France

TFF38D2F4 The Kid With A Bike

Monday, September 5, 2011 

The Kid With A Bike is a film by the Dardenne brothers, who brought “The Child” to the Telluride Film Festival a few years back. There is a strong family resemblance between the films: durable but trouble prone protagonists in gritty, lower class struggles where their every step forward seems to result in a step back and who’s troubles are mostly self-inflicted, and yet sympathetic and identifiable responses to difficult circumstances.

Thomas Doret plays a little boy named Cyril who’s proof to all external harm, but victim to the internal consequences of being abandoned by his father. He is adopted by an attractive and indomitable hair dresser played by Cecile de France who has an affinity for Cyril that seems driven by something strong, but offscreen.

The story moves Cyril from victim to victimizer and finally to redemption in a way that is satisfying and compelling.

Posted at 00:36:35 GMT-0700

Category: filmsPositivereviews

L’enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot

Saturday, September 19, 2009 

L’enfer is the story of Clouzot’s ill-fated inferno. It was a great disaster and never released but it resulted in some great footage, a lot of it experimental footage of spinning lights and water flows to recreate the sensation of a psychotic state, one brought on by jealousy in the movie.

Serge Bromberg does a good job of telling both the movie and the story of the movie in one continuous flow, filling in with actors some of the key unshot scenes and mixing that with the beautiful footage shot on location in France.

The actresses in the original movie were gorgeous and the two leading ladies, both stunning beauties of their time, were performing a lesbian scene in bathing suits and gave Clouzot a heart attack, not surprisingly, which was the last blow to the troubled production.

Posted at 20:21:39 GMT-0700

Category: Related Links

Pugeot 207

Sunday, February 22, 2009 

I rented a pugeot 207 in Lyon and drove it over 2,500km through France, Italy, and Switzerland, through blizzards and over single track mountain roads in the alps and dolomites alone and filled to exploding with passengers and luggage. It never failed and from the day I picked it up to up to the day I wistfully dropped it off; I never had even the slightest problem.

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The 207 is a fast, sporty car that handles alpine roads with finesse and aplomb. I never squeaked a tire or upset it in the slightest despite making good time on roads mostly frequented by 3 wheelers and 4WD Pandas, but making far better time.

The car was quiet, had a loud, clear stereo, and a very comfortable cabin. Luggage space was compact (inevitably) but adequate and fortuitously sized to carry two large roll-aboard duffel bags. It was not sufficient for four passengers and luggage, but managed three.

It had good manners on snow and ice, even when other vehicles spun out and slid across the road, the 207 managed to pull through and when it couldn’t it was light enough to push. It was admirable on the unpaved roads in the mountains of Tuscany, though the sporting suspension limited ground clearance and thus the available roads to explore.

The configuration I rented had the lesser stereo option which did not include a line-in input. This is a major shortcoming on any modern car, but particularly manifest where radio stations come and go and offer limited selection. There is still value in traveling with an assortment of CDs – at least it could decode MP3 off redbook disks, if not accept an accessory input.

The 207 gets good mileage but has excellent pickup. On the long trek through some of the geographically undifferentiated north of Italy around Parma, the car just naturally drifted toward 200 kph. It was always comfortable at the more standard 130, climbing or descending or though 15km tunnels like Mont Blanc or the one in Switzerland between Italy and Basil.

All in all a very nice upgrade from the Panda I reserved (though Fiat Pandas have their charm too).

Posted at 16:00:25 GMT-0700

Category: GeopostphotoPositiverental carsreviews

Ski Megeve

Saturday, February 14, 2009 

A business trip took me to the French Alps and I managed to escape to the Mageve ski resort at the (excellent) advice of our sponsor. It’s a beautiful place, the winter counterpart to St. Tropez. It is easy to get to from Geneva, though the GPS took us up a tiny winding back road when we trusted it that wasn’t plowed and definitely was not the approved route. The resort is huge and interconnected with other valleys in the European style. There is a good range of terrain, though nothing too terribly difficult. The crowd tends to be fashionable and right now is the holiday season and in France so it is a bit crowded. Rentals are cheap (25 Euro) and lift tickets are pretty affordable too (35 Euro).

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The crowd is generally a bit fashion conscious: in fact, everyone I’ve met thus far is a seasonal employee and also works at St. Tropez. Which also suggests something else: the visitors tend to be a bit fashion conscious and with my old gear and less than fashionable presentation I seem to connect more with the local employees than the other guests. There was a very cool woman from Cote d Ivory I met at a Jazz club, and a hilarious photographer I ran into at a bar/tapas place. He spoke pretty good English and had a hilarious story about why he was there having crashed into his friend and broken his snow board while trying to avoid a tourist that had stopped on the downside of a big mogul (bad idea).

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Ski School is a big part of the holiday season and the kids fly down the hill like brightly colored ducks in a row.  Some are pretty advanced and the instructors take them to fairly challenging terrain sometimes leading them off into the woods: au revoir les enfants.

There is wonderful powder in the Cote 2000 lift area, which takes a lot of traversing to get to and even more to get back from – two Poma lifts back, one of which is the longest Poma lift I’ve ever had to ride. Near the summit after what seems like 30 minutes there is a sign “>50% Grade.” Uh oh. Then, right on that grade, the lift stopped for about 10 minutes to clear some injured off the track. Ow My Ass!

Instamapper ski map

In one of the back country areas there was some lovely off piste deep snow. I was cruising along and jumped a small creek. OK, nearly jumped a small creek. The far side was a nice steep rise and got me quite airborne, butt high. I landed flat on my back skis up in the air which engendered screams of tiny laughs from a swarm of little French ski students. Hey, one of their own had just missed the same jump and was retrieving his skis, so I don’t feel too bad.

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Ski School Megeve is an English (British) speaking outfit.

Posted at 09:20:54 GMT-0700

Category: photoplaces