My Afternoons with Margueritte
seen @ North Shore Towers Twin Cinema, Floral Park NY
Actually, she's been back for less than a couple of weeks, but after three months traipsing around Spain and France, Andi finally came home on Halloween. And although I'm certainly glad to have her back, she insists she would've stayed in Europe much longer if she could. She loves it over there.
As I'd talked about before, she went hiking on a cross-country trek called the Camino de Santiago, a spiritual pilgrimage to the final resting place of St. James in Compostela. She also spent a week in Paris afterwards (wouldn't you?). Paris means the world to her. In her youth, she had a beau from France, and she spent some time over there with him, and you can imagine the impact that would have on a young American girl. It's a major reason why she adores all things French.
Andi says that she feels more at home in Europe than in America, which is a remarkable concept for me, but then again, I've only been out of the country once in my life. Still, I suppose I can relate, on a smaller scale. I've done a good deal of traveling all over America, plus I've lived in Columbus for a year, so in a way, New York feels a little less like home to me now than it did three years ago. Anyway, Andi's talking now about trying to get work abroad. I shudder to contemplate the possibility of her leaving for good one day - but if this will make her happy, how can I get in the way of that?
So last weekend, I e-mailed her, wanting to know when we can get together again. She said that a friend of hers had recommended a French film that she had been eager to see called My Afternoons with Margueritte, and would I wanna see it too? Obviously, the timing on this was unusual, seeing as how I was about to spend an entire week watching old French movies! As luck would have it, this film was playing in only one place in all of New York: a tiny theater way out on the Queens/Nassau County border. Did I mention Andi lives way up in the Bronx? Yeah, this is how much she wanted to see it.
She was gonna see it on Monday, but she changed her mind for some reason - which was fine by me, since I was still trying to shake a massive cold at the time (I missed seeing the NYC Marathon for the first time in years, not counting my year in Columbus), so Thursday it was instead, by which time I felt much better.
I have a passing familiarity with the area. As a little kid, I would go to the hospital there for check-ups and stuff like that, but of course, we always drove there, and it's not like I've gone there very often since. Andi was getting there via an express bus from Manhattan. I would have to take three different local buses.
When I got on the third bus, I thought I'd make it well ahead of time, but it turned out to be the wrong one! This bus has two different endpoints in east Queens, and by the time I realized the driver wasn't going where I wanted him to go we were headed back the other way on the parkway! And of course the driver has no idea where my ultimate destination is. I kept telling him, "There should be a movie theater in the vicinity," but he wasn't aware of any such theater, although he knew the street I was looking for. So we ended up going all the way back to Queens Boulevard, which was much further away than where I started. The driver gave me a transfer and I got on what I hoped was the right bus.
It was - but I got off at a point where I would've had to walk a long distance to my destination (and I was already running late). Once again, I tried to explain to the driver that I was looking for a movie theater in this part of town, and he didn't know what I was talking about either. Fortunately, a woman on the bus did, and after consulting with the driver, he re-opened the doors just as I was about to start walking and told me to get back on; he'd take me further up the road to the next stop.
The woman explained that the theater was part of a gated community of condos called North Shore Towers. From the looks of the residents, it's a retirement community. They seem to have everything, despite being so far away from the city, a small golf course, a swimming pool, a diner, and a small movie theater that plays obscure foreign films (among other things; they also were showing 50/50). She was going there too, so we got off the bus together and I followed her to the building with the theater.
I found Andi in no time. I had expected her to look - if not dramatically different, then noticeably different at least. And while she did appear to have lost a few pounds, she was as I remembered her. (The movie version of her would probably be played by Marisa Tomei, just to give you an idea.) We ate dinner in the cafe as she happily told me about her vacation.
The theater was much bigger than I had expected. It looks like what you'd see in your average multiplex, and I was expecting something more like a screening room. There were about nine other people there besides us. The projector didn't align the film dead center with the screen for some reason - it was flush with the left side. Not a big deal, just unusual. The seats were comfy with lots of legroom. There were no trailers.
Margueritte is about a middle-aged gardener with a reading disability of some sort who befriends an old woman who loves reading and inspires him to read better. I initially thought it was gonna be a Forrest Gump rip-off. It wasn't, but neither was it all that great, either, and for once Andi agreed with me. If anything, it's notable for the woman who plays Margueritte. Her name is Gisele Casadesus, and she was 95 when she made this film, if you can believe that. IMDB says her career goes all the way back to the 30's, having done mostly TV work in France. I don't recognize anything she's been in, although she is also in the current Kristin Scott Thomas film Sarah's Key. I liked her.
Andi's express bus goes straight to the North Shore Towers, and after the movie we waited together for about a half hour for it, only to find that no, the last bus out actually wasn't due to leave for another twenty more minutes. Another bus came by that we thought was ready to depart but wasn't. By the time the last bus came, we had said our goodbyes three times! I managed to find the bus stop for my bus, and this time there were no problems. I got home easily.
I don't wanna think about a future without Andi around, at least not yet. I'm just glad she's back home now.