Monday, 10 May 2010

An Education

The Poodle is back in the UK at present and in order to continue to feel Parisian in Blighty, last night I settled down to watch a DVD I had been meaning to see for a while - An Education. Starring Carey Mulligan and Olivia Williams and Peter Sarsgaard, it is mostly set in Twickenham, Oxford and London's West End, so I was a little disappointed. I had been expecting more scenes of 60's Paris. Nonetheless, the dialogue had the occasional French mot, chanson or phrase, and of course included a short lived romantic weekend away in gay Paris.

The story line was sold to me as a romantic poignant story of first love and coming of age. Which it was. It was also the age old story of "nice young girl gives nasty smarmy older man benefit of the doubt along with her virginity, only to regret not studying harder".

Jenny is a vulnerable, albeit clever 16 year schoolgirl who has hopes of attending Oxford (if only she can pass her Latin classes) who is seduced by an older, dishonest, disconcertingly charming man with a sports car and a large wallet (David). Naive, she is taken in by his flashy lifestyle and Pre-Raphaelite loving friends. Nonetheless, she soon realizes that her older man is in fact a serial bastard, with a wife, child and a history of illicit affairs. Quelle tragedie! By this point she has lost her 'innocence' but luckily, is not in the 'family way' as one might say in the 1960's.

During their brief doomed affair they visit the Poodle's spiritual home and enjoy a Seine side snog with a bottle of red, and wander through its charming cobbled streets. I couldn't help but notice that today's Paris doesn't look all that different from the chic and sleek Paris of yester year.

The 1960's Paris presented in An Education could have been from yesterday, as ladies are still wearing coiffured chignons, cinched waisted dresses and classic stilettos. It made me wonder if Paris is actually stuck in a timeless time warp?? In some ways perhaps it is - the buildings are traditional, there are no Gherkin's, Millennium Wheels or Oxo Towers to be seen, and the fashion is elegant, classic... there's a je ne sais quoi about the place. That is Paris magic! It offers time travel without the butterfly effect and who doesn't want to go back in time?!

In terms of what Paris has given the Poodle as far as 'education' goes, it is without doubt the perfect location to learn, think, reflect and debate. And also the best place to get a quality French manicure, along with the world's finest fragrances. (Chanel' Coco Mademoiselle)!

To conclude my musings on the film in question, I would say that this is definitely worth a look, if only to remark upon how lovely and smart school girls in the 60's used to be, and the gorgeous vintage cars, dresses and impossibly perfect hairstyles that all used to be an everyday 60's occurrence. The moral of the film is of course, to try harder with your Latin homework.

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