Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ancestors, Cut Girls

On Monday I had planned a vacation day but I had to work in the morning. I planned on being there all day, but then about noon, having accomplished the major necessities, I simply shut down my computer and took off.

It felt like playing hooky. And it felt great.

I wound up at a computer store where I bought a new version of family tree software. My genealogy bug has been reawakened after a woman with a similar last name contacted me on Facebook to see if we're related. I've done a great deal of research in the past, mostly before the internet made it easy (and if you think I feel superior about that, you are right - I have the hours logged into the state library reading microfiche to give me real cred.)

Anyhow, last night I was overjoyed to find that my existing files easily imported into the new software, and even better, that the new program has direct links to the internet so as you navigate to a person on your family tree a note pops up telling you if information on that person has been found. Just last night I found my grandfather's military record and my great-great grandfather's passport application.

But before I came home, I took my bag of goodies (also including ink jet cartridges and a laptop cooling pad) and went to a movie. Yes! On a Monday afternoon! I saw "A Girl Cut In Two" ("La Fille Coupee en Deux"), a, you guessed it, French film, and an interesting companion piece to "Elegy." Both center on an older literary man involved with a much younger and beautiful woman. But "Girl," tells the story from the girl's point of view, and the man is clearly not as emotionally savaged by the relationship as Ben Kingsley's professor in "Elegy." There's also a rival for the Girl's heart in a young self-centered playboy who pursues her relentlessly, until one of the three is driven to murder.

"A Girl Cut In Two" is less solemn than "Elegy" with characters that are somewhat farcical. I found that there is a strange old-fashioned rhythm to the movie, for example, in the way scenes end abruptly after something happens.

The female star, Ludivine Sagnier, was in "Swimming Pool," a great mystery from a few years back, but now she strikes me mostly as an eerie doppelganger of Blake Lively's ("Gossip Girl.")

I've since learned the film is a French variation on "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing," a 1955 film starring Joan Crawford which I've yet to see, based on a true story about the man who designed the arch in NYC's Washington Square Park. (Yes, that film is now in my Netflix queue.)

The reviews all take note of the age of the director (Claude Chabrol), who is nearing 80. If I were a better film student, I'd understand his being described as a master of the "nouvelle vague" (French New Wave) movement, but the dirty truth is I'm just someone who goes to movies and doesn't know as much about them as she pretends to.


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