Admittedly, I'm cutting it awfully close on my solemn promise to write something today, but that is because I went to see Les Enfants du Paradis at the Castro, where, I am delighted to recount, the organist at the Mighty Wurlitzer added a little "we wish you a merry Christmas" coda to the traditional pre-show "San Francisco Open Your Golden Gate" which I'm quite certain is not the actual title of that song, but that's what I think of it as being. Feel free to Google it to your heart's delight; I'm on a deadline here.
The point is, The Children of Paradise is three hours long. And then, after all that, it ends in an infuriatingly French fashion, though certainly not as French as it might have been, for which I thank it.
My favorite bit was:
Policeman: What do you call yourself?
Accused: I never call myself. There's no point. I'm always here.
I enjoyed it, though I'm not clever enough to tell you in what way it was a statement about Nazi-occupied France (which allegedly it is) other than the fact that several characters have lines about loving freedom. The good news is that if you want to read a critical analysis of the film, you should have little trouble finding one.
The film let out an hour ago. All the intervening time was spent trying to get home on MUNI, which was as slow as it ever is, but also unaccountably as crowded as rush hour both going to the theatre and coming home. Who are all those people? Some of them are visiting, but surely not all of them. And I can tell you that only a few of us showed up at The Children of Paradise. The rest have some explaining to do.
The J-Church between my house and Dolores Park goes through two little train cut-throughs. They are not tunnels, so I don't know what to properly call them, but they bypass some hills and pedestrians are forbidden to walk through them (which is just mean because as a pedestrian what I want most in the world is to bypass those very same hills) since it is a narrow enough passage that if there were two trains passing at once, an extraneous person would be squished.
A teenaged girl was traveling on my inbound train with some friends. We made our way through the first cut-through and her eyes got very wide and she said, "We're really close to those plants. We're really close to the plants. You guys, did you see how close we were to those plants?" No one else seemed to share her concern or, indeed, even her interest. After a pause she said, "That just shows how easily amazed I am."
Then we went through the second cut-through, where the hedges have not been quite as rigorously maintained. I cannot deny it: there is hedge brushing to be had. Newly astonished, our heroine announced, "We are touching the plants! We are touching the plants!" Her vegetation-based alarm was quickly supplanted (as it were) by her pure joy at the vista spread out from the top of Dolores Park of downtown glittering all the way to the Bay Bridge. It is the one bright moment in the J-line journey and well worth looking up from your cell phone to see. I get excited about it myself.
She was, by a considerable margin, my favorite fellow passenger.