Sorting through Dad’s hoard #10: Cyrano de Bergerac

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It was one of Dad’s fondest hopes that we would one day be able to read great classics in their original languages.

It is one of my fondest hopes that, one day, I will fulfil his hope. Foreign languages were never one of my strong points.

*side-eyes Duo Linguo*

The 1990 version of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac – with Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet, and  Vincent Perez – is the first time I can remember experiencing a subtitled film. With the added complication that when Dad sat us down to watch it, he admitted he didn’t really like the translation used in the film’s subtitles.

“Why?”

“The script that this version’s using was written by Anthony Burgess. It’s not very faithful. The original play’s all in verse, so Burgess tries to stick to that format, and it’s not as good.There’s a much more accurate translation in the 1950 film with José Ferrer, but we’ll save that for another time.”

And so we experienced the sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always exciting story of the comic-tragic love triangle between the radiant and demanding Roxanne, the gallant but tongue-tied Christian and the brash, swashbuckling, intensely self-conscious Cyrano, he of the honeyed tongue and the huge schnoz. Continue reading “Sorting through Dad’s hoard #10: Cyrano de Bergerac”

Sorting Through Dad’s Hoard #9: The Journal of a Disappointed Man.

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I believe, I like to believe, that Dad was telling us about one of the saddest books he’s ever read; a journal of a man who’s slowly dying.

“At one point, he’s applying for the army, to fight in the First World War. He’s given a sealed letter by his family doctor, but he’s told not to look at what’s inside it. The army doctor says no, he’s not fit for the armed forces. He’s curious, so he opens up the letter on the train home, and finds that his doctor had written to tell whoever was examining him that he has multiple sclerosis. It’s a wasting disease that’ll kill him in only a few years. The rest of the diary is the rest of his life, as he slowly succumbs to it.”

I don’t remember if Dad ever read any of it to us, but he recommended it for when we were older; it was a terribly sad but beautifully written book.

I only got around to reading properly it this year.

Continue reading “Sorting Through Dad’s Hoard #9: The Journal of a Disappointed Man.”