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Laurensis "RNUnser" (London,UK)

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The Complete Merde: The Real French You Were Never Taught at School
The Complete Merde: The Real French You Were Never Taught at School
by Genevieve
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guaranteed not "Merde", 5 Sept. 2011
I definitely will not recommend this book for beginners of the French language as things can get very confusing. However, I do agree whole-heartedly with some of the reviewers about having a basic understanding of the language-and if I may add the French mentality and culture, because it is only then that the reader can enjoy this book. The author Genevieve does not only bring us up-to-date in the lingual evolution of your everyday French but also pokes and jabs at those little "malheures" that make the French what they are. As an example, her tongue-in-cheek comments about the average Frenchman's relationship with soap and toothpaste is spot on.

While there is definitely nothing wrong with a non-native speaker speaking French the way it was learned in school, it is the use of colloquialisms that ultimately brings out the interesting facets of the language for both speaker and listener. This book provides a delightful and highly informative insight into the nuances of "la langue Française". This does not only provide the reader with the linguistic knowledge needed to express oneself in a "native" manner but also provides the learner a certain sense confidence that brings him or herself one step nearer to understand the gallic essence.

Be warned though that as language is the expression of a nation's soul, some expressions which are perfectly acceptable in normal conversational French may sound crude or even jarring to certain ears. The author, herself French has assigned a sort of crudeness scale in the use of expressions to help prevent the unwary reader from socio-cultural misstep - a helpful aid especially for readers who intend have to visit and experience France first hand. This book is there recommended for all those who want to partly deepen their knowledge of the language in its various facets without the tendentially intimidating academic seriousness that often comes with foreign language learning as well as the price, this book comes highly recommended. It is not only as the native speakers would say "superbe" but is certainly "tres rigole".

From Beginning to End [DVD]
From Beginning to End [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gabriel Kaufmann
Offered by Gayfilmlover
Price: £5.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A THIN, FINE LINE, 1 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: From Beginning to End [DVD] (DVD)
Along the lines of Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Dreamers", Louis Malle's "Murmur of the Heart" or Jean Chatreuverte's "La Coupure" comes Aluizio Abranches film "Do Començo ao Fim" (engl. subtitle; From Beginning to End"), which like the other aforementioned films also tackles what for many people a taboo theme is: family eroticism or incest.
Half-brothers Tomas(Gabriel Kaufmann) and Francisco (Lucas Cotrim)share a very close childhood in innocent intimacy with their mother Julieta (Julia Lemmertz) and her second husband and father to the younger Tomas, Alexandre (Fabio Assunçao). Despite what seems to be a harmonious relationship between the adults and the children (inclusive of Julieta's first husband Pedro)there is a sense of displacement and helplessness with the adults in the stance and direction they should take(especially Julieta) concerning the two boys. The adults are forced to confront the eye-opening reality called to attention by Jullieta's ex-husband about the children's overt closeness edging on intimacy. This sense of re-examining and subsequent loss of traditional moral perceptions as well as the conscious ignorance of what direction to adopt where the behavioural pattern their children are concerned is wonderfully conveyed by Ms. Lemmertz wistful and longing gazes and Fabio Assunçao's nervous paternal placidity.
Growing into young adults, both Francisco (Joao Gabriel Vasconcellos) and Tomas (Rafael Cardoso) are aware of their burgeoning sexual desire for one another. This desires however finally finds it's release only after their mother's (relatively early) demise-a life changing moment in their relationship. Tomas' voice over narration puts this long hedged longing succintly when he says there was something liberating about the change but in the end what remained was the love and desire.
With the consummation of their desire now fulfilled, their union undergoes a severe test when Tomas is invited to join the olympic swimming team and train in Russia. Tomas initially declines but finally concedes at Francisco's prodding who sees the opportunity as chance for his younger brother's professional development. What he does not reckon with is what this first ever parting does to his own reasoning forcing him to seek consolation in someone elses arms to alleviate for his brother/lover gone away.
Incest in movies has always been a tricky topic. Tackling the subject matter and projecting it into the big screen with hundreds, possibly thousands viewing it while retaining a modicum of psycho-moralistic "decency" and ensuring it does not slide into seaminess is to my mind walking a thin, fine line between artistic and commercial success and moral censure. This is where the film no doubt succeeds.
Director Abranches manages to successfully portray the sensuality this of "forbidden" desire with eroticism and tact. He also adeptly portrays the "confusion of moral direction" through the unstructured, vague plot. Lemmertz and Assunçao manage to convey this confusion coated by skin deep tranquility convincingly. The children portrayed by Cotrim and Kaufmann are just marvelous. However it is Cardoso and Vasconcellos in their portayal of Francisco and Tom Tom (Francisco affectionate nickname for his younger sibling) that makes the movie come alive. Their chemistry is nothing short of electrifying. The glances the brothers give one another-especially in their banter with Tomas' swimming trainer Ivan and in the Tango Club scene where Tomas dances with a girl, whilst conveying their love and longing for one another is not only truly convincing but is pure eroticism in its most exquisite form. The gravitas of the subject matter is offset by an easy plot and the very good looks and screen presence of both Cardoso and Vasconcellos who together with director Abranches makes crossing that thin, fine,line for the unsure viewer not such a dark undertaking after all. Really a film worth one's time and money.

A Love To Hide [DVD] [2005]
A Love To Hide [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Christian Faure

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Many Faces of Love, 19 April 2010
This review is from: A Love To Hide [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Mutual love, Unrequited love, brotherly love, familial love.

Director Christian Faure (Juste une Question d'Amour) like his Chinese counterpart Ang Lee has once again proven to all and sundry that gay themed films can be intelligent without being pretentious, moving without being hysterically dramatic and multi-faceted without confusing the viewers beyond their comprehension. Such is "Un Amour a taire" (Subtitle: A Love to Hide). The story of two young men Jean(Belgian actor Jeremie Renier and Phillipe (Swiss actor Bruno Todeschini) negotiating the intricacies of keeping their (secret) love relationship alive and whole in Nazi occupied France during the Vichy regime of the collaborateur Marshall Petain.

Aside from the homosexual pogrom of the Nazis they also have to hurdle the conservative sentiments of Jean's father, the dangers of Phillipe's involvement in the resistance -collaborating with forgerists to supply people with new identities and most of all the risk of sheltering Jean's childhood jewish friend Sara(movingly portrayed by Louise Monot) who was the lone survivor of her family's massacre. The initial scepticism of Phillipe in Sara's intrusion on their lives is turned into deep sympathy motivated not only by her plight as a "Juif" but more so as a proof of his love for Jean. Just when the three of them have settled into a routine semblance of normality, along comes Jean's brother Jeremie(convincingly played by Nicolas Gob) recently released from prison for his involvement in the war time blackmarket. He sets his sights on Sara/Yvonne who rejects his advances -deciding to keep her unreturned love for his brother. Rejected by the girl he loves and betrayed by the revealing truth about his brother, Jeremie -the rash person he always tended to be- hatches a plan intended to put him in Sara/Yvonne's good books as well as avenge what he has perceived as Jean's betrayal of his trust in him. In his impetuousness he does not foresee the possible consequence of his actions that bring disaster to all of them.

Renier and Todeschini deliver sterling performances in a very intense story. Renier as the devoted son,lover and friend lends a subdued yet touchingly -in turns naive and forceful aura to his character while Todeschini calls to life a wry yet smoldering Phillipe imbued with just a hint of nervousness that is at once endearing and moving. The chemistry between the two actors lends the movie a certain quiet almost shy simmering sensuality. Monot as the childhood friend delivers a finely nuanced character. Gob has crafted his character Jeremie into a believable person that is so in keeping with the types found in the shadier milieus of society.

This is a not a easy film to watch. However, for those who have or could manage to see it till the ending credits would surely agree that despite it's angsty content this is one jewel of a film that should not be missing in any serious cineast's collection. This is nothing short of a cinematic gem not only confined to its genre and contrary to it's title has definitely nothing to hide.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2011 8:39 AM BST

Alexander The Great: Murder in Babylon
Alexander The Great: Murder in Babylon
by Graham Phillips
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but..., 22 Aug. 2008
Murder is, where the death of Alexander the Great is concerned, something that cannot be totally ruled out in the same manner of his death caused by illness (typhoid fever). Graham Phillips makes a case in point by giving the reader the background and quite real and logical motives for certain persons to wish for or even secure his demise.

The forensic and toxicological information that he lays before us and the possible motives of the suspects in wanting the Macedonian King dead quite impressive and would make for a very interesting fictional literary read under a more modern setting. However, Mr. Phillips chose the ancient world and the story of a man whose life and persona is largely based on writings by ancient authors who based their stories not from their own first person point of view but rather from then extant sources. And this is where the novel falters.

Firstly, one cannot help but be critical of his portrayal of Alexander.While he does quote Plutarch, Arrian, Curtius amongst his sources it is interesting to note that none of the major ancients painted such a horrible picture of Alexander as he is portrayed by the author. Not even the modern historians Lane Fox, Heckel, Yardley etc bring up such grim portrait. One cannot help therefore that Phillips has, at the expense of objectivity (as far as it can be called that) decided to help himself with total abandon to the persona of Alexander the Gross instead of Great as a literary device to underscore his suspects motives to murder him.

Secondly, it is interesting that in his efforts to seemingly paint a negative Alexander he has, taken the description of the man's actions in certain settings out of context to serve his purpose. For example,in the taking of the Sogdian Rock he makes it appear that Alexander has conquered it for no rhyme and reason except for greed. Arrian in his book "The campaigns..." cites that Alexander has taken up the cause to conquer the fortress as a response to the taunts from the natives that they were invincible unless Alexander and his men had wings to enable them to scale the fortress heights.

Thirdly, he backs his theories, presumptions and interpretations of peoples motives and events with lots of quotations from the anonymously published "Historia Alexandri Magni". Personally, I am always a bit wary about the veracity of works that are published anonymously. I am always skeptical about the issues that may lie behind why an author would not want his or her name to be known.

Fourthly, Mr. Phillips has examined the social mores and practices of the ancient world using our modern(allegedly humanistic) parameters. Human sacrifices, blood feud, deposing of possible threats and arrival during ascendancies were a common practice not only in ancient Macedonia or Hellas but as well as the Roman empire up to the time of the 17th century English, French and German royal houses. As such it amazes me to see the author pointing a "moral" finger for Alexander's actions. He seems to forget that what may not be morally or socially acceptable in this day and age may have been fine in 400 B.C.

Certainly, this is a good read in the tradition of Hercule Poirot or Columbo. However, to think of this work as a fantastic or reliable source for the life (and times)of Alexandros Basileos is to my mind simply going overboard and should be regarded with very, very great caution.

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