Lazy Sunday and Cultural Observations

Paris essentially closes down on Sundays...and everyone flocks to the movie theaters! France is known for its film industry and there is always a huge selection of main-stream and foreign/independent movies....as well as dubbed American films. Right now, for example, Blood Diamond starring Leonardo Dicaprio is HUGE...there were lines wrapping around the block.

My friend and I, however, opted out and decided to see a French film called Odette Toulemonde [see photo above]. It was very cute and we laughed a lot....it was also very culturally revealing. Now, I realize that I am making generalizations, but it is true that watching films are very revealing about cultural norms.

In this film, as well as another that I saw not long ago, there was a married man with a child who had an affair with a younger woman. Now, we all know the stereotype of the French having many extra-marital affairs. I will not make that generalization; however, it was interesting to see that in both films it was merely a side-plot. I find that if there is adultry in American films, it tends to be a part of the MAIN PLOT and usually ends in the person cheating realizing their horrible mistake and begging for forgiveness from their spouse (and the audience who is automatically not on his/her side).

After the film, we discussed in length the different views of sexuality and relationships and how we (Americans) tend to look at adultry as black and white whereas the French tend to view it as something that happens because of a more serious problem with the relationship/marriage. If anybody has any thoughts on this, I would be curious to hear them so please feel free to comment!

In any case, it was a nice lazy Sunday filled with cultural observations.



amou said...

Great observation, Nahal jun. I don't know about France, but in the U.S., the idea of being pious or religious is still considered a good thing. But since it's hard to be religious, there is also a lot of hypocrisy. There is also a very strong idea that making money is good (capitalism as a virtue) and it’s clear to advertisers that sex sells. So what we have ended up with is a lot of sexual innuendo in the media and glamorizing of being “sexy” but a cultural taboo about acting on the “sexy” promotions. So as you said, in American movies, people who act on their desires are at the end made to pay a price to keep piety in tact. I’m sure there’s more to it than this little analysis but I think this is part of it. Back in the 1700’s when Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were American representatives in France, they commented about how much more free the French were about their sexuality than Americans.

::nahal:: said...

wow amou thanks for your comment! I didn't know that Jefferson and Adams commented on that....it is very facinating to think about how much the puritans made an impact on our present-day society....