Sunday, 24 July 2016

Monsieur Engel

Mr. Engel had been our neighbour since my family moved to Saint Maur some thirty-two years ago. He was a mechanics, always there to offer help to anyone who'd need it. He enjoyed that. I remember him, a tall and slightly hunched brown-haired man, his eagle-beak nose and soft, clear eyes. I also remember his young son who was the sexiest man on the street when I was a young teenager. 

Mr. Engel had been in depression for the past year. His wife as well apparently, since the day her little pet dog passed away. From what my father told me, she would barely talk to him and would seldom leave her house. He tried to endure the silent treatment but his state of mind deteriorated. He would still be very glad to give a hand to anybody who'd call for him, despite his old age and declining vigour. That was his outlet.

Then it happened. Three weeks ago, he shot his wife and shot himself afterwards. It was brutal. We all miss him. My father is devastated. It is the second suicide on the street after Mr Laurent, his neighbour, whose house is exactly opposite my parents'. He hanged himself a few ago. Depression too. 

But we must and will remember the gentle man who was always so happy to come and help. Engel means angel in German.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

My mother: Do you want some biscuits? They're very good.

Me: No thanks! We just finished dinner. I don't feel like eating anything sweet now ...

My mother: Do you want some peaches? 

Me: Ahhh.... I'm really not hungry....

My mother: Do you want some medicine? I can share some with you! 

Friday, 1 July 2016

Trần Anh Hùng

I have to thank James. It's the Taipei Film Festival at the moment and he told me that Trần Anh Hùng was in town. What? Trần Anh Hùng? James said that he was one of the guests of honour of this years' edition. "And I have to serve as an interpreter to a Japanese director Trần Anh Hùng wants to meet! Trần Anh Hùng is going to have a massage later today because he feels exhausted, do you want to drop by and say hello?"
Bien sûr I accepted. Hùng was greatly surprised and delighted to see me. We both couldn't believe we had not met for 12 years! The last time I saw him was on the street of Paris, during the Gay Pride. He was having a walk with his baby son Cao Phi in his arms.
We set a date - for two days after, to spend some time together.

I took him to some favourite spots of mine in in the city, which he loved, then settled for a good four hours in this old Japanese tea house where we journeyed from one tea to another, and got drunk in the process!

What a joy to talk with him, after all this time. Someone who, naturally is so passionate about his work. Murakami, movie making, David Lynch, my dad, Harvey Keitel, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Lee Byun-Hung, Tanizaki, Jonny Greewood, Seiji Ozawa, Picasso, Jo Kanamori, Jonny Greenwood, the life and isolation of an artist... so many topics were covered, we didn't see time pass.
Spending time together like that would have been unthinkable for me twelve years ago. I was then so in awe of him that, even when invited for dinner at his place, I didn't feel the confidence - and certainly didn't didn't have the experience, to debate so freely about all those topics. 

I don't think it will be twelve years again before I see him. My intuition tells me our paths will cross again very soon.