Saturday, November 04, 2006

Last remarks on the French trip, I swear!

This didn't feel like it belonged in the Quartett post, but there were actually other things happening in France. (I know, I know…)

• Oddball stage adaptations: There's now Bagdad Café: The Musical, adapted by director Percy Adlon from his own inexplicably overrated 1987 film. But perhaps you'd prefer Dolores Claiborne, a play based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, and starring comedian Michèle Bernier?

• Also live in the flesh in Paris: Hollywood's favorite Hire-a-Frog Jean Reno, Alain Resnais regular Pierre Arditi, diaphanous blonde Isabelle Carré, snooty brainiac Jeanne Balibar, dryly funny Catherine Frot.

• But wait, there's better: Dita von Teese was making her debut at the Crazy Horse Saloon! Like the Lido, the Crazy Horse Saloon is a Paris-style cabaret, meaning it doesn't involve Gershwin or Porter but topless ladies cavorting on a small stage while the audience dines at surrounding tables—kinda like Cristal Connors's numbers in Showgirls but, you know, with French boobs.

• What's up with Harlan Coben?!? French libraries stack his books in huge piles and every other person on the metro seemed to be reading him. Not only that, but Coben's thriller Tell No One was turned into one of the fall's big French films, Guillaume Canet's Ne le dis à personne. Actually, someone should look into how American or English thrillers often are adapted into completely different but very good French movies: Ruth Rendell's A Judgment in Stone became Claude Chabrol's The Ceremony and Jim Thompson had the honors twice: Pop. 1280 became Bertrand Tavernier's Coup de Torchon (transposed to colonial Africa) and A Hell of a Woman became Alain Corneau's Série Noire.

• And speaking of books: On my next-to-last day I gave in to curiosity and purchased Jonathan Litell's mega-hyped doorstopper, Les bienveillantes, a book mentioned as a candidate to every French literary prize. Even better, I bought it at a supermarket in the Corsican boondocks, putting it in my basket between the chestnut pasta and the yogurts. For indeed many French supermarkets carry books and CDs. Just imagine being able to buy a 900-page novel narrated by a gay SS officer at Key Food…

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