Saturday, November 11, 2006


Provence & Maui: Paradise Found

Art courtesy of Love Peace Happiness

Having spent time in Provence, I fell in love with this part of France as so many others have done. A lot of the popularity of Provence has been due to the best-selling books of Peter Mayle with his first book "A Year in Provence" beginning the parade and with his latest (2006) book "Provence A-Z" continuing his acclaim and success. You can read more about Mayle and Provence in this online article from USA Today.

I eagerly awaited the film "A Good Year" based on the 2004 Mayle novel about a ruthless London trader (Russell Crowe) inheriting his uncle's (Albert Finney) chateau and vineyard, falling in love and moving to Provence. I can't get enough of images of Provence, even though I know only too well that most of these images don't accurately reflect all of the REAL Provence for there are ticky-tacky homes there just as there are everywhere else. Rarely do we see the images of these homes and neighborhoods in Provence because marketing Paradise (whether it be Maui or Provence) requires beautiful images and words.

Yet I'm still a sucker for the OTHER (idyllic)Provence: the winding country lanes flanked by cypress trees, the cobblestone streets with charming cafes and old tables, the lavender fields, and the "broke da mouth" cuisine and wine. Thus, I wasn't fazed or put off by the negative reviews of this just-opened film for I would STILL be able to view images of Provence! The reviewers on the film review site, Rotten Tomatoes, didn't like the cultural stereotypes. They didn't like Russell Crowe or the director, Ridley Scott, or you-name-it. They just plain didn't like anything about the film! Out of a possible rating of 10, the sum of the reviews was a score of a 4! What were they thinking?! I say: Phooey!

I LOVED THIS FILM, and not just because of my love affair with Provence! In spite of the film's obvious cliches and stupid caricatures, there were powerful, soulful moments captured on film. I can think of several such moments which STILL give me chicken skin.

But the MAIN reason I loved this film is its theme of choices. The main character, Russell Crow, made a choice early in his boyhood which was to cheat to get ahead in life and to win at any cost. The film depicts his wretched (but outwardly financially successful) life as the result of this choice and the scoundrel he has become. And we watch as he reclaims his right to change his choice and redeem himself. Ultimately this is a heartwarming film about redemption, and I give it a TEN!

And now I will tie this film review in with my blog about Maui: when people move to Maui, they often go through a similar crisis of conscience and soul review. I've witnessed this crisis and ultimate transformation so many, many times, and I've also personally experienced it. Maui, like Provence, is a Power Place--a place of great beauty and mana. When people move here, they are clueless as to the transformation which will eventually overtake them, and they then have the opportunity to choose again. What a divine gift it is to choose again and become re-connected with your Soul!

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Well I will go see this movie being that I am a Francophile at heart. Any movie that depicts beauty be it exaggerated or not is a better choice than voilence or horror for me. Provence sounds like a magical beautiful place where movies can only depict its stereotype I am sure no matter where you go there is always a good story to tell, and some not so pretty places. Such as life ....why not spend your money at look at Provence be it with a jaded movie lens. I am eager to see this film and Borat which I was suprised to read is very funny and one reviewer in the Maui News said it was the funniest movie he ever saw in his whole life!
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