Army of Crime – Virginie Ledoyen

army of crime

The phrase “army of crime”, says Wiki, refers to the caption on the historical Affiche Rouge propaganda poster, in which the Nazis sought to present prominent resistance fighters as criminals. The caption read “Liberators? Liberation by the army of crime”.

Hollywood Reporter says:

What’s also missing here–and happily so–is the star power and oversized scale of most Holocaust films (the most recent example being Tom Cruise in “Valkyrie”). Obviously working on a very limited budget, Guediguian keeps his camera focused on interiors, street corners, and nondescript alleyways, to the extent that one barely realizes that one is in Paris. But this too paradoxically adds to the novelty and believability of the film.

The film has received basically positive reviews, with reservations here and there and dwells on the fact that the resistance was by no means unified across the land, was not universally supported and at times even had to target French people themselves, particularly in Vichy.

One side issue is Virginie Ledoyen.

The First Post asks:

Ledoyen plays Melinee, the wife of exiled Armenian poet Missak Manouchian (Simon Abkarian) who reluctantly takes charge of a group of young guerrilla fighters, some of them barely out of their teens. They assassinate Nazis and their collaborators in the streets, until they are themselves caught and executed in 1944.

[Is this] Ledoyen’s second chance [at the big time]?

I wonder if it has ever crossed some writers’ minds that she might not have wanted the “Hollywood crossover”.  French and even Russians have been known to turn up their noses at the glitz and stagey nature of the big time – Oksana Akinshina, of Lilya4ever and The Bourne Supremacy was a case in point.

Down for countless interviews and the constant pressure of the press to get her gear off, she reacted against it and when one journo threw up his arms and asked whether she wanted to make it big or not, she said she preferred her friends and her own life.

It’s possible Virginie Ledoyen has done quite nicely, thanks, in her native France – she secured a L’Oreal deal and things were going well.  ES touched on maybe the real reason why she did not “go Hollywood”:

After The Beach, Virginie was offered a lot of starlet roles but she chose a more intellectual path.

It’s not that she’s averse to nudity or sex scenes and she’s been called opportunistic but the roles she was prepared to accept did not portray her as a bimbo.  She is flattered by comparison to Isabelle Huppart and takes herself seriously, not unlike Jodie Foster who also refused to play the Hollywood game.

So here’s a serious film and a serious role.  What will it do for her career?  Will the film sweep the world itself?

Day of the week


When the day before yesterday was referred to as the day after tomorrow, the day that was then called yesterday was as far away from the day we now call tomorrow as yesterday is from the day which we shall now be able to speak of last Monday as a week ago yesterday. Which day is it?

[It’s Thursday and the reasoning is here.]

Late evening listening – controversial musicians

JethroTullJethro Tull

Ian Anderon said after an unpopular Grammy Award, on account of how ancient they were: “Nostalgia tends to be a dangerous emotion in music because it never tells the truth. You try to relive the past and it is far better in the memory than it is in reality. So you cling to what is warm and fuzzy in your mind without looking for anything new.

That’s why it’s interesting, particularly in America, when you’re playing to an audience where many of the people are only in their teens or in their early 20s. They grew up with Jethro Tull the way they grew up with the Muppets. That’s a different sort of emotion. It’s not nostalgia, it’s a kind of basic, primitive response to things that as a child were precious to you. That’s what we hope to build”:

Fairport Convention

As less traditional forms of folk music gain popularity, tension between so-called traditionalists and the innovators developed. For example, traditionalists were outraged when Bob Dylan began to use an electric guitar. His electrified performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival was to prove to be an early focal point for this controversy. Other exponents of amplified music (such as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span) saw the electrification of traditional musical forms as a means to reach a far wider audience.

At one of their concerts which I attended, Simon Nicol paused, paused some more and then informed the audience, “This next song is the only one we do … with two commas in its name.”  They then launched into Run. Johnny, Run. They lost a lot when Sandy Denny departed:

Jean-Michel Jarre

In early October 1998, the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, announced that he had commissioned French composer Jean-Michel Jarre to organize an all-night opera for the millennium. Details were then released in due course by the official Egyptian Tourist Authorities. They announced that Jarre would compose a 12-hours opera titled “The Twelve Dream of the Sun” for the sum of 10 million US dollars and that,

“At midnight a helicopter will fly into the site and, hovering in a starburst of lasers and spotlights, will place a gigantic gilded capstone atop the Great Pyramid –all to the accompaniment of what is expected to be an unprecedented Jarre crescendo of electronic music.

The gold cap, approximately 28 feet high (about the size of a two-story house) is being especially constructed to protect the pyramid structure. In place, it will catch the first light of the new millennium as the sun rises over Egypt. Capping pyramids with gold and timing important events to the setting and rising sun are very much part of the ancient Egyptian pharoanic tradition, making this piece of Jarre theatre particularly meaningful.”

It appears that the idea originated with Dr. Zahi Hawass, Under-secretary of State for the Giza Monuments:

Barbell madness – first day back

Object - Weight Barbell

Commenters warned me – find another gym which caters for the serious trainer.

I know, I know but there’s a pool metres from the weight room and it’s clean and new and light and the view over the water is lovely and everyone’s so lovely and incompetent and I do know how to do the programme for myself.

Of all the things which can and can’t be compensated for, the most annoying is leg curls.  There’s a machine for extensions [who needs it when the bike is being ridden?], there’s another machine for extensions but none for curls.  All right, you say, just use the bench.  Next time, I’m strapping dumbbells to my ankles.

Anyway, the first day was pretty inauspicious and cautious but one incident got my goat.  I came to the biceps about five exercises in and went over to the bar.  30kg was a bit much when reps was the goal so I went to take off a couple of weights.

No chance – needed an Allen key to undo.  Called the man in and he apologized but he couldn’t allow that.  “Look, ” I explained, “I need less weight to start with, if I want 20 reps.”

He nodded to the Smith machine.  I wanted to say, “Are you mad?  Who ever did biceps on the Smith?”  Then I paused, took a breath and asked a question I already knew the answer to:  “Who actually told you that it was OK to do bis on the Smith machine?”

“Elfan Safetee,” came the quick reply.

“Ah, I wonder how many of them train?  Look, it’s like this – when a person trains, he increases the amount he can lift by about 3-5kg each new time.  He therefore needs to be able to change the weights on the bar.  This is what gyms do.  This is what they’re about.”

“Sorry, you’ll have to use that machine [Smith].  You can change the weights on that.  Elfan Safetee, y’know.”

“Let me put a scenario to you.  Imagine I’m a newbie or an idiot.  You’ve told me I can’t lift any other weight except 30kg. So, when you leave the room, I lift the bolted in bar and do my back in because I’m an old codger and it was too much weight for me.  So, the club is liable and where is Elfan Safetee then? I only need say that Elfan Safetee wouldn’t allow me to lift the correct weight and they’re absolutely  f—– … er … not in a very good position.”

“Sorry, sir.  I truly am.  But the man came through and told us what we could and couldn’t do.”

“Fine, fine, of course, thanks for your help.”

I did the bis with dumbbells alternating.

To cut a long story to a medium length, it was a nice morning overall, the swim afterwards was lovely, the weather outside was lovely  and we’re back in harness.

Feel better already.

Angus Burns Dei rolls over

robert-burns3This blog does not celebrate birthdays and all the rest of it, least of all mine.  However, if something significant comes up, it gets a mention. 

Angus Burns Dei’s first birthday is today and rather than bake a cake, he has written a poem, an excerpt which appears below:

A year of blogging I have done
A whole twelve months, where has it gone
I started out with such passion
But has my passion now been rationed
Am I me or am I Angus
Are my posts more like a rebus

Did I take the easy path
And just try to make you laugh
Did I dodge the proper news
And my responsibility abuse
Do I know enough to say
My views on life from day to day

The New Rabbie, methinks.