French, Literature, short story

Une lettre de rupture

Chère Nicole

Peut-être ce sera la première fois et peut-être la dernière que je t’écris une lettre. Je crois que tu attends une décision après notre tchat ce matin. Et donc cette lettre. Une lettre, parce que si j’essaie de donner une autre forme à mes pensées, peut-être ça va porter un autre sens. Cette fois, et la dernière fois, il faut que je m’explique tant que possible.

Il y a des fois quand je me suis aussi souvenu que je ne sois pas un étant-humain, je ne m’exprime pas, ni parle rien plus de temps, et je reste assis comme une pierre avec un visage indifférent…Tout le monde va penser le même. Alors, j’accepte que c’était une faute…une faute très grave. Si grave que ç’a formé un mur entre nous. Et plusieurs fois, j’ai essayé de le briser. Mais je pense que comme tout mes autres essais, ce n’était pas assez. Je t’ai dite une fois, pour chaque argument je trouve deux ou plusieurs point de vus, et je trouve presqu’impossible à les exprimer quand je ne suis pas convaincu 100% moi-même. Alors, la silence!

Mais c’est aussi vrai qu’il y a des fois quand je ne trouve pas rien comme une réponse…je suis perdu dans mes pensées, en la cherchant. Dans le brouillard. Ce matin, c’était un moment comme ça. Je savais que tu as eu raison, et je cherchais les mots de m’exprimer…mais en vaine. Donc je n’ai pas pu rien dire sauf que la réponse agité, des mots mal formés, mal appliqués. Et tu sais mon combat avec les mots quand on parle. Tu aurait pu déjà trouvé que je raconte clairement quand j’écris quelque chose, mais quant à parler, je reste toujours se mué, surtout quand tu demandais une réponse toute de suite. Avant tout, ce serait une décision sur mon raison d’être.

Eh alors! Je respecte ce que tu as décidé pour l’avenir. Ou plutôt, qu’il n’y aurait plus d’avenir avec toi et moi ensemble si je ne change pas aussitôt. Tes mots résonnent même maintenant dans mes oreilles. Et aussi le son quand tu as jeté ta tasse trop chère contre le mur. Ça, mon amie, ça m’a complètement énervé ce matin. Je ne savais pas quoi faire, ou quoi dire pour te soulager, te calmer. Mais ce moment-là je me souvenais qu’il faut te donner une réponse. Je crois que ce sera mieux pour toi et moi, si notre chemins se séparent. Là, je suis tout à fait d’accord avec toi. Tu vois, il y a les sujets où on est à l’unisson!

Une séparation, parce que pour le lendemain, notre point de vus sont complètements différents. Oui c’est vrai qu’il faut marquer tes pieds sur terre, pour que tu pourras être souvenue, et faire les choses qui te font différente que les autres…Mais moi, je pense que tout ce que l’on fait dans sa vie quotidienne sont également importantes, également spéciales. Peut-être on ne sera pas bien connu, ou on ne fera pas quelque chose de différente que la foule, mais tout ce qu’on fait, ce n’est pas banale. Ou inutile. Pour moi, j’ai les autres espoirs, mais être réussite dans la vie n’appartient pas à cette liste. Pas sûrement comment le monde compte le succès. Mais oui, J’ai envie de se faire beaucoup d’amis. Ou, peut-être voir un nouveau pays. Apprendre jouer un instrument. Hautbois. Violon…pourquoi pas? Peut-être c’est la raison pourquoi je ne suis pas encore prêt pour te marier, et je crois que je ne serai jamais. Je n’aime pas être lâché, et malgré que tu es si libre, je crois que c’est exactement ça que tu veux faire.

Tu disais d’être préparé à tout quitter un beau jour et commencer à vivre pour moi-même. Alors c’était vraiment une bonne proposition. Mais je ne veux pas quitter ma passion qui me fait rêver…je ne peux pas arrêter à écrire…il y a beaucoup de choses qui ont eu lieu ces jours-ci, et travailler dans mon métier, ça me fait penser, m’appliquer. C’est un moyen d’être créatif, pas vendre mon âme…Tu veux me voir réussir dans la vie, mais tu n’es pas prête me donner le temps. Je ne suis pas intelligente comme toi, j’ai besoin d’assez de temps pour me réfléchir changer le chemin de ma vie. Plus tu me pousses, plus je me retire. Et donc, ma chérie, il faut que je m’en aille.

Mais Nicole, n’importe quoi qu’on décide de l’avenir, je te jure une chose — je n’ai jamais pensé mal de toi ni j’aurai jamais. Pour moi, voici une personne telle spéciale, celle, qui les mots ne suffisent pas expliquer. Comme je l’appelle, elle est en fait un ange, une vraie — la plus intelligente, la plus amicale, la plus sensible, la plus souriante, avec un cœur d’or. Quand je suis avec toi, le temps n’arrête jamais — les heures semblent-ils comme les moments, sauf pendant les silences. Avec elle, on se sent en confiance toujours, elle semble une éponge qui absorbe tout et laisse rien sortir. J’avais vraiment de la chance de rencontrer une personne telle spontanée…son esprit vivant, l’indépendance personnifié…c’est toi mon amie.

J’espère que tu trouves succès, bonheur et achèves ceux que tu toujours voulais faire…Et mon amie, j’espère qu’on reste amis, et n’importe où la destinée nous emmènera, à n’importe quelle partie du monde sommes-nous, l’amitié qui reste entre nous, ne s’évanouit pas avec le temps. Parce que d’abord nous étions amis, avant tout ça, pour presque toute ma vie. Peut-être nous sommes frustrés, mais nous partageons aussi les meilleurs moments de nos vies. Ces morceaux de mémoires seront toujours très cher pour moi…trop riches pour les abandonner. Comme je t’ai dite une fois, notre vie est comme les chemins de fer. Un moment deux chemins sont côte à côte, et le prochain, on est tout seul tant qu’un autre chemin nous joindre.

Et moi? Qu’est-ce que je vais faire? Alors être tout seul…c’est la vie. Tu peux me dire le mieux…mauvais plaisanteries et les dames flirteuses. Il y auraient mes livres.

Et une chambre vide. Mais en fait, tu peux y trouver ma télé, ma laptop et mon matelas sur l’étage. Calme et toute en blanche et bleue – comme tu as trouvé la première fois quand tu étais ici. Je vais garder ma chambre exactement comme ça.

Je ne sais pas encore! Mais d’abord il faut qu’on reste amis. Seulement si tu veux la même.

Ton amour fou

Jules


De:      Charbonnier, Nicole
Date:   Mardi le 29 février 2016 22h39
À:     Paget, Jules
Objet:  Rien de plus

Cher Jules

Merci pour ta lettre. C’est original!

J’ai pas rien de temps pour lire tout ça. Mais je peux quand même deviner l’idée générale.

Entre nous, c’est pas mon ambition qui est le problème. C’est ton ego. Un ego plus grand que ton habileté, et plus compliqué par une bite qui est trop courte! Tu as bien compris que j’étais frustrée, mais pas la raison, que tu m’as jamais satisfaite au lit. Et ton insécurité a nous empêchés d’être un couple libre, que j’ai suggéré plusieurs fois. Ça crève ton ego, parler du sexe. C’est pour les gens inférieurs, moins intellectuels, non?

C’est vrai que nous étions amis il y a longtemps, mais franchement je serai ravie de te voir t’en aller. N’attends pas pour moi. C’est génial ton offre de rester amis après la rupture, mais malheureusement je décline. Je te laisserai pas le plaisir de savoir tout ce qui se passe dans ma vie. Je vais trouver qq1. Un peu normale cette fois!

C’est fini. Punkt! Amuse-toi de ta nouvelle liberté. Et bonne chance avec le violon. T’en as besoin.

Nicole.

Ecris-moi une lettre de rupture

Choisis bien tes mots, choisis les justes
Comme un artisan prend
Son temps quand il ajuste…

— Lara Fabian, La Lettre
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Politics, short story, UK

A Remoaner’s Parable for Brexit

A good friend once told me this story:

There was a devout man. He prayed to God every day and thanked him for his existence on earth. He always believed that if he was in any kind of trouble, God will help him out. And so God did. One time when his child had fever, and he prayed and prayed. The next morning his child was cured completely; he even went to school. Or the other time when he ran into debt and after praying to God, he had the dream and found an untouched scratch card lying inside a book, and he won enough money to clear his debts.

One day our devout man was working in his office. It started to rain heavily around the lunch hour. The people thought the rain would stop soon. But it carried on, and the water started to rise. The banks of the river nearby had burst, and a flash flood followed. There was a TV at the pantry area in the corner. In the middle of share price displays, there was a woman on screen with an angelic face, making an announcement that everybody should leave the area straight away. Everyone in the office packed their bags and rushed to leave the building. Everyone but our friend. He started praying, so the disaster would stop. Colleagues tried to dissuade him, but he was firm in his belief. His colleagues thought he was mad, but he knew God will help him.

Half and hour went by. The water is gushing inside the building. The devout man is still asking God to put an end to this awful weather. There was a loud honk outside. A rescue truck is rescuing stranded people to take them up to high ground. Our friend looked out of the window.

“Hey there! Come downstairs, there’s nothing to worry. The water isn’t deep. We got you”
“Thanks, but I’m fine here. God will save us. You should pray as well“
“What nonsense! Come right now, we got other people to rescue and the water is getting higher”
“God will make it all stop. You’ll see. You carry on, help the others“
“You moron!“

And the truck drove away. The man went back to his prayer. Half an hour went by. The ground floor is under a waist deep water. A big siren and flashing lights outside. A fire engine is passing by. It comes to a halt as the fireman noticed the man looking out of the office window.

“Hang in there fella, we’ll get the ladder to you!“
“I don’t need your ladder. The God almighty will soon put an end to this.“
“What a load of rubbish! Get on the ladder now. We can’t stay here long, water will get in the engine“
“You save yourself my friend. God will save me. He always had in the past“
“Good luck to you on that.“

And the fire engine went away. The man was feeling a bit anxious now. Is God not happy with him? Has he done something wrong? “I promise I will pray more, dear God! It’s just the thoughts about work and family distracted me lately. But I will, once again, be your true servant“. He started praying more feverishly. Half an hour…then an hour went by. It’s getting dark, and there is no sign of the rain to stop. The water has come up to the first floor. Our man went to the roof, so god can save him. “Ah I see. He probably wasn’t planning to stop the rain. It must be a boat, like Noah’s, that will save me. I know now why God waited for so long. He wanted the water to rise so he can send the ark“. The man suddenly felt that God hadn’t forsaken him, and he was too blind to see it. He watched out for the boat, but was disturbed by a very loud whirring noise again—

A helicopter is circling over the buildings. Our man is suddenly flooded with shining light from the helicopter. They lowered the rope ladder, to rescue the last few stranded people. A booming voice came from the copter

“ Hello there! Grab the ladder carefully and climb up inside”.

The man thought that wasn’t the way he expected the help to come. And he refused. The pilot explained that he won’t be able to come back and he must escape. But our man refused. There will be a boat soon. The helicopter flew away.

The man started praying again. Minutes went by, then an hour. The water has risen to the roof. He is standing facing the sea of water that engulfed all buildings around. He is suddenly panic-stricken. That God wouldn’t help him this time. He started wondering what sins he had committed that God is annoyed with him. The water is rising fast. It’s up to his ankles, then waist and in a few more minutes he was standing with his chest under water. He held on to the handrails, knowing it’ll all be over in a few minutes. Faces of his wife and son flashed in front of his eyes. And that all his prayers didn’t manage to move God, that was more hurtful. He felt betrayed. With water almost up to his neck, he lets out a desperate howl, “Why dear God did you abandon me? I have always been faithful to you. What have I done wrong? Please help me!“

Suddenly there was a bolt of lightning. And a few more. The dark sky was lit up with electric blue flashes. Then, as our man looked up, silhouette of a man appeared, and the God spoke,

“Fucking idiot, who do you think alerted you of the flood, and sent you the truck, fire engine and the helicopter? I thinks it’s better to have no followers than the blind ones like you!”

He disappeared in the clashing and colliding clouds. The water isn’t rising anymore. The devout man gazed at the sky, awestruck.

“I was right! My lord has saved me again. I saw his face! I’m glad I waited until the very last moment” – he thought.

And then, there was a loud sigh, then out came a big wave, and the man was washed away into nothingness. Even the God had had enough of this delusional moron.


Over 17 million people voted for Brexit out of 46 million electorate. Within the first hour of the shocking morning of the 24th June, it was clear that all the promises and dreams of claiming back the glory land was a farce. The first lifeline was the desperate call for a second referendum. The second, the utter chaos that followed in the Tory and UKIP camp, as their bunch of lies came to light one after another. Then there was the High court and the Supreme Court ruling for giving MPs a vote to trigger Article 50. There were options for a soft Brexit with access to single market and free movement. And then the vote. The final say before it was all over. And it was. Thanks to the deluded 17 million, thanks to the jokers Farage and Boris, thanks to the scheming Daily Mail and Daily Express, and finally thanks to the bloody three-line whip from Corbyn, the fucking show is finally over. There’s no more lifeline; only the grim future with a racist molester as the main ally for UK. Or possibly the only ally left. The road to perdition starts here…
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Film review, media

Watching Nightcrawler: A wake-up call on media morality

Film poster

Poster for the film
Source: Den of geek

Films are a luxury these days, compared to the old times when they were a commodity. Writing a film review is easy now than it has ever been, as we cherish things that have become a rarity, and moreover, if I tried to write a film review when I watched more than one film a day, there wouldn’t have been enough hours in a day. After probably six months since watching a film, during the Christmas period, I watched Gnomeo and Juliet, and De rouille et d’os of Jacques Audiard. Then this weekend my eyes suddenly fell on a DVD while doing the grocery shopping in Morrisons. The blurb on the jacket suggested a gripping story of a freelance cameraman getting sucked into the underbelly of the LA criminal world. It had a promise of a crime thriller where the amateur cameraman uncovered the vicious criminal gangs. He did, but Nightcrawler was by no means a Hollywood good vs evil story. It is a far darker and sinister storyline that probably broke many stereotypes about Hollywood films produced over the years. It was an uncomfortable film to watch, and the effect is still lingering as I type these words.

Nightcrawler was released in 2014 so there is no spoiler alert here. And just reading these words won’t create the effect the film did. In short, Lou Bloom lives a destitute life in downtown LA, living off odd jobs but his hunger to achieve more, drives him to desperately start looking for newer means. One night as he was turned down a job where he sold stolen material, he drove past an accident scene and found a freelance cameraman filming the scene. Lou learns that by becoming a stringer — a freelance cameraman, he could earn easy cash. He buys a camcorder and a police radio scanner. After a few failed attempts, Lou captures someone shot in the neck and sells the footage to a news channel. There he meets Nina, the news editor. Her penchant for serving the story people want to see, mainly concerning affluent white families as victims in central LA neighbourhood areas gave Lou a clear idea what she’s looking for. As Lou starts to find success, his inner drive to do more, and Nina’s unrelenting support violating ethical boundaries of news reporting makes Lou take more risks, become more dangerous and desperate. He hires an assistant, and soon Lou realised that Nina is as desperate for his videos as he is for achieving something in his life. The film climaxes as they reach the scene of a shooting that would become breaking news, Lou hides the part of the tape showing the gunmen so he could film them getting caught another time, in another neighbourhood. After a shootout, one gunman escapes who is later killed by police after a chase that Lou and his assistant catch live, and Lou manages to trick his assistant in believing the gunman was dead. He gets shot and the gunman faces Lou, filming death of his assistant before police shot the gunman. Police later interrogate Lou but couldn’t prove that he hid the information. On the last scene, he’s seen to be running a new business hiring apprentices.

I remember watching Jake Gyllenhaal in October Sky and over the years, I thought he was Hollywood’s male version of Meg Ryan, having a face that never ages. Paired with the looks, he has a boyish voice that never developed into a baritone, like Tobey MaGuire’s. From that aspect, it was difficult to imagine Jake in a role that is so dark, and creepy. But at the end of the film, I was left wondering whether I’ve just watched the best career performance of Jake. He is a tour de force in Nightcrawler, it is not easy to watch, but that relentlessly uncomfortable feeling was Jake’s success. He lived and breathed in that character, emanating a sense of menace. Lou’s mannerisms, especially his business management parlance in almost every possible situation, paired with his obsessive expressions while covering the crime or accident scenes were uncanny, to say the least, and often monstrous. As he soullessly moved towards achieving one reckless feat to the next, his character shows no compassion or remorse for the victims. To him, they were just rungs of the ladder that will take him high up the corporate echelon he so painstakingly prepared himself for but was never allowed a break. He makes you squirm in disgust and enraged in hate. In the film, Jake looked almost emaciated, his bare arms uncharacteristically thin. I found out later that he lived on a diet of kale chips to lose all the weight. This brings to mind another virtuoso performances by Adrien Brody in The Pianist and Christian Bale in The Fighter, where the actors went to great lengths to mould their physique into the character they were portraying. Jake’s gaunt face, unassuming stature made him blend into the background of the film that all his expressions gained a new dimension. Nightcrawler is all about the superlative performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, and it is definitely worth watching just to watch him.

Yet, Nightcrawler is not just about Jake’s performance, it has plenty more to offer. The script is superb. It’s sleek, at times the suspense was too gripping to handle. And that is paired with fantastic night cinematography of LA, especially the long shots overlooking the city, or the crossroads. The film revolved around three central characters, and Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed played their part brilliantly to let Lou Bloom cast his dark spell on the viewers’ minds. Although a film is remembered by the actors’ performances, it’s the less praised behind the scenes work that makes the film successful. For Nightcrawler, this would be the scriptwriter and the director, for taking up a challenging subject. The film could be classified as Noir, with Jake Gyllenhaal as an anti-hero. It did not try to make him appear psychotic, and most of the Hollywood anti-heroes turn up, nor he dies in the end, nor he finds a sudden sense of morality and becomes the good guy in the end. Lou Bloom is a cutthroat optimist, he doesn’t let anything come between him and his success, he is desperate, and in the end, it shows that he gets away with all his unethical demeanour. A negative character not being punished at the end of the story — where does this stand on good vs evil? A non-ideal end made Lou Bloom more realistic, and thus more frightening. The other stereotype that was broken was the relationship between Lou Bloom and Nina. Hollywood hardly shows older women against younger men, unless it was like The Graduate, where the older female seduces the young actor. In Nightcrawler, Lou blackmailed Nina to get her to sleep with him. There is no love blossoming in there air, but just hard transactional relationship — Lou helps Nina keep her job, and he wanted sex in return. There are certain loopholes in the film that might interest the people who like finding gaffes, such as Lou getting away with hiding footage of the shootout from police, and CCTV evidence would easily have proved that he traced the killers and not the other way around. Also, confiscating his laptop would have shown that he searched for the car number plate. Yet, Nightcrawler will be remembered for the unforgettable acting by Jake Gyllenhaal, not the minor gaps in the storyline.

Finally, like moral of a fable comes a moment when you analyse a film with the present context and decide whether the film succeeds in conveying any message to its viewers that are relevant to our society. From this aspect, I’d hail Nightcrawler to have addressed one of the biggest perils of our society — of warped, directed and suggestive media reporting. Funnily enough, I remembered the Family Guy episode where Peter Griffin steals many Nielsen boxes and bargains with news channels how he wanted all the programmes altered. In reality, Nightcrawler is a stark reminder of the way media manipulates the truth, in order to make news sensational. Rene Russo in Nina personifies the uncouth, greedy media houses, where their viewership is fuelled by panic mongering and misinformation. The unfortunate events of Brexit and Donald Trump victory highlight the role right-wing media played in those two cases. In the case of Brexit, we saw Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express wage a hate campaign against the migrants in the UK and against EU governance. The failure of the Leave campaign to deliver any of the promises only outlined the vacuous media bias towards Leave. They worked on people’s fear, and distrust and created an atmosphere of animosity within the country that has split the country for the foreseeable future. The same has happened in the USA as well, and the consequences much grave than Brexit. The willingness to go any lengths to twist the reality is very prominent in Nightcrawler. Although a sane mind doubts whether a news channel could lower themselves that low just to with some TRP, a present appreciation of the current situation only corroborates the message conveyed in the film. It should serve as a wake-up call to the viewers — or the customers of the media that unless the public collectively rejects the sensationalist media reporting, they will resort to more dangerous means, just as Lou Bloom did in the film, and it could do irreparable damage to the fabric of our society.

The thought that, what we watched in Nightcrawler is happening every single day at every single corner of the world, fills the viewer with an uncomfortable feeling. And that is the success of the film — the uneasiness, the queasy feeling that you get in your mouth after the film is over. Nightcrawler will be one of those films that I will be desperate to watch it again, but will never watch it ever, for the unpalatable truths that film makes us face, and we cannot just eject the disc and think — “It’s only a film”!

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