“The Little Bedroom” Film Review

January 19, 2015  |  featured, inspiration  |  2 Comments

The Little Bedroom (La Petite Chambre) is a story about the complexity of human emotions and the difficulty of letting go and accepting change. It reveals how the beautiful bond of human connection helps us heal from old wounds and fulfill our life’s destiny. Set in Switzerland, the film stars two-time Céasar Award winner Michel Bouquet (Le Promeneur du Champ de Mars, How I Killed My Father) and César Award nominated Florence Loiret Caille. The film is directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond.

Edmond (M. Bouquet) feels burdened by old age and is angry with his son Jacques (Joël Delsaut) for wanting to put him in a nursing home so he could take a new job in Chicago. When Rose (F. Caille) becomes Edmond’s nurse, he tells her “Life is not that beautiful,” then asks her to prove him wrong as though he knew that she was at grips with emotional pain. Rose and Edmond’s deep emotional turmoil – their need to heal, make amends with themselves and others and move on – becomes the basis for their friendship.

As they become closer to each other, we witness the difficulties each experiences in their own relationships – Edmond with his son and Rose with her husband Marc. Marc (Éric Caravaca) is frustrated with Rose’s inability to heal from her loss, and at a deeper level, he doesn’t understand how trauma keeps her stuck in the past. Only when he goes to New York to pursue his own dreams and leaves her the space to heal, does she start to appreciate him and want him back in her life.

The relationship between Edmond and his son is rather complex from the very start of the movie. Selfishly, Edmond tells Jacques that he is too old to start his life over in Chicago because he doesn’t want to change the way things are. As the story unfolds, the son shows his unexpressed emotions about his dad’s unavailability to him throughout his life. When Edmond discovers that Jacques had sold his apartment, he feels deeply hurt and refuses to go back to the nursing home. Rose decides to help him regain the dignity he needs, even though she is no longer his nurse, but little does she know that by helping Edmond, she is finally helping herself heal from her deep wound.

The Little Bedroom is a metaphor for change. It holds the past – where once old dreams became entangled in pain – and the future, where new possibilities begin. When Edmond enters the little bedroom, led in by the joyful play of two children, he finally discovers Rose’s secret, and she surrenders and shares her pain with him. He feels for her in a very fatherly, self-effacing way and he wants to help her. When he insists on sleeping in the little bedroom, he opens the door for change and encourages Rose to start trusting life again.

Edmond finally makes peace with his son, but deep down he knows that life in a nursing home is not what he longs for. A man used to a life of Beethoven, solitude and plants, a man set in his ways and attached to his land, needs to always be free to decide how to live his life.

Only in the final moments of the movie does Rose discover what happens to Edmond, but their deep connection is sealed through synchronistic events – Edmond looking at the beauty of the mountains, while Rose goes through a final catharsis and releases old trauma to make a place for her new life.

The Little Bedroom is a beautifully crafted film about life as it happens at any age through trauma, friendships, relationships, love, and change. And there is nothing more precious than to be free to live the life one desires and to make room for new things to begin.

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The Joy of Becoming “Forever Chic”

August 4, 2014  |  featured, inspiration  |  No Comments

Recently I found Forever Chic, Frenchwomen’s Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style and Substance by Tish Jett at my local library, and I decided to give it a try. Although the target audience is women above forty or even fifty – les femmes d’un certain âge – women of all ages will find some valuable advice that applies to their lives, like wearing sunscreen on your décolleté. I got stressed out when I read this because I haven’t been diligent about applying sunscreen on my precious décolleté, and I am glad that somebody reminded me to do so. And no less that 20 SPF, s’il vous plaît!

The book is divided into small chapters, each developing its own theme – like skin, hair, make-up, exercise, food, even accessories and clothing. Tish Jette carefully investigated each subject by gathering the opinions of many experts, jet set beauty consultants, and close friends. She is a journalist who has lived in France for 25 years, and she blogs about fashion and beauty under the title “Une femme d’un certain âge.”

If I had to choose one quote from the book to describe its essence, it would be this: “ “Every woman has her own personality. Why then, would she want to look like someone else?” Antoniotti mused. “Frenchwomen are the original versions of themselves.” ” The book really focuses on what it means to be a French woman comfortable in her own skin, how she presents and lives her uniqueness in care, beauty and style. Yes, Frenchwomen take time to pamper themselves, to dress well, and they strive to be the most natural best they can be. This is what they are known and revered for. And it all comes down to self-respect and love. Do you put some make-up on as soon as you get up? To celebrate yourself, bien sûr!

I noticed that the French women interviewed in the book haven’t caught up yet with the natural products craze we have here in the States, at least in California. American women consult dermatologists for botox shots and Restylane® fillers, but not face creams. In France it seems that dermatologists rule over skin products, and the products they recommend are big brands. Nevertheless, you have the right to make choices about what you put on your face, and you are free to bring beauty and style to your life in your own way.

I learned how to make my own scrub – gommage – by mixing almond oil and fine sea salt or sugar. I love that this is so natural and you can make it yourself. It can be applied to your face, hands, and your whole body. After gommage, we are advised to use sunscreens to avoid brown spots and aging. I had never before heard of liquid nitrogen, cryotherapy, for removing dark spots, but I guess this is the inexpensive version of the laser. According to the book, it works wonders.

Next time I am in France, I will schedule beauté des pieds. The cost is around 30 euros. The author says that it is a much more satisfying and lasting experience than a pedicure and that the French do it beautifully.

The trick about applying eyeliner is: “The comma should be applied before the eye is lined so it does not become a thick extension, but rather a light lift.” This is interesting indeed, and it works.  And I was surprised to read that dark circles under the eyes were prized during the 19th century, are considerate natural even today by make-up experts, and having them means that you lead an interesting life… So, Mesdames, don’t cover them up!

Instead of telling you all the secrets contained in the book, order your own copy and read it with amusement. I am hoping that by following the advice, you could achieve the highest score possible of becoming “Forever Chic” – in your own eyes, as Frenchwomen do!

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Restoration Hardware reimagines French style

Restoration Hardware reimagines French style

May 26, 2014  |  featured, inspiration  |  No Comments

Beautiful objects inspired by French style have been appearing in the Restoration Hardware collection for the last couple of years. But this year’s collection marks a reinvention, even a reimagination, by curators from around the world. Looking at the HR’s catalogues, I can’t help but wonder if French style is back in vogue, a comeback led with bravado and imagination by the company.

The catalogues are full of inspirational stories of objects and styles, of craftsmen and designers fond of antiques and notable objects. Blending old styles with a touch of modernity, the company’s curators have created timeless pieces for our admiration, use, and comfort.

If you haven’t been to a Restoration Hardware showroom lately, it is worth the trip. There is an abundance of French furniture pieces from different centuries – from armoires to chairs, French lighting, curious objects like a 19th century Horse fragment, a 20th century Glass Cloches, 19th century cartographic maps of Paris, and antique hand-pressed French botanicals. Even HR’s blank journals are inspired by 18th century “couverture muette,” or mute book of the French Revolution. And this is just a tease of the myriad of pieces found in the catalogues (which, by the way, I heard weighted 16 lbs. combined).

The picture below represents circa 1900 brass brasserie table with elegant and simple lines.  I love this table. It reminds me of Paris, of my favorite cafés, of my favorite writer Proust, and of my favorite time in the cultural history of France. This is a must-have for a Francophile.

French Brasserie table

This beautiful mid-century library is called the French library. It’s made of metal and comes in three different finishes.

French Library

If you love big maps and if you have a great wall to showcase them, you can choose from a 1739 Plan de Paris decoupage map, circa 1756 Elevation of the Louvre, or a 1672 Plan de Paris Panel Map. I think the maps are just marvelous and beautifully reproduced. In the baby showroom, I even saw a wall display – a sweet baby dress made from a Parisian map.

Baby Dress - wall display

The baby collection is exquisite and courtly. If you have a baby or a young child, HR makes you dream of Versailles and tufted luxury. Your child can sit in the Versailles chair, the Antoinette bench, or the mini ondine salon bench (below). You can choose to decorate your child’s bed with a canopy, add a French script tapestry to the wall, cover the walls with French botanicals, and add elegant scones or extravagant ornamentation. Who can feel more a king or a queen surrounded by such elegance!

French tapestry

The French script grand canvas wall tapestry.

HR’s inspiration and philosophy resounds in this sentence by John Barrymore: “A man is not old enough until regrets take the place of dreams.” Thanks to HR, we can continue dreaming in French style.

Website and showrooms: Restoration Hardware













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