27 February 2018



Paul Dedalus on the subject of hitch-hiking:
'I'm sick of perverts who only stop for you because you're nineteen. After your fifth cock, enough...!'

Hands up who here finds French people annoying? Wow, that many, huh? Ah don't mind me, lol, sure I'm only joking. I don't want to cause an international incident or anything. The French are all right, but they don't half complicate matters of the heart, or les affaires de coeurs, as I believe they might say in their own beautifully expressive language.

They think too much, they do, and they talk too much and they say mad things like 'I cease to exist when we're not together' and they make a total haimes of it altogether, or a dog's dinner or a shambles if you don't speak an Irish person's peculiar version of English, haha.

Anyway, this marvellous French film shows French people at their absolute French-est, if you get me, agonising over life and love and whether they should really be together or even continue to co-exist in the same universe and whether each one is complete without the other. You know the kind of thing.

Naturally, as they're French and sexually frisky, they've already shagged each other, like, a thousand times in between all the stargazing and contemplating their own- and each others'- navels from various different angles and what-have-you.

Lots of naughty sex in this film, but naturally that's beside the point. What matters is whether or not we belong together, lol, truly belong to each other like the ham and cheese in the sandwich you buy from the French equivalent of Tesco on your lunch-break...

Enough teasing. Sure I'm terrible altogether for the teasing. Paul Dedalus is the central character here. He's a research anthropologist looking back on his life from the unlikely vantage point of a dingy back-room in the Customs section of an airport. He's on his way back to France at last from far-off climes and he's naturally both nervous and excited about it. We see his life unfold gradually before us in flashback form.

Paul Dedalus is also a man who has a 'double' in Australia since he was about sixteen and let a complete stranger commandeer his identity in order to save the stranger's life. It's not a political film, though for a while I thought it was going to be when the teenaged Paul and his friend went to Minsk on a school trip and then went out of their way to help liberate some Russian captives who wanted to flee to Israel. With the money and forged documents provided by Paul and his mate, the men were able to get away to safety. And that's all there is to that.

Paul chose to go and live with Rose, an elderly female relative, when he was a kid because he was driven out of his home, sadly, by his mother's madness. His mother committed suicide when he was eleven and his moody sales rep father never seemed to be terribly together, if you get what I mean. He doesn't seem to have ever really been there for Paul, and Paul got a few thumps as well when he was younger for producing below-par schoolwork. What a nice guy, huh?

The film really only comes into its own when Paul meets Esther. Paul comes home from his college in Paris one weekend in the 'Eighties (the film is set during the period in which the Berlin Wall falls) and meets Esther while picking up his younger sister Delphine from school. 

Esther, with her luxuriant sex-kitten strawberry-blonde hair and blowjob lips (well, I'm sorry for being so blunt but look at them!) would put you in mind of a young Brigitte Bardot. Think Nastassja Kinski, also, in that much-maligned but rather wonderful HAMMER HORROR production that goes by the name of TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER. You see about as much of Esther as we did of Ms. Kinski... 

This beautiful schoolgirl of about sixteen, confident and holding a cigarette between her fingers with the chipped nail polish on them, is sitting on a rock outside the school. Like The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, lol. The curly-haired Paul is immediately smitten and, judging by the way Esther is eyeing up Paul with peepers sexily narrowed by fag smoke, the feeling is mutual...

'My eyes devour you,' says the lyrical Paul, an anthropology student.

'I always have that effect,' replies a supremely confident Esther, exhaling a puff of smoke.
'Not like those (other) dumb bitches. I'm exceptional.'

Well, someone certainly thinks a lot of herself, anyway. No wonder Paul falls like a stone. Confidence is a very attractive trait in a woman, seemingly.

'Have you ever been loved more than life itself?' Paul asks Esther.

'No,' she answers after thinking about it for a moment.

'Then that's how I'll love you,' promises Paul. He's lost in her beauty. Another time, he tells her: 'Esther, you exist so much, like a mountain.' Yet another time: 'Your features contain the meaning of the world.' Oh, what it is to be young, stupid and in love, lol...

Even though Esther is only sixteen to Paul's worldly-wise nineteen, they have steamy naked French-people-sex and Paul the practised lover informs his new girlfriend that 'men come and women come off. How many times did you come off?' Esther politely declines to answer. A good swift knee in the goolies should have been his answer to such an intrusive and personal question. Esther did well to restrain herself...

The love affair only serves to make Esther, at least, desperately unhappy. While she's stuck in their little home town of Roubaix, Paul cheats on her at college with a woman who gives him lodgings occasionally. But that's all right because Esther cheats too with the very man Paul has assigned to keep an eye on her and comfort her while he's away at college, shagging attached women whose skirts have a funny habit of falling down in public (and in private). It's a complicated and messy and terribly painful affair all round.

Does Esther actually enjoy the suffering? I'm not sure. Paul is pretty messed up after all the unfinished, unresolved trouble with his depressed Mother as well. 'I never loved my mother,' he claims but there's obviously a lot of pain and issues there.

He refers to his father as 'still mourning his wife' in a cold and impersonal way that implies that, one day in the future, he'll have to lie on a psychiatrist's couch and talk about how his mother's madness affected him. There's just no getting away from some things.

Esther is neurotic and possessive and says things to Paul like: 'I don't know how to live!' Well, buy a how-to book like the rest of us, love, and why not come back to live in the real world for a bit while you're at it? Try it, you might even like it. Anyway, Esther has a grand total of fifteen lovers while Paul is away at college and Paul has seven. Tsk tsk, that's shocking altogether.

Should they break up, as they're obviously no good for each other and the relationship could even be described as a toxic one? Or should they stay together, as they are clearly meant to be together and their love is strong enough to overcome all obstacles, even that of the skinny Gilberte who just can't seem to keep her skirt up and her bloody knickers on...?

As they're sexy French people, you know they'll have tremendous craic working their way through the agony and the ecstasy of it all to come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion. Or maybe this situation can never be satisfactorily resolved.

Maybe they'll just decide to commit suicide, Romeo-And-Juliet-style, and go out in one last magnificent burst of suffering. Whatever they decide, as highly-sexed French people, you know that they'll thoroughly dig every moment of it...



Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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