Thursday, January 29, 2015

In 2012, I wrote about the Paris apartment that time forgot.  At the end of my post, I wrote:
Now, who was the granddaughter and why oh why was she so neglectful? Did she not know about it, or did the decades of dust in the apartment hide some sordid details?
Wouldn't this make a great novel or movie? If I were a gifted writer, I would fly to Paris right now and research the story.  Then I would leisurely write it in Provence as a retirement project.
Well, it has been done! But NOT by me!  I read a post about the TWO books that have been written on Janice MacLeod's blog.  (Janice has left Paris and is now living in Calgary, just a 3.5 hour drive from where I live.  If you haven't read her book Paris Letters, you should.  It's an inspiring story and invites you to re-imagine yourself in a different context, in a different life.)

Via Janice MacLeod: Painted letters from Paris...and beyond.
I have a copy of A Paris Apartment and will plunge into it as soon as I can manage it and let you know if it does the real story justice.  It would also make a great movie.  Reminds me a little of Sarah's Key.  Have you seen it or read it?

Have a great day!

Stella

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Old Lady

When this movie came out, I was in France and when I came home, it was no longer showing.  True, it didn't have a large target audience.  Anything directed to people, particularly women above 45 years old often isn't.

So I waited about 6 months to see this movie and this month, it's out on DVD.

What's not to love? Kristin Scott Thomas of the English Patient and Sarah's Key, Kevin Kline of French Kiss and Sophie's Choice and the inimitable Maggie Smith of Downton Abbey and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.  These three actors are amongst my favorite.

The setting is a favorite too:  A huge, old Paris apartment.
The plot sounds like fun: a ne'er do well kinda guy, thrice married and divorced inherits said apartment and a gold watch from his rich father.  Only problem is, it comes with an old lady and her daughter and this, until the old lady's death.

So why did it kinda bomb?  Turns out, the movie isn't that comedic. Mathias Gold is a near 60s drunk who has never gotten over the absence and reservedness of his parent and it takes him most of this rather long movie to do so...

I love Kevin Kline but I don't love him in this movie.  Maggie is Maggie but with a little bit of a selfishness that makes her less lovable.

This movie's script does these fine actors a disservice.  It is too long and makes a storyline that should have elevated the spirit one that makes the viewer ask: "When will this be over?"

If you want to see a great little movie set in a Paris apartment, see Hunting and Gathering (2007).

I give this movie a sorry 3 stars out of 5. Still worth seeing for the setting.  The huge apartment in the middle of Paris' Marais district has a large yard and is worth 12 million...

Stella-the-movie-critic

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where Are You Most at Peace?





I was watching an excerpt from Oprah's Super Soul Sunday where she asked a number of people: Where are you most at peace?

I immediately thought of Cotignac where we spend about three months over the late summer and fall.  I say Cotignac because there, I am far away from the many obligations that I have here where I live the rest of the year.  It's hard not to be at peace there: it's old, beautiful, surrounded by lush vegetation, potable water flows freely from the fourteen or so fountains, we hear the rush of the stream right outside our balcony doors 24 hours a day.

Having said that, I would say that I am also at peace when I am at home and more so when I am not teaching at the university.  Teaching opens the floodgates to numerous must dos every day of the week including days when I'm off.  Internet, eClass and email disrupt my quiet time and make it difficult to tune out.  An authentic desire to facilitate learning and give students their money's worth drives me to spend many hours preparing stimulating and meaningful lesson plans where they are fully engaged in their learning. Enough said about that.

May to the end of October are more peaceful months.  Maybe it's not where I'm most at peace but when.  During this period I practice meditation and yoga and mindfulness and I engage in a healthy dose of physical activity.

The trick is to integrate all those wonderful things into a workday because that's when I need them most.

Tricky thing.

I am most at peace when I practice mindfulness which is made easier when I am not working.

There.  That's it.

Love,

Stella

P.s.  When are YOU most at peace?