Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Those who love me can take the train

No, not Richard Branson's new ad – it’s the English title of a French film. It’s about an artist, Jean-Baptiste, living in Paris, who is dying from AIDS and asks to be buried in provincial Limoges, near his old family home. His friends sre apalled. Why does he want to be buried (literally) way out in the sticks, a four-hour train ride away, when all his friends live in Paris? His response is ‘Ceux qui m'aiment prendront le train’ – those who love me will take the train.

The film is the story of the journey of Jean-Baptiste's friends, ex-lovers and relatives, mostly strangers to each other, and the process of their getting to know each other. You start to think that the wily Jean-Baptiste must have known exactly what he was doing – as if the journey was some kind of test to see who really did care for him - in bringing them all together, knowing that they would get along, and possibly share each others' grief.
In today’s fragmented world, it might be a good principle for any significant event - wedding, bar mitzvah or anniversary – as a way of filtering out those who only come for the beer, and of bringing closer together the ones who care, and whom you love.
But you must ensure that the event be held in a distant location – and that it has a railway line.

'Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.' The young Dylan Thomas tried desperately to get his father to be angry about dying. But why should he if he doesn’t feel it? Men do not anger easily.
It’s a well-known fact that women, more than men, have a tendency to rage - to lose their tempers when inanimate objects fail to do what is expected of them. Let a suitcase not fasten, a door fail to close or a pair of glasses hide from immediate view, and it will be anthropomorphized into a villain - no matter that the suitcase was still locked from its previous use, that the door could not close because a rug was left lying in front of it, or that the glasses were left in another room.
A man, on the other hand, on striking his thumb with hammer or locking himself out of the house, would simply say, ‘Now wasn't that careless of me’.

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