Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The "winner" of yesterday's "presidential" debate: Clinton. The loser: the American people

There was a “winner” after last night’s three-ring circus that many in the media mistakenly referred to as a “presidential” debate, and there was very decidedly a loser. The loser was not Donald Trump, despite doing everything possible to throw the game away. He allowed Hillary Clinton to bait him on inconsequential questions about his taxes and a loan from his father, he didn’t offer anything in terms of specific policy proposals, just his usual cast of public “enemies” portrayed in disproportionate to reality. For example, he repeated his claim that the US ist losing jobs because of NAFTA; the reality is that it has lost much if not most of its manufacturing and apparel jobs to China and other Pacific Rim countries.  Trump again played the racial paranoia card; while the homicide rate among Hispanics is higher than that of whites, it is only 1/3 that of blacks, and I think Hispanics should be deeply offended by Trump’s assertion that their communities are “dangerous” when that is  a decidedly relative term. 

Viewers and radio listeners heard a man who apparently was so inflated with self-regard that he did not take the debate seriously and didn’t bother to prepare, and clearly had little natural grasp of politics and policy. All he could present were tired platitudes and inflammatory rhetoric that might excite bigots, nativists and xenophobes, but behind it was nothing. 

Yet it was not Trump who “lost,” it was America, who has to choose between this buffoon and the “alternative,” who at least according to the media was the “winner” by default. Yes, Clinton sound “commanding”—or was her usual imperious condescension and patronization, that she is superior to you or me or anyone in a pantsuit? The well-rehearsed lies that Clinton has been practicing in deceiving the American people since at least 1993 with the first Clinton presidency scandals—one which resulted in the “suicide” of a “close friend” and law partner of Clinton’s—and let us not forget that people were convicted of crimes in those scandals in which the Clintons were the prime beneficiaries, and investigations repeatedly revealed that Hillary Clinton especially lied over and over again about her involvement as well as her husband’s. Why should she be “rewarded”—let alone entrusted—with supreme power? Because she is a woman and it will be “historic” if she is elected?

Yet Trump failed the American people more than himself in repeatedly failing to play this card. This “trump” card should be the key question in people’s minds before they decide that Clinton is “presidential” material. Is she too corrupt and deceiving to be trusted with the highest office in the land? The “best” one can say about Trump is that he is at least “sensitive” to public opinion, especially when it turns against him. Clinton? She couldn’t care less what the public thinks, privately; she will do whatever the hell she feels like. Yes, the debate moderator never broached the issue of trustworthiness, but Trump had opportunities to bring up Clinton’s long and sordid history beyond the “cybersecurity” issue, which he punted away as well, only mentioning that Clinton’s aids had taken the “Fifth” in regard to her email server business. 

Trump fared no better in foreign affairs, allowing Clinton to portray him as trigger-happy madman. Yet do we want someone as cavalier about state secrets and self-conscious about how she is viewed as Clinton is with her finger on the trigger? Clinton of course lied repeatedly about her “accomplishments” as the Secretary of State. She had nothing to do with building the “coalition” against Iran’s assumed nuclear play; that predated the Obama administration. Not only that, she had nothing to do with the eventual treaty, although she spent much time taking false credit for it. The truth is that not a single significant international treaty was signed during her tenure, likely because of a lack of “respect” for the Secretary and her condescending, patronizing tone to world leaders she needed most to be less so.

As the debate neared its end, Clinton was allowed to bring manic gender politics into the fray, which I’m sure many male listeners were turned off by. Defending her “stamina,” she pointed to her travelogue of a 112 different countries. I have already spoken to that free ride on the taxpayer dime; in the most of those countries, Clinton flew in on a government plane, rode around in a cushy limousine, stomached the local culture for a few minutes, maybe tried hard to absorb a bite of the local cuisine, had a photo-op with the president/dictator, and flew right back out, probably sneering contemptuously about him/her.  

The bottom line is that the American people lost last night because it was proven once and for all that the people who voted for Trump in the primaries were clearly out of their minds, allowing their hate to govern whatever iota of reason they possessed, while once more Clinton was allowed to escape unscathed any exposure of her history of corruption (both personal and political) and perjury. One should find it extremely disturbing in Clinton’s personality that she continues to deny any misconduct on her part whatever, continues to treat the American public as if they are completely blind to her transgressions, believing every lie like the simpletons she takes them for. Yet Clinton was able to arrogantly claim “victory” in the debate, due to Trump’s incompetence as a “politician,” one like Clinton who has all her lines burned to memory so well she will never need a teleprompter.

Monday, September 26, 2016

If it is someone you hate, he must be Hispanic

Soon after the Cascade Mall shooting in Burlington, WA this past weekend, where five people were killed by a lone assailant, it was all over CNN, all the networks, USA TODAY and the Washington Post. The Seattle Times, of course, is Johnny-on-the-spot. There was surveillance video and eyewitness descriptions of the heinous killer, and when the police announced that the suspect was “Hispanic,” this was immediately broadcast throughout the world, as if this bit of information was “meaningful.” The Seattle Times, of course, has claimed before that it never identifies a shooter’s race until the suspect is actually arraigned in court, but this seems only to apply if the suspect is black, because the Times doesn’t want to appear to be assuming any unfair stereotyping of any particularly group, although it violates this “principle” over and over again when it comes to Hispanics. In “justifying” identifying the still at large shooter as “Hispanic,” the Times claimed that “Most major news outlets, including The Seattle Times, mention race or ethnicity in relation to crimes only if the crime is considered racially motivated or if an armed, dangerous suspect is on the loose.” 

But more interesting is this little tidbit related by the Times: “When journalists asked at a Saturday press conference why authorities believed the gunman to be Hispanic, Mount Vernon Police Lt. Chris Cammock said the description was based on the surveillance photos and the man’s dark hair.”  And this is the crux of the matter. How many people in this country could be mistaken for “Hispanic”? I know of a few “Black Irish” types who are upset when they are taken for Hispanic. In fact, anyone who is vaguely “ethnic,” with dark skin, dark hair, dark eyebrows, does not appear “Caucasian” can and often are “mistaken” for Hispanic. 

The mall shooter, Arcan Cetin, is a Turkish immigrant, who was regarded by acquaintances as “creepy,” an attitude that likely “inspired” his actions. But the point is that Cetin is not Hispanic: the Times editors might have had an emergency meeting to come up with a “policy” on identifying race or ethnicity of a suspect to rationalize their own culpability in assuming that anyone who looked dark and “ethnic” and not immediately identified as Middle Eastern must be “Hispanic.”

How to “explain” this purposeful “mistakenness”? Can it be the inclination of many, especially on the extreme right and the likes of Ann Coulter, Lou Dobbs, Michelle Malkin, Pat Buchanan—and, of course, Donald Trump—with their excessive paranoia and hate that almost any suggestion that a Hispanic is involved in a “heinous” crime is subject to “special” attention, because “Hispanics”—even those who are citizens—are social and cultural “aliens” who frankly are only permitted to be spoken about in this country (usually in negative terms), rather than actually being allowed to speak for themselves because, frankly, they have no rights anyone in this country is bound to respect. Especially in the media, where unlike blacks are not even permitted the right to have a “token” who is allowed to stand as “evidence” to give the “lie” to the stereotypes.

And yes, the media is so hypocritical. Hispanics are supposedly the largest minority group in this country, yet who speaks for them in the mainstream media? No one. Whites and blacks are the only people that "matter" in this country, and the omnipresence of the latter in the media is meant to establishes that it is only a few bad apples who are responsible for the dysfunctions of their community. The bottom line in this country is that if you need someone to hate or place blame, Hispanics are the go-to group, because there is no one in the media to consider before they leap to their preconceived assumptions.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week 3 NFL Notes

One of the story lines in the national sports media was when or if Aaron Rodgers was going to break out of his slump, and I purposely left the quotes out of that. This Sunday’s game against the Lions was certainly going to be a test, since Matthew Stafford has a history of putting up big numbers against the Packers, and this game was no exception: 28 0f 41 passing for 383 yards and three touchdowns, and the Lions out-gained the Packers 418 to 324. The Lions also scored 24 of the last 27 points of the game. But those numbers were only part of the story. In the first half, Rodgers completed 12 of 19 passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns as the Packers built a 31-3 lead, before apparently taking their foot of the accelerator, or so Packer fans would like to believe. Rodgers threw only five passes in the second half as Packers managed just one field goal as the Lions rallied to make a game of it before losing 34-27. Jordy Nelson had a Jordy Nelson-like game, so the question is can Rodgers and company play four quarters of high-caliber offense, since their defense isn’t going to save them from themselves. Once more, that is a question mark that this game did not answer.

Bills 33 Cardinals 18 The Cardinals were expected to win this game fairly handily, but Carson Palmer was sacked five times and threw four interceptions, something that he occasionally does. How to explain 33 points from the Bills after their offensive coordinator was fired? One local commentator suggested that the new offensive coordinator “simplified” the playbook for Tyrod Taylor, which is something we hear quite often for quarterbacks like him. What does this mean? Taylor’s passing day was something along the order of horrible, but at least he only threw one interception and ran for nearly as many yards rushing as he did net passing (89 passing yards, 76 rushing yards). 

Raiders 17 Titans 10 Sloppy game that turned, of course, on a stupid penalty by the Titans’ left tackle after a 19-yard completion got the Titans within game-tying position at the Raiders’ 3 with a minute to play. ESPN is busy critiquing Titan quarterback Marcus Mariota’s seven turnovers this season; wonder what they think of Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston, who have all turned the ball over considerably more times after the first three weeks of the season than he has. 

Dolphins 30 Browns 24 The Browns should have won this game in regulation, except that their kicker missed a 46-yard field goal as time expired (were the laces “out”?). Am I wrong about the Browns’ Terrelle Pryor? This multi-purpose talent not only threw five passes for 35 yards, but he ran four times for 21 yards and a touchdown, and was the Browns’ leading receiver with 8 catches for 144 yards. Hell, Tom Matte never did all three in one game. This must be what happens when a player is not square-pegged into a round position he is not best suited for.

Vikings 22 Panthers 10 I have a question, and be honest about your answer: With the player who should have been last season’s MVP (Adrian Peterson) out for a while, who would you rather have as your quarterback—Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater? I always thought that Bridgewater was the Vikings’ quarterback for political reasons, not because he was a solid player at the position. If Bradford continues his solid play, will the Vikings make the “political” move when Bridgewater is healthy again, or stick with the guy who gives them their best chance to win? It shouldn’t be that tough a decision, since the Vikings are 3-0 without Bridgewater or Peterson, who was a non-factor when he did play, but no doubt the Vikings will make it “tough” because they “have to.” Meanwhile, we saw how Cam Newton plays during the good times; in the bad times, Newton is as helpless as a big baby.

Ravens 19 Jaguars 17 Another sloppy game with neither offense getting on track, and turnovers giving short fields the difference. The Jaguars led 17-16, but a blocked field goal attempt late in the game gave the Ravens another short field in which to convert the game-winning field goal.

Broncos 29 Bengals 17 Before you jump on the Trevor Siemian bandwagon after 312-yard, 4-TD performance in this game, remember that coming into this game he had a 1 to 3 TD to INT ratio, and 74.4 QB rating. That said, the Broncos are 3-0 with him as quarterback after this impressive win on the road against an allegedly quality team. I hate to say it, but the Broncos’ management might have been on to something when they decided to let Brock Osweiler go and keep this guy around—especially after Thursday’s debacle.

Redskins 29 Giants 27 If there is any one of Brett Favre’s career passing records that will be seemingly “safe” from being broken besides his 297 consecutive starts (his career yardage and TD pass records have already been exceeded by Peyton Manning), it is his most “infamous” record—336 career interceptions in 302 games. Right now, the only quarterback who stands a chance of breaking that dubious mark is Eli Manning, whose two interceptions in this game gives him 202 in 188 games in 12+ seasons. Now, to put my math hat on, that means that in order to break Favre’s record, at the rate he is currently going Manning would have to play another 125 games.  That means will have to play every game this season and the next seven. If he does so, he will also break Favre’s consecutive starts record as well. Come to think of it, maybe I’m not so keen for Manning to hang around that long.

Seahawks 37 49ers 18 Obviously I am not happy about this result. Blaine Gabbert was as bad as advertised through three quarters, that is until Russell Wilson twisted his knee and didn’t play the rest of the game. Wilson’s backup, Trevor Boykin, threw an interception that led to a 49ers’ touchdown, which is what happens when you deliberately keep substandard talent to keep your “star” from being “challenged.” We’ll see how this all plays out, because we haven’t seen Wilson play when he is truly immobilized, like Robert Griffin III. 

Chiefs 24 Jets 3 Now come on. Isn’t Ryan Fitzpatrick supposed to be an Ivy Leaguer? Maybe he left his brain in a glass jar as an anthropology exhibit back at Harvard. Six-count-them-six interceptions in this game; even Geno isn’t that dumb. Yeah, Favre did that kind of thing all the time with the Packers, but at least he threw a couple of touchdown passes in between. 

Colts 26 Chargers 22 Andrew Luck and the Colts finally get on track. Luck is at least putting up the kind of numbers he did in 2014, meaning that he is not “regressing” the way some snubbers claimed last season, not taking into consideration his rib injury. After the horrible performance of the Texans against the Patriot’s third-string quarterback, the Colts look like the “cream” of the AFC South again.

Rams 37 Buccaneers 32 Electrical storms were always exciting at the airport, so I know how it was for the fans down in Florida during this game. Too exciting, perhaps, for Rams fans; Jameis Winston, who threw for 405 yards, at least made things “electric” after the storm had passed in the waning seconds, but he has only himself to blame for the loss otherwise, the game turning on his fumble that was returned 77 yards for a touchdown. The other notable factoid is that after failing to score a touchdown in their first two games, the Rams scored five in this game.

Eagles 34 Steelers 3 An impressive win for the Eagles and their rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who through three games has 5 TD passes and 0 interceptions. Wentz was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft out of backwoods North Dakota State, so somebody must have been doing their homework on this guy.

Patriots 27 Texans 0 On the face of it, Bill Belichick exhibited his “genius” by limiting third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to just what he could be expected to do without screwing things up. This meant throwing the ball as little as possible, and employing Brissett’s reflex to run with the ball. The Texans did the rest, either with turnovers or losing the ball on downs. 

I’m not going to waste time on the Cowboys-Bears late game; the Cowboys led 24-3 at halftime, and if Brian Hoyer (in for the injured Jay Cutler) can somehow manufacture a comeback victory, then I’ll be more than surprised—I’ll be stupefied beyond measure.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Lacemaker—a film about the failure of the “perfect” match

A few weeks ago I wrote about a film, Looking For Mr. Goodbar, that has never been “officially” released on DVD, and officially remains out-of-print. Another film I would be happy to see properly restored on DVD has been out-of-print for a couple of decade is the 1977 French film La Dentellière, also known by its English title, The Lacemaker, directed by Claude Goretta and starring Isabelle Huppert and Yves Beneyton. There are of course “unofficial” DVDs of this title available, picture quality ranging from unwatchable (the Asian-pirated version you find on Amazon) to merely “watchable.” A PAL TV widescreen broadcast rip is the best I’ve seen of this film, and I had to use a software application to “burn” English subtitles that were poorly translated from the French onto it. 

There seems to be no explanation for The Lacemaker’s failure to be released on DVD. It isn’t “controversial” or violent or overly sexual, and it is sympathetic to its female characters. Criterion, which specializes in restoring older, “classic” films, did release The Lacemaker on laserdisc back in 1990. I admit I was a big laserdisc guy when I was in the Army; in fact, I was the only soldier in the entire company who owned a laserdisc player. I still own one of the LD of The Lacemaker, although I no longer have a player to run it. I do have a DVD-r ripped from the LD, but because it is in analogue rather than digital format, it looks little better than an old VHS copy. I only keep the disc as a curiosity from the past, as big as an old vinyl LP, a shiny oversized Christmas ornament. 

I wondered why Criterion had not released this film on DVD and contacted them, insisting that this time they reply to my query. I was informed that it was not due to a lack of interest on their part; in fact, Criterion was keen to release Lacemaker on DVD and possibly Blu-ray. However, they had only been granted a license for a  laserdisc release, and they had been unable to re-license this film and other titles that it had previously released on that format. If Criterion ever regained licensing rights for these films, I was told, they certainly would release them on DVD. 

Now about the film. It seems to have been partially inspired by the 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, whose principle subjects tended to be women engaged in simple activities in closed spaces, their demeanor suggesting an “inner harmony.” One of his paintings, “The Lacemaker,” was used as the title of the film; although there is no “lacemaker” in the film, it is clearly meant to convey a state of being.

The story is deceptively simple, its denouement fairly predictable, yet leaves one with contradictory sentiments. Despite the film’s efforts to manipulate the viewer’s sympathies, no one here is a villain, and those who offer advice and observations often seem not to know of what they speak. This is contrary to most critics view of the film, but I'm just calling it how I see it.

The story concerns Beatrice (Huppert), or “Pomme” as she is called by those closest to her (“apple” in its literal translation)—who is “training” to be a hairdresser, although her tasks tend toward the menial.  She lives with her mother, but spends considerable time with her one friend, a hairdresser named Marylene (Florence Giorgetti) who seems to be a slightly unstable. Marylene is apparently attached to Pomme because of her need for a companion who not too judgmental, as Pomme rarely speaks unless spoken to, and then only in curt phrases that never suggests an opinion of her own. We learn than Pomme’s father left her mother and herself years ago; it is not clear what effect this had on her personality, although we are supposed to assume that it did. 

After a period of neurotic behavior after her latest boyfriend phones her to announce their break-up, Marylene decides to take Pomme along with her on a vacation to some sea-side resort town. After a dull day or two they go to a discotheque, where Pomme merely sits quietly while the no longer young Marylene  makes a fool of herself trying to impress a “hip” crowd with her dance moves. The next day Pomme walks the beach alone and stops at a café, where she has a dish of ice cream. A slim young man wearing a tennis outfit is seen coming down the sidewalk, picks-up a newspaper, notices Pomme sitting alone,  enters the café, and comes back out and sits at a table next to her. His name is Francois, and he attempts to engage in conversation with her. He is a university student and from an upper-middle class family. 

Francois’ attempts at being witty, knowing and even self-deprecating only draw polite smiles and a word or two in response from Pomme. The scene abruptly ends, and the next day we see Pomme walking the beach, and Francois apparently driving around in search of her. He gives up  and plays tennis by himself, hitting a ball against a fence. Pomme may or may not be looking for him too, since she passes the tennis courts, but after he left. Eventually they encounter each other along the beachside, where they both confess that they do not like mingling with the “multitude.” Again he attempts to converse with her, but if he finds her lack of response frustrating, he does not show it. She simply tags along, smiling whenever he addresses her. They go to a casino, where Francois loses money. 

Next they are in Pomme’s beach cottage, where Francois is clearly embarrassed at his failure to impress her at the casino. They have a small supper, and afterwards they just sit around a table in silence, leaving Francois uncomfortable and Pomme continuing to smile and responding to his question with brief affirmatives or negatives. Francois, by now quite uncomfortable, looking about and notices a volume of Guy De Maupassant stories on a table, and reads a poetic passage from the book, about the refraining from frightening away bird by keeping silent; it seems to be an “apt” description of the present circumstances.

Next they are in an old World War II cemetery, where they encounter Marylene and her a new boyfriend, a middle-aged rather than younger man. Francois doesn’t seem pleased with meeting them, probably because he is uncomfortable with strangers. Afterwards Francois and Pomme take a drive and he questions  her on her ambitions, discovering that not only does she have none other than being a hairdresser, she is not particularly curious about the world, her life revolving around “work” and “home.” She admits to never having had a boyfriend, and to being a virgin, which apparently causes her no embarrassment. She says that boys do not interest her, but Francois is “different.” He is “polite.” That night when Pomme goes to bed, it is clear that she is preparing for the probability of consummating their relationship.

Next Francois takes Pomme to high sea-side cliff, where he tests her “trust” in him by following his directions with her eyes closed, which seems to please him. Then he takes her to his family’s home in the country, while his parents have gone away. That night Pomme sleeps with Francois, and soon they appear to be a happy couple. Pomme takes him to visit her mother, and again Francois seems uncomfortable in the presence of a stranger. Pomme moves in with Francois, and she seems to be happy playing house. His friend Gerard meets her and  tells Francois that whoever marries her will do very well. “You thinks so?” says Francois, with just a touch of doubt. Later he tries to persuade Pomme to “develop her personality,” perhaps attending classes. Is Francois so self-conscious about his own status that he apparently feels that Pomme would be a drag on his ambitions, whatever they may be? Is he afraid that her personality might possibly be interpreted by some as a mild case of mental retardation? Pomme is clearly not that, but in less sympathetic company she would seem distinctly unimpressive. But Pomme likes to live “like this”—meaning quiet and simple, and she prefers to “learn things” from Francois.

We then see Francois in attendance of a discussion group on Marxist ideology; a lot of high-sounding words are used, and Pomme is silent throughout. It is not clear if she understood anything they said. Afterward, Francois senses that she was “bored,” and when he questions her, it is clear that she didn’t understand the concepts of the discussion. It is at this point that Francois has clear doubts about their relationship, although Pomme behaves as if nothing has changed. They encounter Marylene and they stop at her apartment; once more we see Francois with his nervous tic, picking at his ear when he is uncomfortable. Later he advises Pomme to find another job, other than washing the hair of old ladies. It is not their—or rather, his—world. The smile starts to fade from her face. Then Francois introduces Pomme to his parents. During dinner, Pomme—who says nothing at all—embarrasses Francois by choking badly on some food; while his father is nonjudgmental, his mother says little in the way of support. 

Later we see Francois crossing a busy city street, not waiting for Pomme to cross with him. Theirs is clearly a relationship on the downs, at least as far as he is concerned. She undresses for him, but now even sex with her doesn’t interest him. Francois tells her that they will never be happy, that they are too different. It is clear, however, that is more true for him that it is for her. He takes her back to her mother’s appartment. His friends tell him they would have made a good couple, but for him too much was “closed.” They scold him that there was so much she could have given him, that he is condemning himself to his own private little world.  

Meanwhile Pomme is clearly suffering from a breakdown and a complete withdrawal from life. Eventually she winds up in a psychiatric hospital. Francois feels remorse, and resolves to visit her. His friends call him a “strange fellow” and he “acted badly,” but agree to accompany him. Does he feel he made a mistake? Francois and Pomme speak in banal pleasantries on the grounds, but surprisingly reveals that she retains the pleasant memories of their time together. But she also reveals evidence of withdrawal into a fantasy world, when she tells him of visit to Greece; we discover later that this is figment of her imagination, drawn from tourist posters of Greece in the sitting room at the hospital. She will be leaving the hospital soon, but she is clearly not “healed.” At the end of the film, Pomme is sitting at a table and turns toward the camera and stares at the viewer; it is the expression we see of the lacemaker in the Vermeer painting. What are we to read in her expressionless face?

It would be easy to make simplistic interpretations about the meaning of this film,  just as Francois’ friends do about his “behavior.” But two “shy” people generally don’t make good matches; not too long ago I quoted this passage from a Paul Simon song: “Some people never say those words ‘I love you.’ It’s not their style to be so bold. Some people never say those words ‘I love you.’ But like a child their longing to be told.” You can see the potential problem in a relationship between two people when one or more parties act in this way. Pomme’s thoughts and feelings are a complete mystery to Francois; yes, we can speculate that Francois should have understood her better, although this is the self-serving opinion of an outside observer. Pomme certainly acts out a typical life of domesticity, yet it is difficult to live with a person who will not talk at all; you have to pretend at times that they are not even present.

Francois, who we know is doesn’t like to “mingle” when we see him playing tennis by himself, initially sees in Pomme as someone who can relate to him in his reserve, but she is apparently less “reserved” than he, comfortable in her own skin. Francois does everything he can think of to persuade her to expand her mind, but it remains difficult to get more than a few simple words out of her, conveying her feelings or thoughts mainly through facial expressions.  Perhaps she could be described as “enigmatic,” but only in a very limited way, but this only frustrates Francois.

Francois is told by his friends that anyone would be “fortunate” to marry Pomme, but he can only respond with a “really?” He is doubtful. If he was less intellectually and socially conscious, perhaps he would be more accommodating. Sex isn’t necessarily what he’s after; he wants someone to talk to, but it is simply impossible to hold even a semblance of an philosophical conversation with her. He was attracted to her because she was alone, like he was; but otherwise they had nothing in common. His friends were more than unsympathetic to his “plight,” and they only saw what she could “give” him, without ever explaining what that was. That did not see that Francois did not wish to have a life partner who was happy just to do housework for him; he wanted someone be a real “partner” in life.

Nevertheless, we can deduce that if in fact Pomme suffered from a emotional collapse after the relationship ended, then her feelings about it had to be very strong;  there can be no other explanation for it other than she was always a “borderline” personality. To her mother and Marylene, she was just still a child, to be guided through life. But to Francois, she seemed almost indifferent to life; after all, she expressed almost no opinion about the world around her. She was just “living. But in Francois, who was “polite” and shy, this was someone who she could conceivably trust, and it was clearly difficult for someone like her to find someone like Francois to share her life with. But can we fault Francois, the “intellectual,” for wanting a companion he could at least talk to? Silence is not always “golden.”

The film ends with a quote: “He would have passed her without seeing her. Because she was one of those souls that do not show any sign, but those for whom it is necessary to question patiently, and you must know how to look upon them. A painter would have made her the subject of a tableau. She would have been a launderer, a water carrier, or a Lacemaker.” Was Francois “patient” enough to see their relationship through? Clearly not. Perhaps if he was less imaginative had accepted her as she was, someone who was content to simply stand silently by his side, so long as he remained “polite” and “reserved”? Or should he be judged harshly for not wanting just this in a partner?