Thank you for all the excellent book recommendations. Lots of them were reassuringly for books I already love, which makes it seem most likely that the ones I haven't read yet will be similarly pleasing. Kelljones should be specially satisfied with herself, for providing a mix of new suggestions with old ones so very beloved that we actually chose Jane's middle name in large part in honor of a favorite character from one. (That would be the narrator of I Capture the Castle.)
In return, I would like to recommend a movie. Because I am a pain, it is a movie that is:
- 193 minutes long
- In French
- Not available at all on Region 1 DVD
- Totally deranged and high as a kite
And probably half of you have seen it already anyway.
Nonetheless! I persevere.
Steve first saw Céline et Julie Vont en Bateau at the Cinematheque about a year ago, some time when I was out of town. He enthused about it mightily and tried, at least, to tell me the entire plot. This is easier attempted than achieved, because because the movie is insane (i.e. totally deranged and high as a kite). It... resists summary. It is three hours of dream-logic and then dream-logic within the dream-logic.
When we finally sat down to watch it together, Steve was worried that he'd oversold it, but no. I found it entirely awesome.
Céline and Julie are best friends, or maybe strangers who meet at the beginning of the movie, or perhaps lovers, or possibly the same person. They share an apartment and borrow one another's identities frequently.
Also, they are naturally extremely high.
Céline, or is it Julie, knows of a house where something strange is going on: 7 bis, rue de Nadir aux Pommes.
After an hour and a half of lovely rambling deranged movie time, the girls establish a routine. Each morning, one goes to the house, disappears inside, and then is roughly disgorged back onto the streets of Paris to stagger into a taxi, remembering nothing, but with a piece of candy in her mouth.
The candy is magic! Or psychoactive, anyhow. Sucking it later transports you—in a hallucinatory, watching-a-movie way—to the melodrama unfolding inside the house.
And it is a melodrama, complete with cheap costumes, stilted acting, and over-the-top Jamesian plot.
Magical adventures ensue.
There are dinosaur eyes.
And no shortage of the previously mentioned complete derangement.
I have of course left out vast swathes of the movie (Julie's white-clad cousin! Céline's nightclub act! The backers from Beruit!), so you needn't worry that it's been spoiled for you in any way. It's 193 minutes long, after all. It's a big loose zany stoned mare's nest, but it never feels like a cheat, because there's no pretense that it's anything more or less than it is.
"It has no moral," said the Honorable Venustiano Carranza (President of Mexico), "it is a Dada story."