I saw my first foreign film and appropriately, my first French film, when I was in Junior High. Those were the days before Flixter, Rotten Tomatoes and movie trailers on the web. Instead, we relied upon the very short “blurb” about the movie under showtimes. This nostalgic piece of information is mentioned to explain how my sister, my cousin and I found ourselves sitting in a dark theatre, looking at each other bewildered when we read on the screen the title “Un Homme Et Une Femme”. We expected a romance called “One Man and One Woman.” I’m sure the more serious film enthusiasts sitting there became a little disturbed when they heard an eruption of dismayed laughter. However, it didn’t take long for the three of us to slip into a sedated stupor and nearly needed to be awakened when it was over.
I have progressed since that first show and have read subtitles from various films but none have been as memorable. Anyways, last week I watched another French foreign film but this time I stayed alert and even chuckled at the right time. It was the story of Amelie who was reared as a recluse with two very eccentric parents whose mom eventually dies leaving her with a father who barely acknowledges her. Once she leaves him and begins working, she has an experience that reveals to her that she needs to “get involved” in other people’s lives helping them. However, she doesn’t ever show herself and remains reclusive. Eventually, she learns that she must take a risk in relationships in order to live fully.
What I will remember the most from this film is when Amelie steals a large yard gnome from her father’s yard and begins sending her dad postcards of the gnome in various countries. Eventually, it convinces her father that he too should take a risk and follow his great desire to travel.
I don’t have a large gnome that travelled around the world, but during my past two trips, a small beanie animal who was once called Trouble but has been renamed Tango, surprised me by popping out of my purse on the airplane. Okay, I admit it, I am the one who put him there, but do my grandchildren have to know that?