Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Là j'étais

Out with the old, in with the new. Optimism and good intentions equal new year's resolutions. Adieu to the speechless débutante of 2006 and bonjour to niveau intermédiaire and beyond in 2007.

Sometimes though, optimism and good intentions are nowhere to be found. Maybe regret instead is damning resolutions and screaming for a time machine to fix things in the past so today or tomorrow can be better.

The talk of time travel brings me to La Jetée, a science-fiction film by Chris Marker. The film is from 1962 and I saw it for the first time in 1989. Watching it now in 2006 it still impresses me and reminds me of the initial reason why I want to learn French: cinéma.

Chris Marker's film is actually a 28-minute "photo-roman": a series of black and white photos with a voice-over and haunting music. It's a story about a post-nuclear present, a painful past and a future of peace. And as with the French- it is also a story of amour. A man travels to the past and the future to "fix" the present. In the past he falls in love and meets the woman whose face has haunted him since childhood. As a child he had seen her witness a death. It is to this past that he is sent.

So there YOU are- if you really had a time machine, would you fix the problems of yesterday for a better today?

niveau intermédiaire

The French we know:
l'optimisme (mas) optimism
l'intention (fem) intention

la science-fiction science-fiction

le film film

initial initial

la photo photo

la jetée dock, jetty

là j'étais there I was

La Photo: Parc national du Grand Canyon, Nord-Ouest de l'Arizona. Juin 1991.

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