Monday, 13 April 2009

Lying low for Easter

Last Thursday, I had finished my weekly shift at the school library and was walking down to the supermarket. That is, I was forcing my feet, one in front of the other. I suddenly realized that I was exhausted. It had been a stressful week, what with the field trip, younger daughter's day-long visit to the other prospective school for next year, and my insistence on baking hot-cross buns for her class which I've done every year for the past nine Easters. So my own bloody fault, I guess. As I willed myself downhill, I was approached by two young Chinese women, who showed me some directions they'd taken down over the phone: "Manner Street, two blocks from Springfield, Maybell". I knew they were probably looking for Manor Street, but couldn't think of where that might be. Maybell? Desperately, I tried to think of the two cross streets nearest youngest daughter's school, but all I could remember was that they both began with "M". These are streets I cross four times each day. One of the girls patted me sympathetically on the arm, and we went our ways. I fished in my pocket for a raisin cookie that the librarian had given me, and by the time I reached the busy intersection at Beechwood, I hit the traffic signal button and exclaimed: "Maple! They're looking for Maple!" (The other street is Mariposa.) The two women were entering the store when I left, and I asked if they had found the address. They hadn't.

Anyway, that's why I've been lying low for the Easter weekend. The madness isn't likely to let up for months, and I'm desperately trying to dredge up some reserves. I've been gorging myself on David Tennant and Doctor Who, listening to radio interviews on the computer, and thanks to the resourcefulness of elder daughter, watching downloaded and highly illegal copies of Planet of the Dead and the accompanying Confidential. (Yes, Auntie Beeb, we'll be buying the DVD in due course, but we'll be keeping the full, unexpurgated Confidential thank you very much.)

It took several hours for elder daughter to download Planet of the Dead Saturday evening, so while we waited, we watched our copy of one of my very favourite Easter movies Jesus de Montréal (1989, written and directed by the marvelous Denys Arcand who appears briefly as a wry court judge), a parable of the story of Jesus told through a few days in the lives of some struggling actors in Montreal. The story is very clever and a sly commentary on the Québecois arts scene, although anyone involved in the arts in any city would probably recognize the stereotypes.

YouTube has one of my favourite scenes. I should warn you that the English swear words are there to give an approximation of the joual (Québecois street slang) used in one of the parodies the actors perform. In joual, like many languages of predominantly Catholic countries, to be really offensive, you don't go after bodily functions as we do in English, you go after religious allusions and family members. Here we see Robert LePage (now a high profile theatrical director whose works have appeared in London) doing his best Marlon Brando, and Rémy Girard (Québec's equivalent of Jim Broadbent, he's ubiquitous) spewing religious profanities. Most of the actors in this film are very familiar to audiences in Québec, but alas, next to unknown in the rest of Canada.

This Montreal Jesus succumbs to a concussion resulting from his cross being knocked over during a fracas between security guards and the audience, so the final scenes were extra harrowing for us this year.

If I rouse myself sufficiently, I'll watch my other favourite Easter film The Life of Brian, another movie that has outraged audiences, not because it goes after Jesus (because neither LOB nor JOM does), but because it takes a poke at organized religion.

Oh yes, and Easter Parade was on last night, while I listened to a pirated recording of the Planet of the Dead commentary (what gives, Auntie Beeb?). Younger daughter loved it.


JoeinVegas said...

My goodness, hope things do slow down a bit.

Persephone said...

From your mouth to God's ear, Joe, but I'm not holding my breath. (I really need to breathe...

VioletSky said...

Your life does sound exhausting. Yep, breathing should help.

Glad to hear someone loved that Dr Who special as all I'd read were the bad reviews.

Bwca Brownie said...

your Easter Good Christian deed well done.
Giving directions to a harrowed traveller is the classic pay-it-forward thing.

Now is the time to mention that your 10th bun-baking year will be your last? Ease them gently into the idea of your successor.

I hope you rolled away your stone to a sense of renewal on Monday.

Persephone said...

I'm afraid I didn't love Planet of the Dead either, Violet Sky; younger daughter loved Easter Parade. I didn't mind it and thought it was an improvement on The Doctor's Daughter which it closely resembled. If you'd like to read a review from someone who did love it, may I suggest Marie Phillip's excellent blog?

Hi Brownie! Does failing to help someone with directions count? I don't have to bake hot cross buns, so, as I pointed out, it's my own bloody fault...

Jane Henry said...

Persephone, sorry you're still having such a rough time. I know that feeling of being exhausted all the time, and I don't have nearly the stress you do (have felt Incredibly Old this winter!!). Must watch Jesus of Montreal - fascinated by your observation about offensiveness among catholics, because English catholics tend to take the scatologoical approach too, and I'd never thought about the way other nations do it (though I do know that European catholics differ hugely from their pragmatic UK cousins).

Life of Brian should be enforced watching for anyone who is prejudiced about religion. My parents were horrified by it when it came out and as a result I didn't see it for years, and when I did I couldn't understand their sense of offence. It was a rare moment in my father's life where he allowed his beliefs to blot out his normal clear sighted thinking.

I loved Dr Who by the way, it was just silly enough to be up my street. But then I have a very childish sense of humour...

Hope you have better times soon - did your daughter like the school?

bonnie-ann black said...

i agree that Planet of the Dead was nowhere near as intriguing (or creepy) as its title implied. also... not angsty enough for me.*

glad YD like Easter Parade -- i admit it's one of my favorites. as are LOB and JDM!

*must ask -- what do you mean edited commentaries on the dvds? we never download the DWC stuff, but maybe we should?

Persephone said...

Jane/Jules, as a matter of interest, check the Jésus de Montréal clip again and listen when the younger woman supposedly says "For Pete's sake!" She's actually saying Tabernac which is one of the more offensive things you can say in Québecois French (I don't know about France French; we'd have to ask Marie.) Younger daughter seems to have enjoyed her try-out day at the second prospective school. (Heaven knows, she didn't want to go...) She has declared a clear preference for the first school, so we are setting the registration wheels in motion.

Not clear on whether you're asking about the commentaries or the Confidentials, b.a.b. My complaint is that the Confidentials on the DVDs are the 15-minute cut-down versions of the original 45-minute Confidentials, which is why we've taken to illegally downloading them. There are often two versions of the commentaries for each episode as well, and lately BBC has been making it difficult to access the online ones. Last year, they released the online versions on BBC7 Radio, but the commentary for Planet of the Dead was "not available for Listen Again" which meant you had to listen to it "live" on BBC7 or nothing. I just missed it, so elder daughter sought it out online and illegally downloaded that as well. It may still show up on YouTube or in the audio section.

bonnie-ann black said...

ah, i see. we shall have to look into all of that.

good luck with the YD school thing -- and grab some time for yourself.