misery loves company

April 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

On Fridays, when the week’s sleep deprivation has set in and no amount of espresso is enough to keep me energized but the weekend’s adventures are on the horizon, I begin feeling like one of those perturbed and lethargically grumpy heroines in 50’s and 60’s foreign films. The ones where they’re oppressed by the circumstances of life or stilted by the dominance of male forces in society, so they seethe and sulk and plot their escape behind silently scheming eyes. At least, I’d prefer to see my current mood through that lens instead of the caffeine resistant haggardness that is probably more accurate.

So, in honor of my cantankerous mood, here’s a homage to these types of women:

Brigitte Bardot in Le Mepris (Contempt)


Contempt is a 1963 Godard film where subtle differences in perception and miscommunication erodes a marriage between a couple who are constantly inflicting pain on each other like only people who truly love each other can. Bardot’s character retaliates with silence and feigned indifference with a quiet feminine strength. I love the tragedy in that the two characters love each other so fiercely that the perceived indifference from each other perpetuates their despair and consequent prideful disdain. They really just need to hug it out.

Anna Karina in Vivre Sa Vie

She’s got money troubles. She’s a prostitute. She’s upset.

Anouk Aimee in 8 1/2

Trust Fellini to show an englightened and empowered woman and then completely turn around and negate it right when she’s about to break through. His “autobiographical” film paints a portrait of his wife who, after years of putting up with his infidelity, begins to see how she and all the other women in his life are just pawns in his fantasy movieland and right when she’s figured it out and telling him what-for (spoiler alert) she turns around and resigns herself to it and goes dancing with him into the sunset. Sure, Fellini. In your own world. 

The musical remake of it, Nine, actually did a better job of keeping some feminism intact. I loved Marion Cotillard’s take on this character.

Rita Hayworth in Gilda

Okay, it’s not foreign but it takes place in South America and she encapsulates the attitude so perfectly. She’s just so deliciously bitter and spiteful. I love it.

Despite the apparent message in this post (animosity? spite?) things in my life are actually going quite well – I just think there’s something satisfying about reveling in some antipathy when you’re feeling tired and sub-par.


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what not to say in a fish shop it’s a party on my eyelids

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