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!
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