July 22, 2009

Read and watch: Chéri. And several reasons to do both.


I´d heard about the french author Colette or Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette; her proper full name. Probably because I actually bought the book "Cheri/The Last of Cheri" way back when. As I have no recollection of the content, it must belong to the category of books accumulated over the years as "cool cover gotta have it – will read immediately"

As it turns out, I haven´t read it belonging to an over years ever-growing collection of must-reads-now but forgotten about in my avarice to buy more books. And damn, it annoys me that I need a nudge from Hollywood to drag my attention back to all these languishing-on-the-shelves gems. How unoriginal is that? Note to myself: amend.

So, yes, Hollywood and "Cheri".

Seeing Michelle Pfeiffer on Letterman back in June first tweaked my interest. Although, I suspect, since in the segment I saw, they were just talking about Al Pacino and not really about the movie she was promoting, I forgot about "Cheri" again.

Just recently, scrolling through the apple trailer site, reminded me - oh yeah, Pfeiffer. Oh, and Frears. Oh, and Hampton. Oh, and Bates..... excitement level rising exponentially. Watching the trailer confirmed my "must-see" instinct and leaves me happy and content in the expectation of its release in a cinema near me.

Story in a nutshell: its about an affair between an older beautiful woman and a young, petulant, capricous dandy (Pfeiffer´s "Lea de Lonval" says of him: "I can´t really criticize his character, mainly, simply because he doesn´t seem to have one")

Another repartee between Rupert Friend, who portrays the young lover "Cheri":
anonymous male friend: You enjoy being spiteful?
Cheri: I always find it cheers me up

Oh, and in case you need more arguments for seeing this film:

#1 director Stephen Frears also is responsible of Dangerous Liasons, The Queen, My Beautiful Laundrette, The Grifters, High Fidelity and so many more.....Think his body of work speaks for itself.

#2 Christopher Hampton adapted many of the screenplays Frears directed and has a credit list that will make any writer drool with envy while simultaneously hailing his writing for the divine consistency of excellence, wit and brillance it has.

#3 Ms. Pfeiffer is her luminous and lovely and funny self. Of course her beauty attracts, but her sustenance as an actress elevate her above so many of her vacuous, stretched and surgically modified contemporaries. I will watch anything she is in.

#4 Kathy Bates. As always, sure, calm, and sharp as a knife, in her ability to capture one in her magically down-to-earth style world of wit. I´d like an aunt like that. You know, the type that just hugs you to her ample chest and tells you funny stories and makes you laugh, assuring you, with wise words, everything is going to be ok.

So, with all of the above, for me, its a film I totally, entirely look forward to seeing. I suppose I should mention Rupert Friend, the actor portraying Cheri. Seems competent enough, at least in the 2 minutes 30 seconds of the trailer, he was able to deliver his lines and give his mistress the appropriately smoldering looks.

Until the movie comes to a local theater near you (hasn´t been released here yet) or to your local blockbuster or where ever the heck you get your dvds, I suggest reading the book.

Swinging in a hammock between palm dreams, or sitting on a park bench. If Hampton and Frears felt it worth visualizing, then its definitely worth reading. And their craft makes each medium a work of stand alone creativity, meaning what they adapt into screenplays, will not disappoint when compared to the book.

Enjoy in whichever form, I say.

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