Jane Birkin and the Oscar nominated high speed train

Anyone who visits this site regularly knows I am mad about Jane Birkin. I recently received my DVD copy of Jane’s latest film – a short film called La femme et le TGV (trans. the woman and the high-speed train).  It’s a 30 minute film, incredibly well-made by Timo von Gunten, who both wrote and directed it.   The story, based on real events, is about a lady called Elise Lafontaine, who waves at the high-speed train each day when it passes her little house.  One day she receives a little note from the train driver and they become penfriends.  But things change when the route for the high-speed train is altered and the train no longer goes past Elise’s house.  I don’t want to give too much away because you really need to see it, but I will say it is a warm and funny film that more than deserved its Oscar nomination this year.  Unfortunately, it did not win the Oscar but it has already scooped up multiple awards because it is so excellent.If you go to the website here, you can pay to watch online or buy yourself a DVD copy, which has bonus features and the disc looks great because it is designed to look like a record.  It’s either £3.59 to watch on Vimeo or £12 to buy a DVD.  There are numerous subtitles, so language need not be a barrier!  And, look, here is Jane wearing the blouse which is now in my collection! http://www.tgv-movie.com/


My Favourite Stuff: Jane Birkin’s Blouse

Well, I am one happy bunny.  I am now the proud owner of Jane Birkin’s blouse as worn and seen in her latest film (a short) called La femme et le TGV (dir Timo von Gunten, 2016).

Jane Birkin Blouse We-ll_be_all_forgotten_sometimesJane wearing her blouse – now MY blouse!

I’ve not tried it on but I must admit I did sniff it to see if there was essence of Jane on the blouse – nothing doing, folks!  I shall treasure it and keep it very carefully with my other Jane Birkin memorabilia.

The film, which I have not seen yet aside from a trailer, will be available shortly.  I have pre-ordered a copy of the DVD, which will be sub-titled in several languages.  You can pre-order a copy yourself or even buy Jane’s cardigan or skirt, or other props from the film at very affordable prices here:  http://www.tgv-movie.com/tickets.html


La femme et le TGV will premiere at the Locarno Film Festival next week on 5 August 2016.  You can get tickets for the screening or you can buy a download or a DVD – or even just support the project with a donation (see the link above).  The film sounds lovely and I can’t wait to see it.

Many thanks to the TGV Movie Team for letting me buy the blouse and good luck with the premiere next week!


Michel Houellebecq and his recipe for Eroticism

Yesterday I watched Michel Houellebecq’s short film La Rivière, which was produced by Canal+ presumably to, ahem!, fill some slot in their programming schedule in 2001.  What slot they required to be filled I can only imagine, because this is essentially a soft core lesbian porno.

Now, I have previously read Will Self’s comment that Houellebecq is “just a little guy who can’t get enough sex” – but I dismiss this because Houellebecq’s height has nothing to do with anything (unless, of course, he is experiencing problems in reaching for some “top shelf” material) and, anyway, Will Self is, in my opinion: (i) just a guy who looks like a feeble-minded monster, (ii) a verbose and tedious writer.  So why take any notice of his opinionated opinion?

But when considering what I thought Houellebecq might have done with a short film entitled “Eroticism seen by Michel Houellebecq”, I had thought it might be more interesting than it was.  I get the lesbian thing – it’s a given that for some reason or other men seem to be interested in the idea of women together – but why, I wonder, does Houellebecq’s idea of eroticism include various tedious (and essentially pointless) conversations between two of the women?

Perhaps he didn’t think that a film that consisted solely of lesbian sex would be “erotic” enough, but I’m not sure why conversations like this would even feature in someone’s idea of eroticism:

Conversation One

Woman 1:  Your house is ancient

Woman 2:  12th Century – it was a Cathari fortress.  There’s been a lot of fighting for this place.  In the 20th Century it became an inn

Conversation Two

Woman 1:  When did the first men appear?

Woman 2:  400,000 years ago – a little higher in the valley

Woman 1:  The memorial isn’t mentioned…

Woman 2:  How old is your map?

Woman 1:  10 years old

Woman 2:  Things have changed…

Conversation Three

Woman 1:  When did you plant them?

Woman 2:  Seven years ago.  They died suddenly

Woman 1:  You don’t know what they died of?

Woman 2:  No, we didn’t try to find out.  We just buried them.  Naked, in the ground, with nothing.  Above each body we have planted a tree

Woman 1:  Are you sure they were the last ones?

Woman 2:  They told us.  They knew they were the last ones.  They knew they were going to die

Okay, so perhaps men do not feature in Houellebecq’s idea of eroticism, so there’s no German guy turning up to fix the photocopier they have installed in their 12th Century Cathari fortress – but is there really any need to make excuses for the lesbian sex?  The boring conversations above explain that there are no men, so this is presumably the reason why these 7 women are now turning to each other to fulfil their sexual needs; they’re lesbians by necessity.  But why they even have to go into the history of the Cathari fortress, I don’t know.

The women don’t bother to have a conversation about why they walk around naked except for a bandeau they wear around their midriff; they don’t explain this at all.  So here’s my imagined conversation about the bandeau:

Woman 1:  Why do we have to wear the bandeau?

Woman 2:  If we didn’t we would be totally naked and that wouldn’t be quite so exciting – I won’t have seen you totally naked until you remove your bandeau

Woman 1:  I see…

Woman 2:  Plus, if we didn’t wear a bandeau we would get chafe marks from our rucksacks

Woman 1:  Now you put it that way, I understand

I shouldn’t knock La Rivière totally – the cinematography is good; the film is well-made.  It’s just that it’s too half-assed to be a porn film and it’s also too boring – I don’t know much about lesbian sex but they really didn’t seem to be making much of an effort.  And on the other hand it’s not interesting enough as a narrative for it to be considered an “art-house” film that just happens to contain some lesbian sex.  But I guess everyone’s idea of what is erotic is personal and different.

In case you’re interested, I’ve made one of my little diagrams summarising Houellebecq’s “eroticism”:

Michel Houellebecq recipe for eroticism diagram