Today I did something I’ve never done before: I saw a film at the theater all by myself.
For weeks now ever since I saw the trailer for Trois Souvenirs de ma Jeunesse/My Golden Years, I’ve been dying to see it. But to my dismay, every time I wanted to go, everyone was busy. So, I was left with a choice: don’t go OR go alone. I chose go alone. And maaaaan, am I glad I did.
This film was the first French film I’ve seen since living in Paris, which is very disappointing, I know. But it is.
I caught an early showing and walked into the cinema. It was so early that sadly the concession stand wasn’t even open; I was soooo looking forward to some salty popcorn and a refreshing Orangina but never mind. These things happen; you move on.. Without your pop and popcorn.. Humph..
Anyway, I purchased my ticket at the deserted kiosk and walked my lone self up to the ticket tearer guy and then headed to my film. Already proud of my decision, I pushed through the big doors with a grand smile expecting to enter an empty room.. But to my delight, there were at least five other Parisians there to view the film with me! All on their own, I might add.. Not a single person was accompanied by another. Maybe there’s something to be said for people who go to movies super early in the morning by themselves.. But never mind that!
So, the movie started and already I was overjoyed. As I sat in the theater, happily engaged in the film, I realized that this is definitely going to be an insanely French film – asides, melancholy music and lot of “openness” (if you get what I mean).
Anyway, this film (which I researched beforehand so as to be especially prepared for my first French film viewing in Paris) is the prequel to Arnaud Desplechin’s 1996 “Comment Je Me Suis Disputé (Ma Vie Sexuelle)/My Sex Life…Or How I Got Into An Argument.” Now I’ve never seen the former but that didn’t detract from my experience with the latter in any sense. It tells the tale of a boy’s childhood through three memories and delves into how those experiences affected who he is as an adult.
He gets into trouble and falls in love.
He explores the world and breaks his own heart.
Full of raw emotion and organic love, the story is brought to life through talented newcomers Quentin Dolmaire and Lou Roy-Lecollinet. Seriously these two are wonderful. I truly felt the love of Paul and Esther, yet understood their betrayal and yearned for them to be together throughout the whole thing.
It doesn’t hurt that Quentin is pretty easy on the eyes..
But seriously, they had me watching their every move for the full two hours.
Throughout the whole of the film, I found myself growing more and more attached to Paul and then it hit me why – he’s me. Well, in one sense; he’s a wanderer. He aches to know the world and just wants to see the sun rise over a new horizon. I was proud and altogether distraught every time Paul left Esther and his familiarity, even when she begged him to stay – because I feel his yearning to go. I grew closer and closer to him.. Until the end.
I won’t spoil it for anyone, but the ending was so entirely saddening that I was left in disarray. In the end I realized I’m not Paul, that the only love that dictates my life is that of my family. I will never be Paul, can never be Paul.
I left the theater in a different kind of happiness than when I went in.. Filled with happiness of a story I was able to witness, whether it be finished or not.
This tragic French love story was definitely the best pick I could have made for my first solo theater experience.
Now, everyone go see it.