It's impossible for me not to despise the figure of Jean-Paul. Lank of hair, hispid, pouty and distinctly waspish in appearance, an odious character in both shadow of night and light of day. He is arguably the quintessential unintelligent, not to mention foolish, foppish ox in a very crowded French field. His mistress, Veronique, doesn't fare much better. You would think that one's sympathies would have to be with the thoroughly miserable Beatrice, the uglier of the seemingly constant chain-smoking siblings, but no. Not in this case. Portrayed by yet another one-dimensional unknown actress, possibly Belgian, Beatrice was listless, flat, and so vacuous that you really cannot blame Jean-Paul for looking for action elsewhere. Veronique, who self-medicates with heroin, unfulfilling sex, and by repeatedly slamming her hand in a kitchen drawer, has a strange affixiation for clipping her toenails for a combined period of forty three minutes during the first 2.5 hours of the film. That was pretty much it when it came to the action sequences. You know those cramps you get if you eat undercooked chicken wings at your pals barbecue? Like an endless twisting pain as though the diarrhoea you're moments away from experiencing decided to have a knife fight with your ever expanding colon? Then welcome to French film noir.
The plot? I have no idea. I would much rather have spent another wet Wednesday evening in the rank-smelling city of Edinburgh, listening to Siobhan's other passion of indulging laborious ephemeromorph student artistes, fresh off the coach from yet another impoverished third world city (Brussels?) reading dreadful poetry from assorted crinkled cardboard shittery held aloft on cue cards for the serial unintelligent. Last month's dreadful subject matter included claims that the once prestigious University of Cambridge now debate such topics as how to make dead dish shine, how to speak calmly when encountering demons deep within a Welsh coal mine, and whether American sperm are actually fully formed small humans that expand like a child's bath sponge on contact with the innermost workings of a female. Unigravida, uterus's, undeniably utterly unmentionable I say. I'll end there. What goes on inside a lady should never have to enter into the sensitive minds of the more sociable members of the human race. Men.
Admittedly I spent a good 15 minutes reading the back of my orange juice carton by the light of my cell phone. Something may just have happened that I neglected to recall. But I doubt it. Just when the bulk of the film appears that it cannot possibly sink any lower into an ominous gloom, which consisted mainly of Veronique, Jean-Paul and Beatrice moping, clipping toenails and many precious interludes of supposedly sensual smoking, along comes cousin Yvette, a serial moper of course, and the crying really begins. And that was just me. When people say that they cannot abide foreign cinema nights, this is exactly the sort of film that they are thinking of. And, in this case at least, their sentiments are more than justified. I went, I saw, I slept. My husbandly duties complete for another mid week rectalgia 'date night', we left early and ate steak. No french dressing was required. Next week I get to choose the venue. I'm thinking an evening of culture, artistic movements, a deep psychological delve into two men and their innermost abilities. So boxing it is then.
Chefs Steak Dinner
1 large, thick T bone steak cut directly from a succulent premier Scottish bovine.
Rub steak with fresh garlic, oregano and a dusting of white pepper. Throw on a wood-smoke griddle or an open flame for no more than 3 minutes per side. Serve with thick cut potato wedges, crispy salad and at least 3 bottles of a good Italian red wine, plus an even dozen bottles of chilled lager. Always best served with friends of course.