Skip to main content

Francophilia

[Note: Check This $#!% Out was originally a seperate blog but is now a feature of patokon blog]

Since my kindergarten class where we had a guest teacher with a monkey puppet that spoke only French, I've been interested in the French language. My interest never went as deep as my interest in Asian languages, but deep enough that I have several dozens of books in or about French. My first French movie exposure was the stylish thriller DIVA. The opening opera scene still gives me goosebumps just due to the amazing singing of Wilhelminia Wiggins Fernandez. It would be another few years before I got to see Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita. A few years after that I saw the fantastic comedic horror (or horrific comedy) Delicatessen, and the classic slapstick spy comedy, The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe.
 
I really enjoyed these two genres of French film, the comedy and the action thriller and always looked forward to finding new works by these actors and directors. The City of Lost Children, Amelie, the Taxi series and Trip to the Moon are some others I can recommend. Point Blank, a relentless action rollercoaster, is probably the last French film I really enjoyed.
This is a crazy-funny movie that you should track down and watch right now!
There was a very $#!tty remake of this with Tom Hanks that you should definitely avoid. 
In addition to movies, I love comics and Francophone comics (or BD, short for bande dessinée) are some of the best! I was first exposed to the genius of Moebius through the animated film Heavy Metal and later on I became a big fan of his work on one of the greatest Western comics, Blueberry. I can't even list my favorite BD as they are legion, but I can mention two of my favorite recent creators, Arthur de Pins (I fell in love with his naughty comedy strip Péchés mignons) and Kerascoët (artist of Miss Don't-Touch-Me and Jolies Ténèbres).
Arthur de Pins March of the Crabs has recently
been published in Japanese.
Even with such Francophilic tendencies, I didn't have many French friends until I moved to Japan. Thanks to one of those friends I taught some art and comics classes at the French elementary and middle school in Tokyo. At that time, I was burning to learn French and I ended up spending lots of money at the French bookstore OMEISHA in Iidabashi. I also joined the Médiathèque library at the  Institut Français du Japon language school also in Iidabashi. It was here I found a CD full of 80's French Punk (and this catchy new wave tune).
 
Recently, I made a new French acquaintance and my burning desire to pronounce bonjour without getting my pronunciation corrected has resurfaced. In order to practice, I purchased Margaux Avril's Instantanés album on iTunes and got the lyrics off the net. Some very nice songs and I really like her voice.
 
Wow! I made it all the way down here and still haven't talked about what gave me the idea for this blogpost to begin with!
 
What I wanted to talk about was two really cool articles that JM, my French acquaintance, introduced me to. One is about a fake building in Paris that hides the fact that it is just an airvent, and the other is about the secret ghost subway stations of Paris.
The first one is here in French and you can see how the building would fool the casual passerby. A similar article is here in English and shows some other examples including one in Brooklyn near where I had my first job.
These faux buildings are really cool and I wonder if anything like this exists in Tokyo. What is even cooler is this incredible blogpost by some adventurers who toured the underground Paris metro looking for ghost subway stations that are no longer in use or were never even completed. The risks they took for the sake of adventure are thrilling to read about and the photos of their discoveries are beyond fascinating.
This shot here is my favorite and it really gets my creative juices flowing. I can just imagine all the dark, evil, and wonderful deeds that could have occured here. This shot is much smaller than it is on the blog. You just have to visit the blog to see the photos in all their beautiful glory.
Ok, I said what I wanted to say and I hoped I've added a little to your knowledge of cool $#!%. I plan to add more to this blog from now on so STAY TUNED!
 
À bientôt!


Comments

h e ruckriegel said…
Those Paris guys are totally mad!
patokon said…
Actually, I think they were Brits, but YES! Completely nuts!

Popular posts from this blog

Tokyo Musume

In just a few days my first solo exhibition will open in Tokyo. July 16th to my birthday July 21st. I'm very excited and more than a bit nervous. The theme is Tokyo Musume (Tokyo Girls) . I'll also display several works from the 100 robots series which I have up on comicspace . I'm also a complete wreck trying to complete a design job for a big publishing company (logo for an online comic) and the opening to a tv show for another big company all while trying to finish more artwork for the show. The pic you see here is the postcard/flyer for the show. Also is a larger view of the map. If you are in Japan, you can find Gallery House Maya very easily. At Gaienmae station, take Exit 3 and go straight to the cross signal. Cross and turn right. You should pass a Family Mart on the left. Take the first left. After about 3 minutes you should see Maya on your right. It's a small house/gallery flanked by two large bushes. The gallery requests that no one sends flowers, but genero

Karate Kid, IF "Similar" and SCBWI Tokyo Art Show

The Karate Kid changed my life. The movie, of course. Not the Legion of Superheroes comic character. I'm watching it right now as I type this blog and I was thinking about how many of my perceptions about karate were shaped by Mr. Miyagi. I was never big on "sports" movies, I never saw Rocky. But I knew what it was like to be the little guy. The new kid on the block. And I knew what it was like going up against an institutionalized system of separating the "winners" from the "losers". Luckily, I had friends in and out of school that liked me for who I was and not for who I desperately thought I wanted to be. It took me a little while and Karate Kid 2 to realize what I did want. The summer that KK2 was the summer where I decided to take control of my life and stopped worrying about what the @$$holes thought. It wasn't even a gradual thing. Once I had made that decision, suddenly things started changing around me. I had confidence and that made it ea

Ninjas vs Cowboys, Top 10 Cowboy Manga

I talk about US ninja comics and Japanese cowboy comics on Tim Young's Deconstructing Comics . Listen to it here ! I based on the lecture I gave last year at the Koshi Manga Museum . First slide from my Ninjas vs Cowboys presentation. Here are my Top 10 Cowboy Manga: 10. Bullet Tommy  『弾丸トミー』by Shige SUGIURA This is a classic, one of the earliest comics. It's a "gag manga" for kids and so pokes fun at the various Western movie tropes. The art resembles Shoney's Big Boy, doesn't it? 9.  The Cactus Kid  『サボテン君』by Osamu TEZUKA This is one of Tezuka's early Western manga when he had only seen a few westerns at the time. I like the idea of a guy who wants to turn his parents' saloon into a milk bar. 8. The Belle Starr Gang  『ベル☆スタア強盗団』by Akihiro ITO Ito is known for his Geobreeders  saga, but this is his take on the real-life outlaw Belle Starr and her gang. I like the art and the attempt to incorporate real-life events into the