La Fille du Puisatier

Last night I watched on Netflix a wonderful French movie calledLa fille du puisatier” (The Well-Digger’s Daughter).
I absolutely loved it and I am not ashamed to say that some scenes brought me close to tears, something that seldom happens when I watch American movies.

This film stars enduring Daniel Auteuil, luminous Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Kad Merad and Jean-Pierre Darroussin and is remake of Marcel Pagnol’s 1940 production.
It deals with a bygone era and is a refreshing change from needlessly crude and violent modern-day movies.

The plot revolves around a poor well-digger and his five daughters; it is set in Provence in the early 1900’s.
Just before the beginning of World War One, one of the well-digger’s daughter (Patricia), falls in love with Jacques, the son of a local wealthy merchant.
Shortly after Jacques has left for the front, she discovers that she is pregnant.
After Patricia confides in her father, they both pay a visit to the merchant and his wife and tell them what happened.
Hoping to marry their son to another wealthy family, they refuse to believe Pascal and Patricia and send them away.

I won’t tell you the whole story but I recommend that you rent this movie to find out how it ends.

The charm of this story has something to do with the time and the mores of a long gone era.
The main character (Pascal) is a poor but proud human being.
He pointedly reminds the merchant that there is a big difference between the people who work with tools and the people who sells tools.

The simple people starring in this movie show a nobility of character that makes them shine. They use a plain but poetic language that endears them to our hearts.
Despite some tension, no cuss word is ever heard.

Ingrate looking Daniel Auteuil who directed and starred in this movie did an above average job in portraying the main character.
Radiant Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey (Patricia) who was born in Barcelona, Spain, gave a restrained and extremely touching performance.
Kad Merad and Jean-Pierre Darroussin were equally outstanding.
The only miscast character was Nicolas Duchauvelle (Pascal) the wooden love interest of Patricia.

As a longtime fan of Marcel Pagnol, I heartily recommend that you save your money by avoiding pompous flicks such as Lincoln or Les Misérables and invest instead in this jewel of a movie.

Trust me, you won’t regret it!



Just for laughs

A minister dies and is waiting in line at the Pearly Gates. Ahead of him is a guy dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket, and jeans.
Saint Peter addresses him: “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?”
The guy replies: “I’m Joe Cohen, taxi driver, of Noo Yawk City.”
St. Peter consults his list. He smiles and says to the taxi driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The taxi driver goes into Heaven with his robe and staff, and it’s the minister’s turn. He stands erect and booms out, “I am Joseph Snow, pastor of Calvary Church for the last forty-three years.”
St. Peter consults his list and says to the minister, “Take this cotton robe and wooden staff and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Just a minute,” says the minister. “That man was just a taxi driver, and he gets a silken robe and golden staff. How can this be?”
“Up here, we work by results,” says Saint Peter. “While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed.”


A guy is reading his paper when his wife walks up behind him and smacks him on the back of the head with a frying pan.
He asks, “What was that for?”
She says, “I found a piece of paper in your pocket with Betty Sue written on it.”
He says, “Jeez, honey, remember last week when I went to the track?  “Betty Sue” was the name of the horse I went there to bet on.” She shrugs and walks away.
Three days later he’s reading his paper when she walks up behind him and smacks him on the back of the head again with the frying pan.
He asks, “What was that for?”
She answers, “Your horse called.”


Restaurants redux

For Valentine’s Day I took my жена to a restaurant.

Alas, three times alas, I was not pleased. And I am pretty sure that I am not the only one in that predicament.

So why do people go to restaurants?
To me, the primary reason is to get out of the house and give the home chef a break.
The secondary reason might be the desire to dine in different surroundings.
And third, the odd chance of making a palate pleasing discovery.

Unfortunately, when you go to a neighborhood restaurant few things compare favorably with what you cook at home.
Most of the dishes lack flavor or are drowning in some “secret sauce”.

To avoid offending anyone’s taste buds, the kitchen deliberately underseasons every dish. Or that’s what I think they do.
The food is bland, bland, desperately bland!

I realize that taste is subjective, but within limits.
What tastes bad to me couldn’t possibly taste good to anybody else.

Last night, I chose “tuna ceviche” as appetizer.
Anybody worth his shot of Tequila knows that ceviche is basically raw fish marinated (cooked) in lime juice.
Well, in this so-called ceviche I couldn’t detect the faintest trace of lime.
The kitchen just slapped together a few pieces of raw tuna with a few herbs.
Tasted insipid.
Ceviche without citrus juice? Who are you kidding?

My second dish was called “Baja seafood salad”.
A bed of greens decorated with a few pieces of grilled salmon, scallops and prawns.
Not too much to say about the seafood, but the salad was totally bland.
Just grass! Would have made my neighboring cows happy.
Not much Baja in this Ensalada!

I understand that a restaurant, like any other business, wants to attract as many people as possible, but when trying to please everybody you please nobody.
A restaurant should specialize in a certain type of food and focus on people attracted by this kind of food.
And if the dishes demand garlic and spices, by golly, give them garlic and spices.
Nothing is worse than tasteless grub.

As usual, after this experience, I will refrain from eating in a restaurant for a while.
And as usual, in a near future I will fall off the wagon and return to one of these pseudo “restaurants”.

C’est la vie!

But no worries!
I am still hot.
It just comes in hot flashes.

Hasta luego!