Here is the script I intend to send to the 20th Century Fox to challenge Baz Luhrmann's Christmas epic blockbuster: Australia.
A beautiful american school teacher, Claire Ashley (Charlize Theron) flies to Botswana in the mid-eighties to take on her new position in a remote rural school. She is stubborn and passionate, and eager to break from the narrow-minded codes of the zealously religious society she was born in. At the start of the movie, she breaks up with her fiancé (Ralph Fiennes) and tells her mother (Kim Basinger) to go to hell with her bibles and empty preachings. Her father (Robert Redford) is devastated but still gives her his blessing when she leaves.
Once in Botswana, Claire becomes gradually aware of the swamp she put her feet in. The standards of living are so low comparing to her native Alabama that she first thinks about going back there. But soon she meets reverend Parry (Wesley Snipes), a local boy grown into an educated man with refined manners and a perfect command of English. He makes her discover the hidden face of Botswana, with its beautiful landscapes and cheerful inhabitants.
A romance grows between the two and they have sex in the village church. But young school master Eddy Barnes (Steven Waddington ), who got infatuated with Claire, overhears their after-sex conversation.
Jealousy takes the better of Barnes as he can't help spreading out the gossip of their forbidden relationship, while digging into the clergyman's past to find out he got married seven times and had multiple dry-sex intercourses off-marriage. This means he may have caught HIV and then passed it on Claire.
One night, aware of the growing blasphemous rumours, Parry gives Claire his confession about his tempestuous past, but it's too late and the damage is done. A blood test confirms that both Claire and Parry are HIV-positive and worse than that, Claire is now expecting a child who also is in danger of contracting AIDS. She now has to face a couple of dilemnas: can she afford to carry on amazingly good unprotected sex with Parry, bearing in mind that she may let different and potentially more active HIV stem cells enter her body? Can she give birth to a child who is almost certain to die before his sixteenth birthday?
She goes for the romantic choice and pays the price for it. Parry dies in her arms from multiple opportunist infections and she flies back to America with her new-born daughter, wondering whether she will get the support she needs from her family and friends.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Here is the script I intend to send to the 20th Century Fox to challenge Baz Luhrmann's Christmas epic blockbuster: Australia.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I like racial and cultural clichés. I like them a lot. Clichés make the world an easier place to live in and a more funny one as well. Clichés find simple words for simple souls and that's why we use them. Clichés allow us to travel without leaving our beds and living-rooms and that's why we love them. Clichés claim to be partly true and that's why they're so hard to break.
Now here is a list of common and less-common clichés I thought about this morning while drinking my 11 AM coffee. For clarity's sake, I ranked them in descending order on a scale ranging from definitely true to grossly false.
1. Chinese people are fluorescent. Yes they are. Their body temperature is higher than everyone else and that makes them shine in the dark. That's why Shanghaï at night looks like a firefly city which would be so easy to bomb in the event of World War 3.
2. Black men have a HUGE cock. Possibly. At least, that's what a couple of girls I used to hang around with told me. But is it that their dick is truly bigger or is it a matter of quality of erection? Do black people get stimulated more easily than their white counterparts? Nothing really serious has ever been said or written on the subject, so it's still an open case.
3. Muslim women fake orgasm. Probably, but one can never be sure with women. Has it anything to do with Allah or the patriarchal society they live in? The famous Muslim World expert Nouredine Al Kajil, when asked on Al Jazeera, said he'll need to have a few words with his wife before answering. He did, and then he declared: نجاح المبادرة العربية مرهون بالاعتراف بإسرائيل. محللون هنود: الاعتقالات الباكستان
4. English people drink too much beer. Debatable. They do absorb in large amounts a liquid called beer, but do they really drink it? I would rather suggest they swallow it or soak it up, engulf it maybe, but I'm pretty sure they don't drink it, since drinking presupposes the existence of taste buds in the mouth, which they got deprived of due to evolution.
5. French people are filthy, like French streets and French dogs. Honestly that's a myth. I don't know about dogs, but when it comes to people I would bet that the Gypsies, Irakis and Rumanians I see day after day begging or playing music on the tube stink more than I do. And poverty can't always explain everything, can it?
6. The Germans are perfectionnist. That's rubbish. They can't finish what they start. Schubert left lieder and symphonies in the lurch, Sebastian Stelzer always gives up writing after two pages, Europe is free, the Jews are safe and die soziale Marktwirtschaft hasn't made it to the 21th century.
PS: if you are to leave a comment, please don't go for the pathetic trendy self-righteous statement like "Clichés are stupid and blind, we must learn about other cultures by leaving our prejudices behind and really dig deep into eachother's ground to see the beauty of diversity". Anything else than that will be fine, including verbal abuse and death threats.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The rue de Vaugirard is the longest street in Paris, which would make it the smallest one in L.A. Los Angeles is too big anyway but this is not my point. My point is: this is a very long street and one of the streets I often take when I walk the asphalt world. What I've written so far is very interesting. What I'm about to write now is even more interesting.
One of the problems you may have when you walk in the middle of a street is that you can end up face to face with a car and die. That's why people use the sidewalks while drivers drive on the road. But a sidewalk is far from being annoyance-free. First you get dog shits, then you get other people. And I can assure you: of the two, I prefer dog shits.
I was peacefully walking this morning on the left sidewalk of the rue de Vaugirard when I was forced to cross over to the other side of the street because stupid teenagers had gathered for stupid reasons and blocked the way. I peacefully walked on for a couple of minutes on the right sidewalk when this guy with a tie, a suit and a mobile phone drew level with me and kept walking next to me exactly at the same pace. His conversation drove me mad: meetings, appointments, bookings, computer programs etc... I had a song in my head and this fat & ugly short-haired prick made me lose my groove. So I crossed over once more.
I thought that was it. But that wasn't. The left sidewalk was blocked again by a moving van. I had no choice but going back to the right sidewalk, which the fat & ugly guy was still polluting with his horrible business talk. I geared up and went past him. But in my hurry I bumped into a woman. She looked at me with a slight air of reproach. I said "sorry", she mumbled something and moved on. And just when I thought I was in for a little break, a hippie-looking moron came to me and asked for a cigarette. That was more than I could take and I crossed over one last time.
I failed to watch the road and a girl on a bicycle crashed in a parked car trying to avoid me. She looked in pain but I was happy. Someone had made my day at last on this fucking sidewalks.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I don't remember well any of my birthdays, especially the first one, at the clinic. I probably had blood all over my head and everyone was happy but me since I didn't know the people around, which is a shame for a birthday.
Still, there's one birthday I remember more than the others, even if I can't recall which year that was. I was probably 8 or 9 and my mother took me and twelve other kids to a movie. It was Walt Disney's Robin Hood and the cinema was so crowded that we all had so sit on our knees just in front of the screen. We got blind and then we got home and played board games, until their mums and dads came and picked them up one after the other. I found it very sad everytime one of them had to leave and I spent most of the evening crying.
It's a big blank after that, even if I do remember 1987. I got my teddy bear Pounouf that year. A simple birthday party at my grandparents' flat, with my father and my aunt. Back in 1987, I still received gifts which looked like gifts. Computer games for instance. Since I graduated from school and started building myself a false reputation of an intellectual guy, I just get books, books and books.
Do people know we're still playing XBox 360 games at my age? Do people know I'm desperate for good eastern porn? Do people know how boring it is to read Paul Claudel's early novels? I wish I was my brother. He doesn't get this kind of crap. He gets digital cameras, TV sets, DVD players. Then he breaks them and he gets other ones for replacement the next year. The world is unfair, isn't it?
But since today is my birthday, I'd like to wish myself a happy birthday and a long and happy life. I wish me luck for this blog, which I started out of boredom and which I continue out of pride. This little blog is my toy, it's my birthday present and I will keep writing it even if I have nothing in store. Like good old Damon Albarn once sang, "all is said and all is done but what was said was never done" so it may be time to do it.
Anyway, happy birthday all. I don't know when you were born and I don't give a shit. I hardly remember names, let alone dates. But I promise to work on that.
Friday, December 5, 2008
It's just one of these days when I wake up at 10, masturbate in bed, jerk off in the brand new sheets I put the night before and light myself a cigarette, thinking once again about becoming a priest. And then I get to my computer and I turn it on. I put Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte in the stereo and I make myself an instant coffee. By the time the coffee's ready, which is not a long time, I've already smoked a second cigarette.
I really should learn Italian is my second thought of the day. That's for one and only reason: the italian word for "prostitute" is "la mignotta" and I find it top class, since "mignonne" in French means "cute" even if there's actually no connection between the two lexemes.
My curtains are closed but it's alright. I already know what there is to be seen outside. A rainy day in Paris, Christmas decorations hanging around the street lights and the grocery shop opposite my building opening its doors. Too early to get a beer, plus I don't drink a lot in Paris.
My curtains are closed but the big world's wide open. Mozilla Firefox delivers the news, it provides me with words and music, shapes and colours, fast culture and casual nonsense. This makes me think of a student of mine, a little blond fellow who told me he hated school and wanted to stay home all day. I asked him how he would meet friends and girls then, he answered me: "on Facebook."
On MUTV, Sir Alex gives an interview. He really feels his team has a chance to keep their Champions League trophy this season. Does he know I had this dream about Man Utd and Owen Hargreaves was playing up front along with Ji Sun Park? No he doesn't because when it comes to football, he delivers the dream and I buy it. A stupid remainder of my childhood when I used to be depressed every time my team lost.
Opera can be boring at times. The recitative parts mostly. But with Mozart it's different. It's always different with Mozart. Surfing on the Internet is different with Mozart. Checking my mails is different with Mozart. I wish there would be music in the streets, in the shops, in the tube and it would be Mozart all day. Even Pinkie would take the tube then, I'm sure.
Most of my friends are at work, and I'm not. I wonder whether they have plans for this week-end. I have none, and that's fine. I will try to work on my book and smoke a bit less than today. Be it saturday, sunday or monday, it's just another day on Earth, with its cars rolling, people walking and children smiling. Modern life is rubbish and I'm alright with that.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
When there's room for one, there's room for two. W.H. Auden will share a bed in this gentle blog with fellow british writer Alan Sillitoe. As Auden was homosexual, that's an idea he probably wouldn't find too hard to accept.
Working all day at a lathe leaves Arthur Seaton with energy to spare in the evenings. A hard-drinking, hard-fighting young rebel of a man, he knows what he wants and he's sharp enough to get it. And before long, his carryings-on with a couple of married women are part of local gossip. But then one evening he meets a young girl in a pub, and Arthur's life begins to look less simple.
Here is the last paragraph of Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, a classic novel of the 1950's, as well as a testimony of English self-consciousness at its best.
"And trouble for me it will be, fighting every day until I die. Why do they make soldiers out of us when we're fighting up to the hilt as it is? Fighting with mothers and wives, landlords and gaffers, coppers, army, government. If it's not one thing it's another, apart from the work we have to do and the way we spend our wages. There's bound to be trouble in store for me every day of my life, because trouble it's always been and always will be.
Born drunk and married blind, misbegotten into a strange and crazy world, dragged-up through the dole and into the war with a gas-mask on your clock, and the sirens rattling into you every night while you rot with scabies in an air-raid shelter. Slung into khaki at eighteen, and when they let you out, you sweat again in a factory, grabbing for an extra pint, doing women at the week-end and getting to know whose husbands are on the nightshift, working with rotten guts and a aching spine, and nothing for it but money to drag you back there every Monday morning.
Well, it's a good life and a good world, all said and done, if you don't weaken, and if you know that the big wide world hasn't heard from you yet, no, not by a long way, though it won't be long now."
I've been a little bit harshed on England lately, and I want to redeem myself with this post, where my usual yacking will make way for W.H. Auden's lordly eloquence.
I pay so much respect to the man that I decided I wouldn't go for the obvious Internet copy and paste. I take my Oxford Anthology of English Poetry on my knees, and I will now type every word of this long and wonderful poem.
Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.
Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.
In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew;
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.
The consul banged the table and said:
"If you've got no passport you're officially dead";
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.
Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go today, my dear, but where shall we go today?
Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread";
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.
Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying: "They must die";
We were in his mind, my dear, we were in his mind.
Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.
Went down to the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.
Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.
Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors;
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.
Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I was back in Paris the other night and I met my German friend Bongo and his better half for 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 drinks in a cosy pub of the Latin Quarter. We were discussing many things as we've always done since we met in Kettering last year, but every twenty minutes we found ourselves talking about England again.
His girlfriend spotted it and asked us to stop this madness. "You two are like writing a song when you talk. Your verses are really good but your chorus is boring." The chorus was when we talked about England of course.
She may have been right, for what was left to say about it?
I suggested to bomb it as usual and he came with a better option: "If all the migrants go to the UK, then the island would be overcrowded and eventually sink." That would be the end of the white trash and Ken Loach could continue his filming of the drinking class under water.
But we both felt it was unfair for the Indians and the Pakistani who live there.
Bongo's offer was to give the land to them once the British are expelled by the United Nations. But then he thought twice and came with this conclusion: "The situation will be problematic. What you'll get is a million off-licence shops and curry restaurants with no customers." Bongo's sense of logic was sharp as ever.
It was very sad indeed to imagine these poor Indians standing behind their till, staring at eachother from their shop windows on both sides of an empty street.
We let go these deplorable comments for a while and came back to the verses. We debated about politics, history, books and baby-making but I couldn't help going back to the chorus: "Did you know that in London they put loads of signs in the tube calling for responsible drinking? One of these campaign ads warns about the risk of falling from the platform when drunk in the Underground."
Bongo's girlfriend asked for the permisson to slap me. I gave my permission, she slapped me and then she said: "Now that you have two verses and two choruses, I expect you two to work on the bridge."