Derik Badman's Journal

2020-11-22 08:38

My weekend movie was Rendez-Vous a film by Andre Techine, co-written by Olivier Assayas, also Juliette Binoche's first film. Techine comes up a bit in recommendations, and I was looking for other Assayas films to watch. Watching Binoche was certainly the highlight of this rather melodramatic story about actors and death. She is so young, but having more recently watched movies like The Clouds of Sils Maria (also Assayas), you can see the actor she would become. I mean, she's good in this, but there are expressions she has, movements she takes on that were oddly reminiscent of the much later movie. In one scene she is pacing and studying lines for a play, and the movements immediately made me think of similar scene in Sils Maria where she is learning lines for a play. Though, I wonder if that was purposeful, the later movie reflecting the former, since the latter is explicitly about the older actress returning to a play she was in when young (but playing a different part). Since they both had the same writer that certainly seems like a possible reference.

Last night I finished up the second part of Lost Illusions the long rise and fall of the progagonist Lucien Chardon in the world of Paris, as he arrives with a book of poems and a novel and ends up a journalist. Throughout, his fall seems inevitable, and it is is no small part his own fault, but Balzac never paints him as a bad person. He is too ambitious, trying to reclaim the noble name his mother had (but since she married a poor chemist, not the one Lucien has), and he is too naive, somehow never seeing when people are using him. His ambition causes him to take steps that lead to his downfall because of the way he hurts others, but it's like he almost never realizes that he is going to hurt them, and thus never sees that they might then hold ill will to him. Oddly, or perhaps just unexpectedly, throughout he stays faithful to the actress he falls in love with, and he tries to stay faithful to his first friend (though he sort of fails at that). The whole thing is wrapped up in the complicated workings of 19th century French journalism, that certainly helps give rise to the idea of Balzac as a kind of sociologist of his time and milieu.

I got no writing done on my novella over the weekend, so I am sure I am now irreparably behind on the November challenge. Oh well, I still got more written in the past three weeks than in previous ones. Probably on track to not get anything written today either, since I started here in this journal than in the fiction.

Lots of playing of Assassin's Creed: Valhalla over the weekend. I am really enjoying, as is usual with the series, the setting and the detail the designers put into it. As with Odyssey it makes me want to run an rpg campaign in 9th century England (which is, I think, the same period as Kevin Crawford's recent Wolves of God game).