Movie time!

I have on a beautiful movie, Le Château de Ma Mère, “My Mother’s Castle”, sequel to La Gloire de Mon Père, “My Father’s Glory” (which I watched last night).  These are made from the book of Marcel Pagnol about his childhood memories.  It has been years since I have seen them.   Good movies for adults and perhaps late teens.

These are very stylized, as they ought to be for (happy) childhood memories.  They are excellent period pieces.  My French is just good enough to follow them.  Happily the French is simple while poetic.  I will have to watch it again later without the subtitles.

There are some good exchanges between the atheistic world view and the Catholic. Also, in the scene at Christmas, Marcel’s father had a good exchange with Jules, the uncle by marriage who told them all that they had been with him at Midnight Mass.   They also had a table set with the “13 desserts”, which, apparently, are traditional for Christmas.  There is a good scene about l‘absinthe, an icon of the time, and illegal for decades in Europe.  I believe it still is in the USA.   And there is a rather detestable girl, sadly a victim of lousy parenting.

And there are lots of birds, and (in the first movie) the local priest who takes interest in them, including the mighty bartavelle!

The two movies develop how children move by stages from childish understanding and from fantasy to a sometimes sadder, and sometimes even happier, reality of human frailty and our foibles, with the result that they are at the same time sweet and bittersweet.  They are about how childhood experiences leave impressions that endure for a lifetime.  I find these movies quite charming, perhaps in part because they remind me of my own summers in Montana and Wyoming, terrain not unlike the garrigue of Provence.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Animadversor says:

    Actually, absinthe is legal in the United States (a story longer than it is interesting). When you are next in New York, you may obtain some at L’Absinthe Brasserie

  2. Kate says:

    Time Magazine had an article about absinthe being legal again (in the US) in November, 2007.

    My students tell me that the absinthe that’s sold in the US is not as good as the kind sold in Europe. Personally, I have not idea, but that’s what I’m told….

  3. Titus says:

    For many years, no, you could not buy actual absinthe, which is made with wormwood and anise. Now you can. Pour a small measure into a glass, then place a fork (or an absinthe spoon if one is at hand) on top of the glass, place a sugar cube on the fork, and pour water over the cube into the glass until the sugar dissolves. I’m afraid I have no way to know whether there are substantial differences between European recipes and those available in the States.

  4. alanphipps says:

    Yes, absinthe is now legal for import and sale within the United States, thanks to the efforts of chemist Ted Breaux and others. I have purchased Swiss absinthe here (La Clandestine), and it is very good :)

  5. cyejbv says:

    /’The two movies develop how children move by stages from childish understanding and from fantasy to a sometimes sadder, and sometimes even happier, reality of human frailty and our foibles, with the result that they are at the same time sweet and bittersweet.’/

    I like how you phrased this. I haven’t seen the movies; when I read what you wrote it made me think not so much about actual childhood, but of what it was like for me when I converted, what it is to grow as a ‘child’ of Holy Mother Church. “Becoming Catholic” started as childish understanding, and seriously ran (is running) the gamut of what you expressed. My eloquence has taken leave for the night, hopefully what I mean is clear. I think I might have to see these films! Though not with absinthe… my four years of French a hundred years ago has also taken leave. Thanks Father!

  6. lmgilbert says:

    We saw these movies with the children a number of years ago, and when my daughter took French we gave her the memoirs on which they were based. Delightful. This is truly family fare of the highest sort.

    There is another French movie with the same wonderful tone called “A Sunday in the Country.” We saw it probably 20-25 yrs ago and I don’t remember much about it except a few scenes.

    Another film of similar stripe is “Enchanted April.”

    All of these are very beautiful films, very human and worthwhile.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    These films sound very interesting. Thank you, Father. I think I will add them to my “Amazon Wish List”!

  8. Genna says:

    Beautiful films, Father.
    And for afters
    “Au revoir, les enfants”
    “Cinema Paradiso”
    and the decidedly grown-up
    “La vie et rien d’autre”
    The latter two starring the incomparable Philippe Noiret.

  9. JaneC says:

    Thank you for the movie suggestions, Father. I see that both are available from Netflix; I will add them to my queue!

  10. Gregory DiPippo says:

    In one of these two, the boy tries to explain microbes to his Provencal-speaking friend. “Qu’est que sont les ‘microbes’ ? Je pense que cette parole n’existe point en patois!”

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