31 July, 2009


A nearby hamlet (consisting of about five houses, a cafe, no post office but a fine old church) offers, each summer, cinema under the stars. You arrive in the deepening gloom, with your blanket and pillow under your arm, settle in one of the canvas deck chairs arranged in a field and watch a well-amplified film on a giant screen. The film begins as soon as the night constellations emerge (lately, around ten-ish). A horse trailer stands next to the building-high screen. There is a small, rather jerry-built stand for snacks, attended by a smiling ticket-taker.

If you arrive earlier, you can have the full menu of the day for 5 euros under the hand-painted Chez Paulette placard. Over house-made pate, red-bean salad, pelardon and brie, you can watch a small band play quirky, witty French music, under multi-colored fairy lights. Which is what we did. It all feels very intimate and redolent of endless summer. You become both reflective and expansive over the home-made berry cake, and commiserate with the local beekeeper about the plight of the bees.

The idea was to take my three year old (who'd napped--twice) to see a computer-animated film I thought was playing last night. Instead I got a stop-motion animated film that is rated R in the US (for violence, language and sex, as I was shortly to discover). I raised my eyebrows when I saw the opening credits, but ended up staying to watch the wry and unsettling $9.99; luckily for me, my son seemed to focus on the child-friendly bits, which allowed me to mostly exhale. I emphasized all the cute parts in high Pollyanna mode on the way home, calculating all the while the cost of his therapy once he turns eighteen.

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