Cousin Cousine

Yesterday morning Gayle King was wearing a dress that looked like a box of crayons threw up on it, or so someone on the CBS This Morning staff said. I bought some groceries. After I returned home, I was ready to watch a video, but I discovered that my copy of John Huston’s “The Dead” was missing some footage. I was disgusted and decided to watch “Cousin Cousine” instead. It was a popular French movie from the 1970s. One of the stars was Marie-Christine Barrault, who was quite charming. The movie begins at a wedding and ends at a Christmas gathering. Some of the humor involves family interactions, as we see in a slide show. Some of the life of this movie comes from the details from everyday life. I noticed that Ludovic and Marthe eat a lot of sweets. It’s like they’re indulging in childish pleasures. Ludovic is a dance teacher, but he changes professions every three years. He’s rather like a Truffaut character, but he’s also ahead of his time, I think, because in this modern economy, a lot of people have to change jobs. This movie is not about a plot, but really just two people getting to know each other. It’s definitely better than Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep in “Falling in Love,” but I guess like it more than “Brief Encounter.” The girl who says she want to kill someone is very funny, and she reminded me of Meg Tilly. Guy Marchand is Marie-Christine’s husband, and he is one of the memorable actors in this movie. He’s the Truffaut connection, and it seemed like he was in all sorts of important French films. Both Ludovic and Marthe had children who were pretty old, but it was a bit frightening to think about what they would be like now, after forty years have passed. These two were spending so much time with each other in the middle of the day that I thought they would be in financial trouble. Don’t any of these French people take their work seriously at all? Ludovic went around on a motorcycle, which seemed like it was immensely dangerous. I thought one of the funniest moments had Ludovic and Marthe drawing temporary tattoos on each other. In the next scene, we see no traces of the drawings. Somehow, it seemed symbolic of what was happening between the people. What really impressed me was the brightness of the color and the sharp picture of the Blu-ray. I’d never seen this movie look so good, because when I saw it in the theatre years ago, the print was faded and scratched and dirty. What I didn’t care for was the piano music on the soundtrack, which made me think of Carole Bayer Sager’s “Don’t Wish Too Hard.” In one sequence, Marthe’s blouse is buttoned, but is loose. I thought of how this was such a contrast to Hollywood, where the wardrobe fit the stars perfectly. This movie has a magic to it. It engages the audience, which few movies do. The flaw in the story is that the two principals aren’t thinking about their children as they’re going about their affair. Their spouses probably deserve what’s coming to them. Their children have to be suffering. Ludovic and Marthe are forgetting about the world outside them. Maybe the French don’t have the right idea about relationships. This movie was crying out not to be remade in the American style, which involved Ted Danson. I saw it and didn’t like it much. It might work in cities like New York or San Francisco. The cast has to have the right kids, too. Hardly any of them are any good, so it’s very difficult to come up with the right chemistry. Marie-Christine Barrault was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for “Cousin Cousine.” The award went to Faye Dunaway for “Network.” The other nominees were Talia Shire for “Rocky,” “Sissy Spacek for “Carrie,” and Liv Ullmann for “Face to Face.” Barrault appeared in Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories” in 1980 and had an appealing presence in that movie. She was married to Roger Vadim from 1990 until his death in 2000. She will turn 71 on March 21. Guy Marchand was in “Coup de torchon” and “Entre Nous,” and he is 77 years old now. Director Jean-Charles Tacchella will turn 90 on September 23. “Cousin Cousine” seemed like a very popular French film here years ago, but I see that the figures for something like “The Intouchables” are unbelievable. After I got home from work, I fell asleep and awoke to watch a Banacek episode, “The Three Million Dollar Piracy.” I wondered what happened to Christine Belford. She was in a movie with George Peppard, “The Groundstar Conspiracy.” She is now 66 years old. Dick Gautier was in the episode. He is still alive, and he is 83 years old. It seemed that the insurance company paid Banacek for a lot of nothing for the solution to this heist. If anyone had done the obvious, the crime would have been solved in a few minutes. George Peppard was in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” of course, but he became ridiculously famous for “The A-Team.” He smoked too much, which you could see in the Banacek episodes. Even after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he continued working, completing a pilot just before his death. He died of pneumonia on May 8, 1994, and he was 65 years old. Some of the people who died on March 5 include Sergei Prokofiev (1953), Patsy Cline (1963), John Belushi (1982), William Powell (1984), and Gary Merrill (1990). Today is a birthday for Penn Jillette (60), Dean Stockwell (79), and Misao Okawa (117). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for March 5, “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” was released in 1954. In 1980, Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto in “The Lone Ranger,” died from complications of a stroke at age 67 in Calabasas, California. In 1999, Richard Kiley, who played Don Quixote in the Broadway musical “Man of La Mancha,” died of bone marrow disease in Warwick, New York.

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