Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gambling and revenge!

The title of this post is intended to frighten my mother. I never gamble but every time I play cards in her vicinity she'll fix me with a steely eye and ask me suspiciously if I think I might be addicted to gambling. I guess Gin Rummy is a gateway vice.

Also because I just finished reading Le Tour du monde en 80 jours by Jules Verne, a book about a very daring gamble. I'm not sure I would say it's profound, but it is hilarious and witty and great fun. I had no idea, but the protagonist - Phileas Fogg - hates to travel, and wants nothing other than peace and quiet and routine...that alone makes all of the madcap adventures he runs into, but wants so desperately to avoid, pretty funny. Whereas Verne writes about the world, and traveling, every mishap and opportunity, with great relish. It's a pleasure to read, and if you have any interest in brushing up on your French, it's not a difficult read.

I also went to see The Page Turner. It's a French movie by the same guy who did Merci pour le chocolat, which is fantastic, so I went in with high expectations. It's about a girl who once had dreams of being a concert pianist, but she's refused entry into a prestigious conservatory as a child and blames one judge in particular for having spoiled her audition. So she abandons her dreams and focuses on finding a way to get revenge on this judge. The movie starts as she sets her plan in motion.

I left the theater feeling a disappointed, but I like the movie in retrospect. It's clever - in little ways, like when a character playing the piano both pushes the plot forward and provides appropriate music to illustrate the importance of the scene - but in larger ones, too. The protagonist is a very smart, very patient girl, and she has cooked up a pretty devastating plot. I was never sure if the protagonist is actually crazy; and disturbingly enough, the victim is an incredibly sympathetic character.