My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

a good wind, a bad time

A breeze! I awoke to a breeze and thinking it might vanish, rushed out to walk around town with the soft wind on my face. Oh, the narrow interweaving streets of the zone pietonne of central Montpellier, that take you back hundreds of years in an instant. Around each corner, a new medieval vista, signs on the wall: this house in 1644, this building in 1582 … And with the blessing of a breeze, the walk is sheer pleasure. Yesterday and the day before, walking was hard under the blistering sky, no matter how hard you tried to shrink into the shade.

On the Place de l’Opera at 9.30 a.m., where last night thousands were dancing, eating and drinking, there was nothing. Not a scrap of garbage, everything tidied away miraculously in the night.
A day of walking and working, sitting at the desk at Julie’s with that playful breeze on my face – for the blessed little wind went on all day and is still there now, at 9.30 p.m. Today I walked around the city in the morning, then at midday to do some shopping – buying some good bottles of wine for Julie, as thanks – and again tonight. As ever, the Place is hosting some very good street performers and the streets are jammed with diners. Does anyone here eat at home? It doesn’t seem so on a hot Montpellier night.
I walked tonight because I had to get my thoughts straight. The film Le Temps Qu’il Restethe time that remains – has been very well reviewed here and was a Cannes selection. One review said it’s a “chef d’oeuvre,” perfect, “precious and essential.” It’s a Palestinian film, made by Elia Suleiman, and is apparently the story of his life. Not a single French review that I’ve read mentioned the fact that the Israelis in the film are, one and all, vicious annihilating brutes; that the hero of the film spends his life gun-running against them and raises his son, Elia Suleiman, in the same spirit.
It’s unbelievably painful for me, even as a half-Jew with so little connection to my Jewish side, to acknowledge that the state of Israel is now a giant bully in the world. But this film is saying that it has always been so, that Israelis are without a single redeeming feature. It was intercut with weird bits of slapstick Buster Keaton-type attempts at humour, violent jumps in time, and interminable, very French moments where nothing happens at all. The audience sat there lapping it up. I writhed.
I thought, the man is bitter about what happened to his homeland. He has a right to express his views in his art. But I don’t have to watch it, especially because it’s not a very good film.
So I walked out, banging the door behind me.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.