Saturday, September 18, 2004

Le Gout des Jeune Filles

And that's all the French you'll ever see in one of my blogs. j' ne sais quoi? n'est pas? Pardon? oui! voulez vous couchez avec moi c'est soir? sacre blu! si senorita! Whoops wrong language.

Ok excusez moi enough of that. Le Gout des Jeune Filles (literally translated the taste of young women) is a film at the Toronto International Film Festival which I had the pleasure of viewing last night. It also goes by the name On the Verge of a Fever. It was written by a Haitian writer, Dany Laferriere, who either lives or used to live in Quebec. Its the coming of age story of a young boy in 1971 set on the weekend that Papa Doc Duvalier died and his son Baby Doc assumed his mantle as President for life in Haiti. Now coming of age stories are basically stories about important events that transformed one from a child to an adult but in Hollywood its basically slang for "what led me to have sex for the first time". Is lie I lie? Well at least in this story it was all very well done.

The main character Fanfan is a timid 15 year old boy infatuated by four older girls who live across the street as the mistresses of some major Tonton Macoute figure. He ends up going out with a friend the night after Duvalier dies, gets into a bit of trouble and cannot go home so he is forced to hide out at the girls residence.

This movie was well done. It showed that life under a dictatorship while harsh was not without its moments. The common rhetoric is that a life would be very dull and weary as you are squeezed in the fist of a tyrant, his oppressive boot on your head limiting your freedoms and thoughts (terrible metaphors how can his boot be on your head while he squeezes you in his fist duhh!). Not so in this movie. While the Tonton Macoutes, Duvalier's band of crazed paramilitaries, are rightly portrayed as the villains and thugs they are always ready to shoot, kill and maim without significant provocation, this movie shows a man in the street not overly depressed by the goings on around him but very lively and in some cases quite defiant of his oppressors. This movie portrays people living under an oppressive regime as not simply living in fear and cowering in corners but actually trying to live life; going to the beach, dancing, drinking, singing, enjoying themselves.

Also the ladies in the movie are very beautiful. I must admit the most beautiful woman I ever saw was a Haitian living in Montreal back in 1992 and the 4 young ladies who are the stars in this movie while not as beautiful as the one I saw then are extremely attractive and are also from Quebec. Coincidence hmmm maybe not! Ok everyone road trip to Quebec.

Even before the movie started I saw these ladies walk down past us in the movie aisle without knowing who they were and thought "Wow!". Then to see them onscreen all I can say is "Impressive!" . Oh (picking tongue up from floor) did I mention they can act too?


Abeni said...

My favorite coming of age book is green days by the river by michael anthony.You probably did it in high school too..very well written tale of first love and al lthe problems associated with that.

Jdid said...

nope cant say i know that book

Melissa Beauvery said...

I am from Haiti and this movie is simple beautiful