Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reading and Watching in the Slow Days of Winter

By nature I am a contemplative woman. My best days are spent reading or viewing a thought-provoking film. For me, character development, a theme that resonates or poses an interesting question and a setting that is created with the fine strokes of an artist are the elements that I seek in a book, film or play.

This week, I discovered a film Cycling with Molière (Alceste à bicyclette) on Netflix. Set in Île de Ré, a rainy holiday town in France, the film is a character study of two actors rehearsing Le Misanthrope while actually playing out the roles in their real-life interactions. The premise is that the two actors will take turns playing the lead role, Alceste the Misanthrope and the supporting role of Philinthe, the more optimistic friend. You need not have read Le Misanthrope to appreciate how this alternation is reflected in the off-stage antics of the characters. However, if you have studied French Language and Literature, you will find Fabrice Lucchini hilarious as he tries to explain the alexandrine to his colleague, a star of daytime television (played by Lambert Wilson). I wasn't able to find the alexandrine scene on Youtube but this rehearsal scene brought tears of laughter to my eyes. For those who need to be transported to France, this is a film that can be watched over and over.


Yesterday, I came across an interesting quotation from an article about Caroline Heilbrun, an exceptional academic, feminist, philosopher and novelist. I was first introduced to Heilbrun's writings
through her mystery novels written under the pseudonym of Amanda Cross. I have just purchased Heilbrun's The Last Gift of Time, a work that discusses life in the seventh decade. 


Women, I believe, search for fellow beings who have faced similar struggles, conveyed them in ways a reader can transform into her own life, confirmed desires the reader had hardly acknowledge--desires that now seem possible. Women catch courage from the women whose lives and writings they read, and women call the bearer of that courage friend. [p. 138]” 
― Carolyn G. HeilbrunThe Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty

After posting yesterday's blog about the connection between blogger and reader, I came across this quote which expresses so elegantly what I have come to believe in my own life.

Funny, I feel like I have been lazy when I spend days in reflection. I must have a closet to clean or
laundry to fold. What do you do or not do during the slow days of winter? Is contemplation one of your "guilty pleasures"?

2 comments:

  1. I'm very fortunate in having my knitting as a way to cover my contemplation with activity. . . .as if one needed to do that . . .
    My friend Alison, who taught painting on Ile de Ré last summer to a small group of French women, lent us her copy of Cycling with Molière and we enjoyed it very much. . .

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  2. Your contemplation seems to be very productive with all the gifts that you created and the almost finished rainbow pants. The old Shetland people used to have knitting belts so that they could take their knitting wherever they went.

    I am thinking about joining the French centre that is off Granville because it has a library of French books and films. Have you tried the restaurant Salade des Fruits at the centre?

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