French Culture

I have finally switched over to my Acer, Windows Vista computer as my primary workstation. Unfortunately, I had to buy a video card in order to use my widescreen monitor with its DVI cable. I bought a XFX PVT72SWANG GeForce 7200GS 256MB GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card (VGA / DVI / S-Video) on Amazon. This card does work as a dual-head video card so I can continue to use my old CRT monitor for my extended desktop. By the way, I’m now using a beautiful photo of the city of Paris light up at night as my desktop wallpaper. I also bought another Firewire PCI card to give me some Firewire ports.

Last night I watched the movie, “The Dreamers” on DVD because the film takes place in Paris. The main characters race through The Louvre which is one of the museums I’ll be visiting. The film is set in 1968 during the student riots so the fashions seem rather dated although not authentically 60ish. I watched the film in French with English subtitles. It was a typical French film in that the characters spent a lot of time talking about love. I recently discovered a French film on a different topic, “The Class“by François Bégaudeau. This movie is about France’s immigration problems and restrictive school system so it probably provides a more accurate glimpse of the current culture. Unfortunately, the movie is not available on DVD yet unless you buy the PAL import version but you can read the associated book translated into English.

Last night I also read a book of French poetry in translation which has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. It was Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s pocket poet book of Jacques Prévert’s “Paroles”. This was the first book of poetry that I’ve read in a very long time, maybe a year or two. Maybe my vacation in Paris will inspire me to return to my old intellectual pretensions and I’ll read literature and poetry again. I’ve more or less given up on literature because it does not seem to be connected with anything essential. Writers only write for the sake of writing. They have nothing to say and they have nothing to offer other than their skill with words. They do not dream or offer their reflections on life or seek the truth. They are not philosophical. They play it safe by not saying anything at all that they could be criticized for and their work is nothing more than a skillful exercise in a mild and obscure profundity.They do not dare to express themselves. However, Jacques Prévert expresses himself quite clearly and directly so reading his poems did satisfy my need for reflection. Anyway, I intend to make literary sightseeing the focus of my Paris vacation rather than l’amour.

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