Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Jodie French!?

A Very Long Engagement

Jodie Foster is one of those very capable actors you might trip over yourself worshipping.

Yes, okay, we all know she's star material. And - if you're twisting my arm already - we all know she's acted opposite some of the bigger names in the biz. But something I bet you didn't know: she does all of this and French!

Actually, I'd read something about Jodie in an article a while back about her classical studies training as a child actor (read: Taxi Driver). Her parents were staunchly adamant that she should emerge from the Hollywood crucible with more than just a nasty case of the cocaine sniffles. They ensured she dipped into the writings of Voltaire, the poetry of Beaudelaire, and the sonourous sounds of the latinate language. It is these same qualities it is hoped she might pass onto her son, over which she is rightly very protective.

I think I speak for most showbiz lovers: shock and awe when Foster appears onscreen in A Very Long Engagement in a way not quite like our intrepid Clarice Starling. Her accent and diction en francais in this piece were impeccable, opposite the talented Audrey Tatou, a star in her own right in today's modern French cinema.

San Fransican Peter Coyote attempted this as well in "Bon Voyage," a stellar film co-starring Gerard Depardieu and released a year prior to "Engagement." And this trend seems unabated, as more and more American stars are set to appear in non-US based projects. A boon for indie cinema, to say the least.

We are -- it seems -- really entering the age of gloablization when Hollywood catches on, folks!

Why am I so pleased by this? Well, for one, I'm happy we North Americans can press our mettle equally as capably across the Pond.

Compare this to Simon's PacRim. It churns out some of the very best acting talent Planet Earth has to offer (must be something to do with apples and kiwifruit -- methinks).

Yet one seldom imagines Tinseltown's luminous ones skipping the very same pond to participate in small budget-deals in languages other than English. Listening to Jodie do her thing in "love's language" was truly an apt instance of "I'm not worthy."

So where's the "leadership" here?

Watching Jodie sort of reminded me of my own langage aspirations. I was reminded how adaptable I was during my mid-twenties in learning new tongues. I recally how quickly I'd mastered Spanish while in university and in Cuba. French, while living in Montreal. Hebrew/Arabic when sojourning in the Holy Land, and Czech while doggedly studying it during three months in Prague. (And twisting more than one tongue in the process, hehe).

People worship linguistic sort of talent. Jodie just shows that even those well-funded and totally famous understand the nuance too.

Just don't spill your popcorn when you see it for yourself. Bring a serviette.

-- AM


At 8:19 AM, Blogger Simon said...

Fantastic! I'm now doubly sure that Marie and I are going to see that movie. Ever since seeing Das Boot earlier this year I've realised I really like "foreign" films, and I believe anyone who really wants to understand another culture should have a go at watching a film from that culture. Go Jodie!


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