Le Train

This is going to be a rather sentimental essay, and I hope that you wil forgive me for that, but some things spark memories of this long stored away in the lumber room part of your mind, and so it was today.

I saw a film on television that I first saw in 1966. I spent the summer of that year in France, staying with French families in an effort to learn French and about France. I was barely seventeen, and I was young for my age. I learned to smoke cigarettes, to give me confidence, and learned a little of French and the customs andhabits of the French.

One afternoon on a rainy day some friends and I went to the cinema, and saw a film called Le Train. It was made in 1964 about the events of  the Germans in Paris when liberation was close at hand trying to remove the best of the impressionist and post impressionist art which was then kept in the Jeu de Paumes. The film was made in black and white, and in the version I saw, the French spoke French, the Germans spoke German and Burt Lancaster spoke English.

In 1966 the film described events that took place only 22 years earlier. At 17 twenty two years is an age, almost unimaginably historic because it was a time before I was born.

I saw the film today, forty seven years from 1966 and seventy years from 1944. It made me understand just how time works. It is a continuous tapestry of of people, who once woven into the cloth are thus recorded with the events that they shape and shape them, until that part of the cloth fades and rots and finally disappears into dust from which eventually new cloth is woven by new fol.

Watching Le Train I remembered France of 1966, the old steam trains of SNCFF, the fashions of the French and their speech, unbastardised then before the ordinateur and der handy and the web of communications that trawls us all together to mould our mass behaviour into marketable utility, like Adolf ninety years ago with a different kind of net moulded behaviour into thoughtless ideas, for the same motivation.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Robert…

    Thank you for this wonderful post!
    May your days-be-days of soft curves and wonder…

    Phil E.

    • Phil

      Many thanks for your comment. It was much appreciated as were your good wishes.


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