to the time we spent living in London. Like Amélie, it just felt really authentic to my memories of my time in the UK. Once is at the same time thrilling, joyful, heartbreaking; a lot like life.

These are two of the like four films I actually own, because I am not a fan of owning movies. I feel like they get overwatched that way, and I'm not keen on collecting a bunch of stuff. But these two I had to own. I just had to know that at any given moment I could drop anything and watch them. It's like having two good friends sitting on your shelf for you to hang out with whenever you want. If you haven't seen one or both of these movies a) I feel sorry for you, and b) what are you doing sitting around reading blogs on the internet? Get in your car, go to the nearest Blockbuster, and RENT THEM NOW!

So, as you can imagine, I was pretty excited to learn that Audrey Tautou was going to be in a production of Ibsen's A Doll's House (or Maison de Poupée in French) in Paris. A bunch of the students wanted to go, so we got tickets. I was well aware the whole thing would be in French, and that along with the fact that I had a migraine the day of the performance arrived, made me think about bailing at the last moment. But I pushed myself, because I knew I would regret it if I didn't, and went. And I am so glad I did. Audrey Tautou was exactly what I thought she would be, charming, funny, and energetic, even in a heavy play like A Doll's House. I have never wished I understood French more because I could tell I was missing out on a ton of the subtext by not compreneding the language, but it was still totally worth the time. And the pain. I just wish I had photos, the costumes were amazing and the makeup and lighting was all very film noir, so it felt almost like watching a silent film from the 20's (might as well have been slient with as much as I understood). It was exactly what I would have expected from French theater. Amazing.

About a week earlier a new friend of mine, Leslie, emailed me to say she and her husband were going to a concert with this band who did the movie Once, who were now in a band called The Swell Season and had I heard of them. After peeling myself off the ceiling, I wrote her back and said "Uh, YEAH!" and then went to get tickets. The first place we stopped was sold out, but we were victorious at the second, and got two of the last five seats. Lucky, lucky us. Actually, lucky Glen Hansard and Markéta Iglovà because had I not gotten into the concert I probably would have been haunting the streets of Paris looking for them. It was amazing. Glen Hansard got sounds out of an acoustic guitar I've never heard before, and seems to be exactly the same in person as he is in the movie (which isn't saying too much about his acting, I suppose). Okay, I cried a little, but I seriously think the scene when the two of them sing Falling Slowly is one of the most perfect movie moments ever. And I made Steve take some video of the song during the concert. Not the best footage ever, but you get the point.

So, I'm still feeling pretty lucky that I had these two amazing opportunities, one right after another, over just two little days in Paris.

The opening act for The Swell Season was an American (from Boise to be exact) folk singer named
Josh Ritter (Janell loves him). He was downright amazing too, and he had the biggest, toothiest smile I've seen since I left the states. You could just feel how thrilled he was to be there. At the end of his set he thanked Glen Hansard for inviting him on the tour and talked about how much he was enjoying traveling through Europe and said "This is just about as perfect as life gets."

I have to agree.


Cha Cha Snow said...

So. Jealous.

Chelsea Jane said...

I am so glad you made it to the play! It was a blast, definitely an experience not to be missed. Thank you so much for coordinating all of that!

Janell said...

Okay, so I am seriously jealous that you saw Josh Ritter in Paris. He is the nicest guy ever. He is actually from Moscow Idaho and he has a new album coming out soon. Can't wait!

Bart said...

the swell season & josh ritter?! im so jealous