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“45 Years” and “Kiss and Cry”

So little time, so much to see – two things to report on today. I saw the film “45 Years” with friend Ken a few days ago. It’s beautiful, haunting, difficult – everything a good film should be. Suzette told me friends of hers went to see it as a treat for their wedding anniversary and regretted that particular choice. Because after it was over, I turned to Ken and said, “Thank God I’m single!”

Which I feel every day, for various reasons. But this – about the joys and pains and the comforting routine of longterm marriage, and what can so easily go wrong – is true and honest and heartbreaking. Charlotte Rampling is stunning, and so is Tom Courtenay; I remember them both vividly from “Georgie Girl” and “The loneliness of the long distance runner.” They’re just as beautiful now, in a very different way.

Suzette and I went today to see a very odd piece of theatre called “Kiss and Cry,” something I would never have attended if she hadn’t insisted. And what a treat it was – a kind of ballet, done with film and special effects that you watch being produced on stage in front of you, with hands. Yes, it stars hands – until the last few seconds, we don’t see people, we only see hands, dancing, having sex, figure skating, being disappointed, falling in love. Breathtaking – simple yet extremely complex and accomplished, with a gorgeous score veering between Bach and modern music, and a cast of ten people and 20 hands making the magic happen.

Such a bounty in this city – a wealth of stuff to see and do. And eat and buy and watch and enjoy. This morning, a simpler pleasure – I went across town to have brunch with the little family; Daddy made waffles, the boys had a chat and Ben, who missed the waffles, tried instead to eat his foot.

Several friends sent supportive messages about my post last week re: sexual assault, where I discussed my own complex feelings about being more or less raped. This week of Jian’s trial has been confusing. Was the Crown completely unaware that his accusers had continued to importune him, even after, sometimes long after, their alleged assaults? It boggles the mind. Various very angry women on FB have been ranting that Jian’s lawyer has brought these things up to defame the accusers – but that’s her job, for God’s sake, the man faces years in prison, her job is to poke holes in the case against him, and his accusers have made that very easy.

And in the meantime, while this event plays out – really, Toronto Star, giant front page headlines? –  hideous abuse of women continues around the world – story in the papers yesterday that the incidence of genital mutilation is many times higher than previously known. I guess this trial is good in throwing more light on what goes on in dark corners, but otherwise, it’s excruciating.



4 Responses to ““45 Years” and “Kiss and Cry””

  1. Anonymous says:

    FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) Unfortunately, this violence against women is carried out by women. It’s usually the mothers who insist that their daughters should be cut.

    Education, education, education. Let's get OUT of the Middle Ages. And that includes the niqab too! Today I was sitting in our staff canteen lunching with my colleagues and I said this – if you look at the map of the world, you'll see that the civilized, enlightened first world countries are, in actual fact, a minority. The reality is is that we're surrounded by barbarians.

    Juliet in Paris

  2. beth says:

    Juliet, that's going a little far. But yes, the treatment of women in many countries is appalling. Gloria Steinem says women there are fighting the good fight and things will change, and I'm sure it's true. But it will take some time and it won't be easy. But then, remember we didn't get the vote and sexism was ingrained in our society until not long ago either. Not that violent kind of sexism, not cutting, but still, sexism, and we have changed remarkably fast. Let us hope the same for our sisters in other countries.

  3. Anonymous says:

    No, Beth, it's what we feel here in Paris. That barbarians abound and, in fact, are on French soil as well as further afield. Barbarians who came to Paris and slaughtered 130 innocents in a concert hall on November 13th. Two barbarians who stormed the Charlie Hebdo office in January 2015 and, armed with assault rifles, slaughtered 11 people in cold blood. France is on high alert. Everywhere we go, we have to submit to security checks. Look at Syria, utterly destroyed. Look at the Cologne attacks in Germany where hundreds of German women were groped and sexually molested in a large square. Look at ISIS and Boko Haram. Toronto might be calm, but not here. Barbarians abound.

  4. beth says:

    Yes, I guess it's much calmer over here – for now. The world is in crisis, and there's not much strong leadership in view. Scary.

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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.


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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.