La vie anterieure…

This is a still from my first film, in Oxford, 1983. Written and directed by me, produced by Matthew Crampton (though we took the credit ‘written and produced by…’ in tribute to Powell and Pressburger. I was 20…). The 35th anniversary of its shooting has just been marked.

The book that Simon Hilton – the 40s detective (in 80s Oxford…) – is reading is Les Fleurs Du Mal by Charles Baudelaire. For no real reason, but just because… It was my sixth-form French edition (I did it for A-level).

The poem he’s reading – I’m sure – is La Vie Anterieure (The Former Life). It’s the only poem I can recite in French. Just the SOUNDS are fantastic. (The song by Duparc is good too.)

Here it is:

La Vie antérieure

J’ai longtemps habité sous de vastes portiques

Que les soleils marins teignaient de mille feux,

Et que leurs grands piliers, droits et majestueux,

Rendaient pareils, le soir, aux grottes basaltiques.

Les houles, en roulant les images des cieux,

Mêlaient d’une façon solennelle et mystique

Les tout-puissants accords de leur riche musique

Aux couleurs du couchant reflété par mes yeux.

C’est là que j’ai vécu dans les voluptés calmes,

Au milieu de l’azur, des vagues, des splendeurs

Et des esclaves nus, tout imprégnés d’odeurs,

Qui me rafraîchissaient le front avec des palmes,

Et dont l’unique soin était d’approfondir

Le secret douloureux qui me faisait languir.

Charles Baudelaire

Here’s the 35th-anniversary reunion, 8/12/18:

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strokeofbadluck

I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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