joi, 13 iulie 2017

La Femme du Boulanger, written by Jean Giono, directed by Marcel Pagnol, 9 out of 10

La Femme du Boulanger, written by Jean Giono, directed by Marcel Pagnol
9 out of 10

Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:

The Baker’s Wife is a very good comedy- drama.
It is included on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list:

Albeit simple, the story is charming.

Aimable Castanier is the main character.
He is the baker who wants to satisfy everyone.

His very name means amiable in French.
And the entire village loves his bread and his friendly manner.

Aurélie Castanier is his wife and she is very beautiful. Physically, for in terms of morals and loyalty, there may be a problem.
Le Marquis Castan de Venelles arrives one day in the shop to say that he will send his Berger to buy bread and patisserie from The Baker.

The scene has reminded me of the classic of psychology:

-          Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by the genius Malcolm Gladwell
There is a theory of thin slicing and examples from many domains that point out to the opinion that we form quickly.

La Femme du Boulanger is very interested in the man who is accompanying the Marquis and will come to collect bread.
Furthermore, late in the evening, as the baker and his wife are getting ready for bed, an outré apparition is near the house.

Before getting to that, I must say that the woman was rather uncommunicative and cold, as her spouse was talking to her.
Actually, when he later talks to the locals, the Boulanger dismisses the rumors regarding his missing wife with:

-          You know, she is not at all interested in love! Whenever I caress or approach her she is switching attention to something else
-          Poor Baker! She was all against intimacy with…him!

Three men are singing under the window of the baker’s bedroom and naïve and Aimable as he is, he thanks them!
“en plus” he feels obliged for the songs that, I do not see why except that he is a bit thick, he thinks were for both him and his wife…

-          Go downstairs and my wife will give you some pastry, because it was such a beautiful thing that you did!

So the handsome, much younger Berger goes into the shop, while the silly baker talks to the other two singers.
The woman puts bread and cakes inside a sac and intentionally brushes the face of the man with her hair, repeatedly.

Almost in a flash, they establish that they will run away together the next morning, early on and she is off, while her husband first burns and then refuses to bake any more bread, while he looks desperately for her.
For a long time, the cuckold husband refuses to believe that his spouse is anywhere but near, first he thinks it is the garden, then the church and finally the mother, even faced with evidence and testimony, the baker refutes it all.

When he understands- well, I do not know if he does, but he sees the truth- he is depressed and without any meaning left, abandons his job and the villagers who depended on his work and gets heavily drunk.
It is not all light comedy, but meditations on God, his ways and the mysteries of life are uttered by various characters, from the priest of the village, to the Marquis and other locals, that ultimately unite to try and help the Boulanger.

Amiable is so good and Buddhist like that he still thinks about the poor wife and what will she do in difficult circumstances, for he was always there to take care of her and this Berger is poor, he had to steal the horse on which they run away.
Poor Femme du Boulanger – yeah, right!!- What will happen to her when there will be nothing to eat and no place to sleep in!!

I was so sorry for her…I need to stop here and weep.

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