Sunday, 8 December 2013

Let's be Les Miserables together

Over dinner last night, I said something to Scott I believe he never thought he'd hear.
"I'm going to learn French."
What the what?
I'm not doing it because I need it for a job. Though I do.
I'm not doing it because somebody told me I had to do it. Hell, no!
I'm doing it because I want to read Les Miserables in the language in which it is written. It was the same reason I wanted to learn Spanish, so that I could read Don Quixote in Spanish. I did read it in Spanish, but I read it very badly indeed, and I suppose the same will be true when I pick up Les Miserables, Victor Hugo's mammoth masterpiece that has become my recent obsession.
I've never read it in English, so I'll do that first. I actually found a copy at Value Village a couple weeks back, nearly bought it, but saw it as an immense undertaking and put it back. I'm planning on returning to snatch it up; I don't think anybody will have taken it unless it's an English 100 student at university cramming for a final who left the intimidating tome until the very end.
In which case, I will summon up the ghost of Charles Haines and smite them.
I need me some Victor Hugo and I need it now.
Besides, it will make a great edition to my homemade exercise arsenal, weighing as it does some twenty pounds.

When I first saw Les Miz, it was in Toronto and I didn't get it. How could I? I was an entitled white Canadian girl in her thirties then married to a master of the universe. I remarked at the time that watching Les Miz made me want to slit my wrists, it was so depressing.
But now, twenty years into my croneniness, I understand every nuance and every character. For I've been there. I've been rich and now I'm poor and rich is definitely better.
I relate completely to Fantine, whose life was ruined by loving and trusting the wrong man, though she is ultimately saved by her goodness and love for her child.
And I relate to Jean Valjean who doesn't quite get life's punchline until the end.
"To love another person is to see the face of God."
Man, that's like getting smacked in the face with a tuna.
I've watched Tom Hooper's musical about ten times now, and I'll watch it more because I got the DVD a couple of days ago. And knowing me, it will be well worn by Christmas day, like my Jane Fonda exercise videos from long ago.
Today, I'll be watching the director's cut and listening to the director explain every scene, how it was lit, how it was crafted, as if he's explaining the making of a fine beer. My children will tell you that I've done this before, with The Godfather. That's a weekend they'll never get back.
Then I will settle in and use the DVD exclusively as the background for housework. I love scraping the dog hair off the carpet while listening to Les Miz. It makes me feel like I'm one of them.
Though I know I'm not, nor could I ever be. But then Victor Hugo wasn't a "miz" either, except perhaps during his time in exile, which I learned about while watching the bonus features yesterday.
Now, I see you there, laughing at me. Feeling sorry for the shutin who is obsessed with musicals because she has no friends.
Don't cry for me, Argentina.
Feel sorry for Scott who is slitting his wrists in the back bedroom.
He's a guy's guy. He hates musicals.
I should have married a gay man.

No comments:

Post a Comment