Sunday, 26 October 2014
It was supposed to be simple. I wanted… Well, this is something that has always worried me: whose letter is Ernest actually talking about - his, Hélène’s or Alphonse’s? Too lazy to watch the film again I decided to seek expert advice, and thought I would find it amongst the pages of The Masters of Cinema Series. Excited, I am impatient, and as I take the booklet from its plastic case I become frustrated at its recalcitrance; and tear it to pieces…Oh dear! I’m… Can you hear it? That thick bludgeoning thump! as my friend faints to the floor… There is a cloud of dust; his partner is coughing; the kids screaming, shouting “dad! we can’t see the screen…” Then suddenly: silence. And through the settling dust we hear…a groan; hiccupping tears; a whispered cry…my name is mentioned. Not, I might add, with either finesse or decorum. But, my friend, what can I do now? I’ll try not to scratch the DVD….
Of course I could have searched the film for the particular scene I needed. But I thought my question too important for any critic to ignore. I certainly didn’t ignore it; albeit in my original piece I disguised my uncertainty, preferring to develop the logic of my argument to its most extreme and consistent conclusion: Hélène’s love for Alphonse is founded on a complete fiction. Oh! Sorry! I see that I am losing you. We must take a break. Go and sit over there; there; there on the floor by that pile of Dickens. Here’s a cup of tea (Russian Caravan with a shade of milk and one and a half teaspoons of sugar; it should do you quite nicely). And here are some ginger biscuits. You don’t like ginger? What about a Victoria Sponge… Nice, yes? Oh, I should hope so… So you’re…you’re comfortable? That’s good. Here is the film. And here is my original review. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.