Sunday, 13 February 2011


“Who, being loved, is poor?” - Oscar Wilde

Happy Valentines’ Day!

If you are into celebrating it, that is… Nearly everyone I know is not impressed with this observance and it seems that the older one gets, the more crotchety about poor old Valentine one is. It must say something about my immediate circle, mustn’t it? Well, even to me Valentines’s Day does reek of pubescent exuberance or fumbling attempts at romance by jejune first time lovers. It was disconcerting on the train to see scores of young women in their late teens and early twenties carrying sad and wilting flowers – single red roses were popular – dutifully delivered to their workplace by the obligatory boyfriend. They were being carried like precious booty, the spoils of some battle won. A pyrrhic victory, perhaps…

To me Valentines’ Day is every day. If two people love each other there are a multitude of ways to demonstrate it to each other every moment. An unexpected hand-written note, a gentle caress, a phone call for no reason, a gift on no occasion, an email just to say ‘I care about you’. A shoulder to lean on or to cry on, as is needed. A hug, a shared laugh, a reliance on each other. An ally in difficult times, a friend to share all the good times with. Someone to rejoice with when things all go right and to feel that you can share all with, the good and the bad.

We watched a couple of movies at the weekend, but I’ll choose something apt for the day, although it is apt in an offbeat kind of way. It was a French movie starring the irrepressible Gérard Depardieu and the gorgeous Cécile de France. That’s as French as you can get, I guess! It was the 2006 movie “Quand j’ Étais Chanteur” (“The Singer”), written and directed by Xavier Giannoli. For lovers of French croon-tunes, this is the movie for you! It is an offbeat romantic comedy of the Winter/Spring variety. He is old and experienced; she is young and vulnerable, he is love with her, she sees him with fascination; he is prepared to do everything for her, she vacillates. It’s more romantic than comedic, perhaps even quite tragic…

Gérard Depardieu plays Alain Moreau, an ageing “has-been” singer, who still sings for his supper in a dance hall, where the more second rate champagne that is sold the more commission he gets. He is managed by an old flame of his Michèle (charmingly played by the winsome Christine Citti), who although still in love with him is getting ready to marry his best friend, Bruno. Marion, a young seemingly unattached woman comes into Alain’s life one night, at Alain’s dance hall. They end up sleeping with each other, but Marion abandons him in the morning, deeply embarrassed. He is hurt and tries to win her, while all the while trying to deal with his insecurities, his growing loneliness, his awareness of his middle age, his fading singing popularity, his failing voice.

It is a charming little film, not great, not earth-shaking, with no surprises, and yet it is quite honest and frank and deals with its subject matter with sensitivity. It’s a quiet, easy-going film that will please most people of my vintage who have a little romantic bone in them, even though they may think that single red Valentine roses are a little jejune…

Depardieu sings quite a lot of French hit songs, with a smattering of Spanish and Italian ones thrown in for good measure. However, there is one song, which is of special significance to him as he discovers the depths of his feelings for Marion, but which he doesn’t sing. Instead, he plays it on an old jukebox that he has in home (he also has a little pet goat that runs around the lounge room, but I won’t dwell on that!). The song is Bobby Solo’s “Una Lacrima Sul Viso” - here is that song:

Da una lacrima sul viso
Ho capito molte cose
Dopo tanti tanti mesi ora so
Cosa sono per te.
Uno sguardo e un sorriso
M’ han svelato il tuo segreto
Che sei stata innamorata di me
Ed ancora I lo sei…

From a teardrop on your face
I understood so much;
After so many months, only now do I know
What I mean to you.
A glance and a smile
Revealed your secret to me:
That you were in love with me
And now I know it…

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll put it on my list.
    Lovely old song!