I have been absent.
Not working, but looking.
I have been absent because anxiety.
And now the cosmos brings me a perfect film.
Because Pauline Étienne.
Actress full of joy.
But the grand auteur is Stefan Liberski.
You must pinstripe, tuck up your hair you haven’t.
You must primary color.
Yellow and red. Made in U.S.A.
“You must fall in love with me,” says Pauline Étienne.
“I command you.”
And of all the girls in the world, the Belgians and Finnish are the most diabolically beautiful on film.
Godard said the Swiss.
And so we have a Belgian film set in Japan.
If we try hard, we can hear Debussy. Estampes…
Sado Island… […]
To dream in the rain.
Cross the bridge.
And the river steams.
You seek a nectarine.
A noisy kiss.
Buttermilk legs joy rollerskate skinny.
Was taken from Salinger.
Joyce said spittoon.
The most beautiful word.
Some films, books so good…too much to handle.
To have that happiness.
A mere handful of fives away from Valentine’s.
When Colombia and Ecuador will be pumping out roses for Starbuckers.
They said that sex was uncouth.
Or resorted to farm metaphors of propagating species.
They couldn’t talk about love.
When your breath is stolen by a cold kiss.
In the autumn.
And yet warmth from optimism.
But we must get on to the little back alleys of Tokyo.
And for a moment stop this dream.
To be born.
Of Belgian parents.
Does not a Japanese make.
I can suck the life out of Auden.
Though I thought I was aping Céline.
But director Stefan Liberski is aping no one.
We must mention the author and not the auteur, though in French there is no difference (save for the milieu of cinema).
And she gives us a fantastic story.
Better than “all thumbs”.
Can you suck on a diamond lozenge from a ring?
Lots of sucking.
But that’s the aw-kward + loneliness which makes a great film.
This one just happens to pull in Belgique and Nippon to boot.
On her yellow socks.
On her haircut.
On sweater with blue stripes.
Like Edward Hopper did the cinematography.
But the Francophones have it figured out.
Which is to say.
Embrace the history of film.
Compare and contrast.
What works? What doesn’t?
What speaks to you? How does a culture (French, par exemple) see a film?
Answer: it doesn’t fucking matter.
What matters is the overflowing love and romance which infuses Tokyo Fiancée.
Only thing Lars von Trier ever did well was film Kirsten Dunst in the nude.
Stefan Liberski surpasses von Trier’s entire oeuvre with this one film.
Yes, I’m polemic as fuck!
I’ll take François Truffaut (the film critic) and a bottle of white wine for my friend.
I like red.
And Guy Debord.
I’ll take chances.
I have taken so many fucking chances.
But we get scared.
Frightened by inexperience.
All of that is in the film.
Taichi Inoue is really sweet as Rinri.
But I keep coming back to Pauline Étienne.
She has cast a spell over me.
And I must ask: who does she signify?
Forget the character name.
For each sad soul who dreams their way to the end.
She represents someone.
Teeth which nave never left the village.
New born yellow as unripe baby corn.
On the farm.
A different register (accent?) of French in Belgium.
Immediately recognizable to a Parisian.
And with little modesty lambasted as yokel French.
But perhaps the Belgians and Quebecois have this in common.
A cause for solidarity.
And add in the Swiss…with their weird counting and smoky lisp.
Tokyo Fiancée hits harder than La Religieuse (2013) because it is not stilted nor steeped in period costumes.
Just tell a fucking story, we say.
Pauline Étienne. Born in Ixelles.
How could anyone from such a place be any less than ravishing?
When we think in microcosm.
If we only know one Indian person.
They become India.
And complicate this with a multicultural relationship.
That is the gasoline of Tokyo Fiancée.
It is clean. And genius. Like Magritte.
A bowler hat. An apple. And MoMA depth.
We want to be in this Japan.
Because the eyes have captured the essence of magic.
Tokyo Fiancée succeeds at every point where Lost in Translation failed (which was at every point).
This is the real deal.
Not a dilettante piece.
Sofia Coppola should send her usage permissions for My Bloody Valentine and Kevin Shields tracks to Stefan Liberski posthaste.
Such music is the only thing which could make Tokyo Fiancée any better.
And yet, it is a perfect film.
Don’t fuck with perfection.
Maybe again MBV and Liberski can have a meeting of minds.
But make sure to include the Anna Karina of our age.
An actress for which Francophonie has been searching for 60 years.
Well, here she is.
And this is the model: Tokyo Fiancée.
Let the joy in her heart hit the screen (splat!).
Jump on the bed. Ahhh!!!
In the mountains. Wooh! The rush.
An actress with all 21 petals on her Fibonacci daisy.
Which is to say, fully capable of cinema immortality.
I believe it was Mallarmé who wrote of “bursting pomegranates” (!)
Very few films have ever had this effect on me.
And I needed this one very bad.
To confirm that there are quirky, special people in the world.
That there are eyes who see beauty in the details I notice.
And that genius in the cinema is not dead.
Thank you Mr. Liberski.
And thank you Pauline Étienne for your performance which has brought hope to a very sad person in Texas.
Je veux exprimer ma plus profonde gratitude.
One thing I like about your reviews, Paul, is they take me on an unexpected mental journey.
Thank you so much, Chris! I take that as a compliment and really appreciate the sentiment!! –Paul
Yes, it is definitely intended as a compliment. Your reviews are emotionally real and always interesting. They are more than reviews; they give insights on life and touch on many other subjects.
Thank you for those thoughtful words!!! –Paul