Tonight I watched a French film, I've Loved You So Long, starring Kirstin Scott Thomas. A light film about a woman recently released from 15 years in prison for the murder of her son. How I miss France...
I joke but indeed it brought up some mixed emotions about my semi-adopted home....Watching the film, I felt a thrill watching the way people looked, dressed, walked, interacted, the cafes and architecture. And appreciated the primer--little expressions that reimpressed itself on my tres rusty francais or new ones jotted down. I felt a surge of--yes, I am so ready to be back.
Scott Thomas is a British actress (known for example for her role in The English Patient) but has lived in Paris since she was 19, was married to a Frenchman, and speaks fluent French. Not just her language, but her way of being seems somehow more French than British to me. And yet in the film, they need to create the subterfuge that she is a Franco-Brit, with a British mother, because even Scott Thomas can't really pass. You either are or you're not.
When in France, I'm often reminded of the joke about the New Yorker who has transplanted himself to Maine. He asks one of the taciturn "down-Easters", "I know I'll never be considered a real Mainer, but how about my children, who will be born here?" The response: "If a cat gives birth in the oven, do you call the kittens muffins?"