This Isn’t Science

My wife loves the cinema. Recently she proposed we see a film about a priest who sexually abused children. When I demurred she offered a second choice that she herself did not have much interest in. Now in this type of situation, the vast majority of the time I will follow whatever my wife wishes. But in this instance I objected to the priest movie.

Now this isn’t science, but as far as I can recall all of the Catholic priests and Christian pastors in films of the last 20 years or so are either sexually deviant (or otherwise evil) and/or doubting their faith. That is, I have not been studying the question, but this is my impression. As good as this particular movie might be, or how true it is that there are deviant priests, not all of them are. In my discussion I gave the contra factual example of founders of social justice organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. The fact that they are con artists and perhaps worse does not make all SJW organization founders crooks. But how often are they depicted in films as crooks? My impression is never. Thus, I tried to make the point that movies have largely been subverted to propaganda.

Amazon.com $50 Gift Ca... Buy New $50.00 (as of 08:40 EST - Details) The amazing result is that in the end we saw the second choice, Le Mystrère Henri Pick.  The plot revolves around the discovery by a junior staff member of a publishing house, of a manuscript of a novel previously rejected for publication. She finds it fascinating, especially when she learns that the author is the eponymous (of the film not the book) recently deceased owner of the pizzeria in the village in Brittany where her father lives. The mystery grows when to the recollection of all his family and friends, Mr. Pick had not a literary bone in his body. The book is published and becomes a sensation, not in the least because of the improbable nature of the author. Even more wildly improbable, a television intellectual who is the presenter of a book review program, loses his job and his wife over his doubt that Pick is the true author. With these goofy premises in place the investigation of the mystery by the TV presenter (Fabrice Luchini) and the daughter (Camille Cottin) of Henri Pick begins. I mention Brittany because the film includes wonderful views of this northwest region of France. In particular, there are several scenes with the magnificent Pont Terenez and of the quaint village Landévennec.

Pont Terenez and the village Landévennec on the Crozon Peninsula in Brittany, France.

The beautiful scenery, the wit and chemistry between Luchini and Cottin, and the goofy plot made it a thoroughly enjoyable film. I asked my wife, “What was the important social message of the film?” She replied “nothing.” And I said “exactly.” It was simply created to be an entertaining film that we both enjoyed, similar to those from Hollywood’s golden age of the 30s and 40s. Something, for example, like William Powell and Myrna Loy in the Thin Man series. So call me an old fashioned reactionary, but I wish there were more nonserious, beautiful films, with witty dialogue.

Cottin and Luchini and Loy and Powell