I whiff a scent of you
Cigars and a musk of confidence.
Is that wine or beer?
I spare my loneliness
In exchange for a moment with you.
I’ve wanted to feel your presence
Yet my question remains,
Is that wine or beer?
I’ve always wanted
A hand to hold,
A face to cheer,
A weekend to spend,
To give a gift so bold,
I’ve waited each year
Yet here you are,
At the end or the line
Holding a glass of wine
Or is that beer?
It’s Friday the 13th and I chanced upon Claude Chabrol’s Les Cousins. It says on the back that this is a love story. Well, sort of. About this provincial man going to Paris to study Law and live with his cousin and then he falls in love. The summary at the back’s quite vague so I’m giving it a chance. Plus its a film by Chabrol and you know how the French New Wave gets me all excited. By the way, that transition from Charles bedroom to Paul’s driving in Paris was cute.
Paul took him to the Latin Quarter, in a club called the Union. There his cousin introduces him to the locals while flirting with a girl named Martine. While he watches a game of bridge,walks in a girl whose smile can easily put a strain in your heartbeat. Her name is Florence. They get introduced and he lights her cigarette. But she leaves after seeing Vonvon in just a split second. Ah, there goes that momentous look as Charles comes after her. He finds her outside walking away with another man. He decides to go inside a bookstore and looks for a Balzac novel. The bookshop owner is delighted and lets him take Lost Illusions for free.
His cousin Paul looks charming even with the trimmed beard all over his chin and the sides of his mouth. He gathers some friends in their apartment for a little soirée. It’s early 60s France but he plays Mozart for the evening.
Charles reminds me of Montgomery Cliff. Florence appears in the scene a few moments later, she looks very pretty. He tells her “I’ve been waiting for you ever since, well, for a very long time.”
After Mozart, Paul puts Wagner on. Suddenly the lights go out, and in comes Paul with a soldier’s hat and a candlestick holder filled with candles. He recites a poem which ends as Charles and Florence kiss. The record scratches as Philippe, one of Paul’s friends makes a scene.
Charles and Florence flee, as they hide behind a skinny tree they kiss. It was quite romantic. I love it when a man in a film becomes completely bashful of himself and thinks he says stupid things or if he’s got a stupid face. He confirms this with Florence and like this manic-pixie girl she’s becoming she tells him flat out that she thinks he’s got a lovely voice. She begs him to recite her a poem, but instead he tells her “I’d rather think it for you and then you tell me if it’s good”, and they just stare at each other for a while. He confesses he loves her but worries about the guy he saw her with. She tells him he’s just a friend, but he tells her he’s not all about “just friends”. He asks her out for a quick drive but this fancy meet-cute gets cut short after Paul ends the party and drives Florence along with another woman. He ends up in a different car with thoughts in his mind about his feelings.
Is Paul in love with Florence? But there’s something strange about Florence too.
Charles asks Florence to meet after class but she forgets the time and ends up talking to Paul and his hustler of a friend Clovis. He convinces her that wanting him for herself would be selfish. “You are meant for caressing, not for feelings” he tells her. It appears that Florence has had a reputation of sleeping with many of Paul’s friends. She reconsiders an offer to sway her feelings towards Paul instead. Clovis convinces her that having sex with Paul would be a better way to forget her feelings with Charles and in a way she won’t become a distraction to Charles studies. And as we know it, they head over to the bedroom.
As awkward as it sounds, this becomes both heartbreaking and motivating for Charles to move on and study further.
Paul passes the exam as he predicted without even taking the time to read his notes. Not only did he get the girl, he gets to prove he’s far more better than Charles. Unfortunately for Charles, he lost the girl and his chances of getting through with life as that violent ending occurs.
Paul’s thrill-seeking life may not have been used to the kind of honesty Charles was about to afflict him, but I guess in a way it was better that Charles had died that way rather than be filled with more unfortunate events by means of killing Paul. It saddened me though that his love for Florence had to be ruined that early. It was selfish for Paul to think that the two did not deserve the kind of relationship they would have if they were to become a couple.
Well, I enjoyed that drama Chris. The close-ups on these three main characters were stunning. Also, that bit when Paul was waking up his Italian-Jewish friend Marc had a close up and said, “You scared me Paul.” That was clever.vIt’s one of the most memorable lines one could ever say in a black and white French New Wave film like this.
From one half of your beloved Kinoc twins,
Here’s something even more personal, brought to you by no one else but me.
I’ve reached rock bottom several times in my life before and it is most definitely the toughest place I’ve ever been.
Sometimes even if you surround yourself with plenty of people, when you hit rock bottom, you’re there all alone. With no one else to guide you but yourself and probably a little hint of faith.
For people who know me I am a particularly happy person. Pretty much optimistic at any cost. When I lost my mom to cancer several years back, there was nothing I could do. It was something out of hand. Something I never expected to occur on a Christmas morning. She wasn’t the type who’d smoke on a rainy day while she ate ice cream. She disliked having pork as a regular meal, she loved cooking pinakbet a mixed vegetable steamed in fish sauce. Her version only included veggies and fish or shrimp paste. She ate healthier than anyone I know. She wasn’t an alcoholic and worked even after her chemo. But death is an inevitable force. There was nothing I could do when that happened.
It’s very easy to say “move on with your life” but its really not that easy to do. Most of my mom’s life was dedicated to us and her work. She didn’t stay long at home because she’d rather do the laundry in the office than waste the electricity at home or let us do our own laundry. The best I could do was cook her a good meal and there were times that I failed even at that. It was so much easier to pretend that she was just in the office rather than remember her dying.
But acceptance must happen and that’s, well that’s still happening. I try my best every time not to feel like I’ve lost everything again. It’s really not a good place to be in. And so every day I thrive to live my life the best way that I can. I’m done wasting my life in misery. I’m done chasing dreams of others. I’m done wondering what if I ended up with the first guy I ever thought would make me feel happy. I’m done making excuses, excuses that would make me leave my job. I’m done spending my money on nonsensical things. I’ve realised that time is essential. My time can no longer be spent on moments that would ruin my life. Decisions can be carefully thought of. And this happy face I’ve built on my face my whole life? Its no longer fake. I smile all the time because I know that even after everything I’ve been through, there’s always something good that can happen. I just have to have a little faith and work on it. As hard as I can. People can come and go, loved ones may come as easily as they go, bridges will burn as easy as they can be built. But people don’t just burn bridges that easy.
Thank you for reading this little piece about myself. I’ve been through a lot and I’m sure you have, too. Just don’t worry too much. Well, worry and then think about what else you could do better. I’m sure there’s this force somewhere that’ll help you figure things out. It always does.