They hopped the fence: how our ideas (and our chickens) take off
Tu te moques de moi? Why I don't knit anymore....

Voir un film en VO, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Freddie Mercury's new fan

Movie theater seats in la ciotat cinema lumiere
Because I forgot to mention, in my essay below, what it was that most moved me about the biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, I'll say it now: Freddie Mercury refused to let anyone, whether a close family member or a hot-in-pursuit suitor, define him. With his bold example he won my heart.

Today's Expression: voir un film en VO (version originale)

    : to see a movie in its original language

Jean-Marc and I have not been on a date in a very long time or, as they say here, depuis un bail. Instead of whining about it, I asked him out....

Let's go on a hike! I growled.

The hike got postponed but our date didn't... after my old man suggested a movie. The story of Freddie Mercury is playing en VO, at the cinéma, he said. I wasn't gripped by the suggestion, but, harrumph, it was that or the statu quo (does that mean same ol' same ol'? Well same ol' was getting old!)

Did you know our seaside town, La Ciotat, is the birthplace of cinéma? Here is where the Lumière Brothers set up camp--eventually building a palace for themselves and their cohorts. It is still there today and, for 250k euros you can buy an apartment within the rundown relic--something that might've appealed to Freddie Mercury who, I learned last night, had a whimsical taste and who might have enjoyed the historic movie theater inside the building.

Long digression over, let me continue about last night's date. Jean-Marc and I entered the Cinéma Lumière movie theater and, after ordering popcorn (they are now offering salted! Incredible, I only ever noticed sugared popcorn at French movie theaters) made our way upstairs to salle deux.

The little room was empty but for 10 rows of retro movie seats. Other moviegoers arrived only to decamp from seat to seat (the fauteuils are ancient and lumpy). I sunk right into mine and when the lights went out we were enraptured for the next 2 hours. So obviously moved was each an every spectator in the room, that nobody moved when the film credits came on at the end. 

He had us at incisors. He being the inimitable Freddie Mercury (played by the amazing Rami Malek). I was born with four additional incisors, Freddie was explaining in the opening to Bohemian Rhapsody, after two dejected bandmembers (who'd just lost their lead singer) made fun of his overbite. More space in my mouth means more range, he added, with flourish (his operatic voice singing to our own artistic genius buried somewhere deep inside, we hope). That is when the French, watching the entire film en VO, laughed out loud and were visibly (or audibly?) smitten by the hero.

Smitten, to say the least! I could not get home fast enough to cram. Determined to make up for lost time and watch and read anything I could find on the internet about Freddie Mercury who, the film enlightened us, was Parsi--born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, in 1946. He moved from India to England in his teens. Am I the only one who thought he was from Queens?

(No, I didn't really think this. But enough about my ignorance!)

I am currently engrossed in the Daily Mirror article Why Freddie Mercury Never Got His Teeth Fixed. The answer sums up all that I have not put into words about why he is the perfect mentor for a writer like me--and for anyone struggling to express themselves: He chose art over artifice.

This will mean something different to each of us. 
Perhaps the key word here is meaning: Freddie's gift wasn't to define it--but to get us to feel it. He did that with his additional incisors, his glorious voice--its operatic highs and lows reminding us of the path we are all walking. Freddie Mercury was never above us, he was equally one of us. A misfit-come-megastar, he never lost his heart. And he gave his best until the very end.

Carry on, carry on. (
I leave you with the lyrics I was humming on my morning walk. I'm new to Queen, so I've got lots of catching up to do, but a couple of words from Bohemian Rhapsody come back to me, and are all the advice a struggling writer or a struggling human needs: Carry on, carry on.)



P.S. Thank you for your tech empathy and computer help (especially Eric Lester), following the hop the fence post. My laptop is up to speed, after running all the updates which were clogging it!

Hp laptoc

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I love your screen saver. Beautiful blues. I will definitely go see this movie. I know nothing about Freddy M. Have a beautiful day.

Michele Fraser

Welcome to the wonderful world of Queen!! Xxx

Andrew Kleeger

There's a new movie, just released, starring Willem Defoe as Vincent VanGogh ... I can hardly wait to see it!

Perhaps I'm just crazy too, but VVG appeals to me on so many levels!

Beth Fiore Kral

Robert and I plan to see Bohemian Rhapsody in there next week. I have always LOVED Freddie Mercury and Queen. If you have never seen Freddy sing with Monserrat Caballé singing “Barcelona” together, you must watch it immediately!


I'd love to go to the La Ciotat cinema! The brothers were based in Lyon, at their father's photographic plate manufacturing factory, where what is considered the first motion picture was made. It shows workers leaving the factory. But many of the early films, including "L'Arivée d'un train en gare à La Ciotat," were made in La Ciotat, where the family owned a vacation house. You can see these and many more on YouTube.

I was lucky enough to be in Bologna in 2016, during the exhibit "Lumière! L'invenzione del cinematografo"; and this past October, I spent several interesting hours at the stunning Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Torino.


I was late to him as well. LOVED the biopic, and him. Thanks for this post! Fun to read and contemplate (again). <3 ps. glad you got a date night at last!


I love Killer Queen and Somebody to Love, great tunes!

Marilyn Miller

I saw the movie also and have been watching Queen Youtubes like crazy. Freddie had great charisma. The LiveAid videos are amazing. Wish I could have been there.

Beth Bright

Bonjour Kristi ~
Ohhh we also seen Bohemian Rapsody and fell in love with it. I like you couldn’t wait to get home and start pulling up more info to learn more about Freddy Mercury.

Wow is all I can say! Truly a love story! His passion for music, the woman (BTW is now living in his estate) he always loved and trusted and for his mother. Such sweet love ~.

Freddy certainly was an inspiration to us all ~
Beth / Okoboji, IA. USA

Jackie Mancuso

Okay, NOW I HAVE TO SEE IT. Your passion comes through loud and clear in this post and I love it. "He had us at incisors."

I was in London with two girlfriends on my graduation from college trip. We heard about a free concert at Hyde Park. I'd never seen anything like it and I'll never forget that day/night.

Jacqui Carter

Also, La Ciotat is home to our favourite French band, Moussu T!!! We saw them when they played in our home town of Norwich in Norfolk, UK.

We bought a small townhouse in Limoux, in the Aude, in 2006 and spend as much time there as my working life will allow.

For many years I have loved reading your blogs, and also plan to see the Freddie Mercury film very soon - my husband and I are lifelong Queen fans :) xxx

Carolyn Chase

Thank you for your sweet comment on my photo of Jeremy.

Not to be offensive, but I'd drop the "my old man" - what your say, even your self talk, even jokes, unconsciously influences your mind, and he deserves better. I can't imagine that you want to be thought of as his "old woman". My sweetheart, my favorite guy, even my husband, or simply his name, works just as well, and puts your mind in an attitude that's more positive.

Patricia Sands

Being from another generation, Kristi, the music of Queen and Freddie Mercury has long been part of my life's playlist. I loved the movie as you did! Fabulous in every way! The audience I was in was singing along on several tunes, and it felt like we were truly at a Queen concert! What a good date night choice! And yes ... "carry on, carry on". <3

Traci Nelson

It was an AMAZING film, wasn't it?!! I wish I could have seen it in the Ciotat cinema! So glad they did it in VO. I also was very inspired by Freddy Mercury's ability to be who he was and not apologize to anyone for it. I hope Rami Malek wins for best actor. Simply amazing.

Natalia Radula

Our dear Kristi,
Once again,your blog today has given us inspiration to enjoy Freddie Mercury
and Queen's music--but also! to MAKE time for a "date night" with your sweetie!
Like you,somehow these special time outs inched their way further and further back on our list of priority to-do list.
As destiny would have it,during an especially noisy, headache inducing day of maintenance repairs,for the sake of sanity we beat it to a movie.We had not been in ages,and were really impressed by not only the comfy seats,but how the experience had been upgraded from what we remembered.
Now this--and perhaps dinner to go along with it-- are part of our agenda!
Natalia XO

Sharon Guzman

That is so weird. Last week I saw Bohemian Rapsody 2 times. I was enthralled by his story and the music of Queen. I would definitely encourage everyone to see it. Something about it just spoke to me. I think Rami Malek is in for an Academy award. Unbelievably good!!


Amazingly entertaining movie about such a talented Freddy. Enjoyed every minute of the 2 hr movie and was surprised when leaving the theater we encountered a blizzard. Had to search for our car & then struggled along the snowy main road to get home. It was great to hear Queen’s music again. Highly recommended!!

Keith Van Sickle

Can't wait to see it! Queen's LiveAid performance was one of the all-time greats.

Kitty Wilson-Pote

To each her own, I think, Carolyn! I say that because your charming cautionary comment made me smile big. I am 73, widowed with two middle aged kids, and both of these wonderful individuals occasionally call me by a nickname they invented when I turned 4o. It's 'Old Woman' said with such warmth and loving tenderness that to my ears and heart it is the sweetest term of endearment in the world. One Woman's Joy is Another Woman's Misery, I guess, and that is to say ... chacun a son goût. All the best to you from this Old Woman in Canada.

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Can't wait to view this film, and glad to hear that the actor portraying Freddie M is up to the task. TERRIFIC how this tribute-pic is introducing Queen to those who missed catching the wave of joyous wonder Freddie generated over thirty years ago. He'd so love being rediscovered and knowing that his shining ever-youthful joie-de-vivre and talent rock on.

Ariane Csonka

There is also a touching interview with Caballé on youtube, talking about how Freddy and she composed the songs. And you must watch Freddy’s gorgeous falsetto Tribute to Rudolph Nureyev. You will weep.

Sarah LaBelle

VO=les Voix Originelles? Acronym is new to me. Ah, I found a source saying that means Version Originale. Pas de sous-titres ou dubbing, and no scenes cut. I do not know the French for dubbing.

Kristin Espinasse

To Carolyn and Kitty, thanks for these thoughtful responses re *old man*. The term was used, in the story, to refer back to our long streak with out a date. Maybe I can edit the story to reflect that point. Many thanks for your note.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Sarah, yes, that's it, en version originale. In this case we listened in English, to the original soundtrack, and the French translation was dubbed onto the screen.


Fantastic Freddiie M! The 2 part series on Queen was shown on TV yesterday and I am now a fan at the ripe old age of 87! Planning to see the film this week.
Love your posts Kristi and what a delicious husband you have!


I live in the Lot et Garonne, but spent sometime in the Aude, and visited Limoux, in our campingcar this summer. What a beautiful and unspoiled area it is. We shall definitely do some more exploring there.

I was not the biggest Queen fan, but my husband saw them back in the day and said Freddie Mercury was just amazing. I shall look up Moussu T!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Heather. I am delighted by your note!


That video was amazing! Thanks for sharing!!


Glad both of you enjoyed your night out! I too want to see the movie, having always been a Queen fan. I remember where I was and what I was doing the moment I heard that he had died.

Keep writing what you feel. One can never please everyone; like Freddie, be yourself!!

Mike Tooley

I haven't read all the comments but, having spent a week in La Ciotat, I think you should have attached a photo of the wonderful cinema façade.

Lesley-Ann Hoare

I'm so glad you enjoyed the movie. I went on my own last week in Perth, W Aust. because I was feeling a little low. Sat in the front row where I could sing, laugh and cry without seeing anyone else. How I loved it! Being a longstanding fan of Queen I loved every minute and wept copiously, especially in the last song. I hope you stayed for all the credits accompanied by original footage. Bisous. Lesley-Ann


Hearing about the Lumieres brothers reminds me about the movie "Hugo". It's several years old and is about a little boy in Paris whose job is resetting all the clocks in one of the railroad stations. He becomes involved in the life of Georges Melies, a French pioneer of movie production. It's very imaginative, with lots of colorful characters.


Unfortunately this bit of his life was not featured in the film, which was a shame as Freddie was magnificent singing with Monserrat Caballe. I guess they couldn't put everything in the movie but I feel that this was a great achievement on his part as he had always loved opera. The film was "magnifique!" Freddie was really one amazing human!


My partner and I watched "Bohemian Rhapsody" this week for our 'date night' also. It was fantastic. Here's an interesting interview with Rami Malek on playing Freddie Mercury: I can't believe one of the first scenes they shot was the LiveAid concert!

Ron Turner

Just catching up on this edition. (Visit to my daughter in Florida and then computer problems.) We loved the Film Bohemian Rhapsody especially as we have been Queen fans for a long time. We viewed it first in VO at our lovely modern cinema in Lucon, Vendée. The Star and the crew truly deserved their Oscars.
We saw the film again in Clermont Florida, accompanying my daughter who had not already seen it.
There were many good moments. Remember when the group were arguing and Freddy turned to others and said something like " without me Roger would still be an electrician and Briam would write a paper on Astrophysics which nobody would ever read". Well Brian now has a PhD in Astrophysics and when I was in Florida he was at NASA taking part in their latest launch activities. Imagine those guys being so talented in so many different things.

By the way, I have an interest in cinema and I did know of the history of your place at La Ciotat.

I detected an interest in Opera in your blog. Did you know that the Royal Opera House broadcast live opera and ballet from London to about 1000 cinemas throughout the world on certain days? These are live performances, as they happen, direct from the stage, and usually last about three hours including the intervals. For about €18 Euro per seat, its incredible value. We never miss a ballet and often get to the Opera too. Google ROH Cinema if it interests you. I bet there is a place near you.
Thanks for your blogs by the way. Hope you enjoy the summer.
Ron ( and Janette)

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