Repertory Cinema and Sentimental Radio

I was quite taken in by The Beat That My Heart Skipped at the Mighty Bytowne Cinema last night. A French film by Jacques Audiard, not someone I had known before, but it’s gritty and kinetic and tough-minded. (Much of the dialogue was slangy enough that my attempts to forego the subtitles found my conservative ears missing whole chunks, forcing my eyes back into double-duty. No great hardship, but a slight poke at pretensions of fluency.) It asks the cinematic question: What happens when a restless thug finds in himself an obsession with and a talent for classical piano?

It’s a remake of something apparently very cheesy called Fingers that Harvey Keitel was in early in his career, and I wonder what an American film made of that ending. Presumably, it was much more sentimental than the French one, with a not-quite-redemption scene charged by a brutal return to the life left. I’ve never seen Romain Duris in anything, but he was a dynamo, as deeply believable in this straddling of two utterly different worlds as the film itself sometimes was not (but not often). We cheer for him, are compelled by him, even as we find him a difficult character to like. I’d go again (if I had a teenager’s time).


And, in an odd but soothing cross-cultural conjunction, I also lucked into the last night for Mary Lou Findlay on As It Happens as I drove away from the movies. [Warning: indignant rantings of an unrepentant CBC Radio-lover to follow. “What do you mean, you don’t know who Mary Lou Findlay is? Next, you’ll be telling me you’ve never heard of Michael Enright!”] I don’t often listen to AIH straight through, but I spent a fair amount of time last evening sitting in parking lots instead of completing my errands. It was a nostalgic journey of the kind I’m profoundly prone to: the best and funniest archival interviews done by Findlay, and warmhearted exchanges with her friend and partner, Barbara Budd. Such good and thoughtful people, such good and thoughtful radio. Fun.