Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Félicitations Lou Lou!

So for many of you, you've just gotten to meet Jean Dujardin.  I'd never heard of him before I came to France, but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with him.  Before this of course, my knowledge of French actors was   Gérard Depardieu and of course, Mathieu Kassovitz.

However; he's been here a long time.  In fact, I hope that I can spend a little time to maybe show you a little of his past.  He was first on a show called Les Graines de Star, what we called Star Search here in the US, playing a character known as "Brice de Nice."  Dujardin created a caricature of the surfers at the time who could be found on the beaches of the Côte d'Azur.  Brice is a nickname for Fabrice.

Later he started on a short series produced by France 2, Un Gars et une Fille (A Guy and a Girl).  He became very well known for this series which presented the daily life of a couple in Paris, Jean and Alexexandra (played by Alexandra Lamy.)  On the show, they had the nicknames, Chou Chou for Lamy and Lou Lou for Dujardin.  By the end of the series (2003), the two were in a relationship, and later were married in 2009.  

Later, he did a movie as the Bande Dessinée hero, Lucky Luke which also starred his wife.

He later appeared in a comic version of James Bond, OSS 117.  To date he has appeared in two installments:  Le Cairenid d'espions (Cairo, Nest of Spies) and Rio ne Repond Plus (Lost in Rio).  OSS 117 is actually a fictional character, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, based on a real life member of the Office of Strategic Services, William L. Langer.  

Of course, the movie that's garnered him so much press is The Artist.  He's put in his time, and it's great to see him getting more notoriety internationally.  Because I find it to be the cutest, here he is accepting at the Golden Globes.

His latest movie Les Infedeles, the Unfaithful, is about man's inability to stay faithful to his wife.  I don't know much more about it, except that the trailer is NSFW.

I hope this was an informative albeit quick introduction to Jean Dujardin.  He's been in a lot more stuff, but it's something for you to look into!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Realities of French

I had a blogger who I started reading recently and I find him hilarious!  He's just starting out but the posts he has up are pretty good.    Check him out here!  http://frenchcultureshock.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

pauvre espèce du type

A while ago when I went to London, photos seen here, I had a very limited amount of money.  The problem was always the exchange rate, and my terror of overdrawing my account.  I could imagine no greater nightmare.  So the logical solution was that I have plenty of things to do that were free.

Something that Partner and I love to do is fall asleep reading.  It used to be strictly novels back in the States, but when we moved to France we started including manga into the mix.  I started a series here called Ikigami, which is just fascinating, but since I've now careened off a cliff as to staying on topic, I took a few of them with me for the nights when I was in the hostel.

I remember reading in one of the episodes where one character calls the other an "espèce de con."  I had heard the words used separately, but never together like that before.  Given the use of "con", it had to be an insult of some kind.  When you see or hear con, it almost always means dumbass.  It's an interesting one to use, but it's difficult to use absolutely correctly.  A lot of times I want to use "con" when "abruti" (dimwit) will suffice.  the use of "de" was fairly obvious, as it always means of or implies membership in something.  The real puzzle was the use of "espèce."

There are really two uses of "espèce" that I had ever seen.  The most usual is when I was buying something, and it would show how much money you were owed with espèces coming up on the register.  So logically, it would be assumed money, usually coming to cash.  The other use that I had heard more often was to say species or type.  So you're calling someone a "species of dumbass" which while I hope it will someday be used casually, currently makes no sense in English,  Another word that you can use for species is type.

So putting it all together, if translated literally in English, it becomes, "(You) type of dumbass!"  I had to stifle my laughter.  After all, nothing's less reassuring than someone you're sharing a room with laughing like a maniac.  Now that I understood the form, I started to notice it a lot more often.  You can add it to almost any noun to make an insult.  They can be as simple as the previously mentioned "espèce de con" all the way up to something more complicated like "espèce de sale petit cretin de merde," (you type of dirty little crappy cretin.)  Of course, it should be noted that this is a literal translation.  In English of course, you just forget about they type part.  Otherwise, you end up sounding like this.

Now the strange thing is you'd think that you would then be able to use "type" in the same way, but you'd be wrong.  Naturally, it even has the same meaning as in English, but instead, when you want to use it as an insult, you can, but it's a different construction; "pauvre type."  This construction automatically implies "espèce" but adds in the insult.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Election Update

So just to give you a little general information about the elections lately, here's a quick overview of the candidates and the parties that exist in France  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_presidential_election,_2012

Now, I'm sure most of you know about our dear friend, Nicolas Sarkozy.  There are so many things that I want to say about him, but I think the best is that he's been spending the past month or so "totally not campaigning."  We'll forget that his government has been taking swipes at his Socialist challenger left and right.  Recently, in fact before his announcement of candidacy this evening, he has already named Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet his campaign head.  She's currently the Minister of Ecology, Durable Development, Transport and Housing.  Here she is on the 10th of February on Bourdin 2012 http://www.bfmtv.com/bourdin-2012-nathalie-kosciusko-morizet-actu23187.html

The most recent discussion has been Sarkozy's article in Le Figaro stating that he will not support Marriage Equality in France because it will lead to opening adoption to gay couples.  We'll forget that there are already gay couples raising children, just like in the US, but we'll digress.  Here's the English translation of the article.  http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/french-president-says-no-to-homosexual-marriage-and-adoption-euthanasia

 Most people see this as him pandering to the extreme right, especially on Marriage Equality here.  Recently there was an article in Libération Mag where it was suggested that Sarkozy may be adding Marriage Equality to his election platform.  Valérie Pécresse, Minister of Higher Education and Research was quick to deny this.  In truth, Sarkozy is doing everything he can to pull as much of the weight away from the far right, Front National, because it will be much more difficult for him to win without more far right support.  Hence he's been pushing on social issues to tie up his loose ends.  He will announce his candidacy tonight.

Most recently Christine Boutin (candidate of the Christian Democratic Union) announced that not only will she suspend her candidacy but furthermore will throw all of her support behind him, making the announcement last night on TF1.  In a nutshell, she believes that gays and lesbians have no right to marry and should never be allowed within 100 yards of children even though she has so many gay friends as she famously said in an interview a while ago.  She's France's answer to Rick Santorum. Here's an interview she did recently after the announcement.   http://www.bfmtv.com/christine-boutin-renonce-a-la-course-a-la-actu23343.html

François Hollande continues his candidacy today saying that Sarkozy's declaration changes nothing.  In essence he says that Sarkozy is a "président de la virevolte."  It's a hard phrase for me to translate, and I'm sure those with more French experience might have a better idea of how.  Literally it's a president of spin, as in literally spinning.  Hollande says that Sarkozy wanted to appear as a dynamic candidate full of change and promise.  During his term, Hollande says he showed himself to be more of the same.  He further states that Sarkozy can create as many new personas as he would like, but his record will be his albatross.

Since I really haven't done much to disguise my slant, I'll also include this article here about recent comments made by a UMP Member in the Nord (North) Region, Christian Vanneste.  Apparently he had an interview with a website where he said quite a few offensive things about gays.  It should also be noted he was the first French Politician to be fined for his comments against homosexuality.  (The charges were later dropped as protected speech, however offensive they may have been.)  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/02/15/french-mp-gays-must-be-narcissists/

Members of his own party are already calling on him to be kicked out.  As he says in the beginning of the video, the most recent polls show that 63% of French citizens support marriage equality.  One can only hope that the UMP realizes that this divisive language will not help them win elections in the future.

UPDATE: Apparently it's official.  Christian Vanneste will be removed from his post.  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/02/15/french-ump-expelling-vanneste-over-gay-comments/