Follow Friday: Bonjour Tristesse
Welcome to another edition of Follow Friday where each week I feature and interview a fellow blogger and follow their suggestion to another blog to feature next week. I prefer this over a blogroll because it gives each blog their own time to shine, plus I personally rarely click on blogrolls so why would I expect you to? Not only that, but I get the chance to check out some great blogs I might not have found otherwise found, talk to some great people, and share the conversation with you. Of course, if you would rather see something like a blogroll, I have collected all of my previous Follow Friday sites in list form which you can find right at the top of the page. This week I was directed by Jessica over at The Velvet Café to find out a little bit about the man behind Bonjour Tristesse.
I wish there was something interesting and useful I could say, but aside from having a great looking blog, I’m totally unfamiliar with nearly all the films that are reviewed there. So instead, I’ll just step aside and let the man behind Bonjour Tristesse fill you in with all you need to know.
Bubbawheat: One of the reasons why Jessica tagged you was because you don’t have much personal information on your site. In fact, due to the feminine sounding blog name, she and I both originally thought you were a female writer. With a lot of movie blogs out there being some sort of combination of a personal blog and a movie blog, what made you decide to keep the focus strictly on the movies and keep yourself out of the picture?
Bonjour Tristesse: Yes, well I’ve always been somewhat of a private person and feel more comfortable talking about my interests than myself. So naturally, my blog is entirely focused on the films.
BW: And how did you decide on the name?
BT: About the name, the blog actually started as a research project. I work in consulting for small businesses, and I was checking out various blog platforms for a client who was interested in starting one to promote themselves. So playing around with Blogger, I created a blog. I didn’t even plan on it being a movie blog. I was just testing out the features or whatnot.
It just so happened that I had just finished watching Otto Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse the night before, so it was the first title that came into my mind. In retrospect I probably should have gone with a more gender neutral sounding name for my online ‘alter ego’, but it’s too late for that now.
Anyhow, as it turns out, my client decided to go in an entirely different direction, and I ended up being the one with a blog. It will be two years in September.
I wish there was a more interesting origin story to tell. Perhaps one day I’ll come up with something more exciting and retcon it.
BW: What is it about foreign and cult cinema that appeals to you?
BT: I’m fascinated with other cultures and their history, and also of unconventional ways of doing things. I also grew up during the 80’s, the VHS era. Going into video stores as a youngster I was always attracted to all those fantastic horror and sci-fi posters and boxcovers. Bad films with great art, for example: C.H.U.D., Visiting Hours, Future Kill, or Demons. I was never really allowed to watch them though, so as a result I became even more drawn towards them. Of course most of them were terrible disappointments when I finally did get to see them, but the seeds sown in childhood have long taken root.
BW: I know you don’t cover them on your site, but what are some of your favorite mainstream Hollywood movies?
BT: I don’t cover them, not because I don’t enjoy them, but because there are just so many movie blogs talking about the same thing, that I don’t want to even try competing with them.
Of the current working directors I really like Tarantino, mostly because he was influenced by those movies i was talking about. Jackie Brown is probably my favorite of his. Also the Coen Brothers, I love Miller’s Crossing and No Country for Old Men. A few other favorites are Se7en, Heat, and Sin City.
BW: You do a lot of programming for both your site, and for the Lamb. Is that a personal hobby, or is that something you need to know for your professional life?
BT: It’s funny, I sometimes help to hire designers and programmers, but I don’t do any actual design or programming in my daily job. I’ve always tinkered with stuff on my own though, I fix my own vehicles, and do my own renovations and repairs around the house. I love figuring out how things work, and that extends to blogging. I knew a little programming basics before starting Bonjour Tristesse, but 95% of what I’ve done was learned on the fly. I’m no expert at it, if it wasn’t for Google, I would be hopelessly lost.
BW: What language do you most enjoy listening to in a movie? And do you happen to speak/understand more than one language?
BT: Great question. I know French pretty well, better if it’s Metropolitan French, even though I’m Canadian I struggle a lot with Québec accents. I have family originally from Hong Kong, so I can also understand Cantonese pretty well too, not quite enough to watch a film without subtitles, but close. I also know a bit of Spanish. But due to lack of practice except for watching movies, I’m really only comfortable communicating in English.
The languages where I have no idea what they are saying but love listening to are:
Hungarian. It has such a unique and interesting sound, almost Asian and European at the same time but really like no other.
Brazilian Portuguese. So smooth and silky. In my opinion the most beautiful sounding language in the world.
Persian/Farsi. I find has a very pleasant sound and a lovely flow. Especially when spoken by a woman.
BW: What festival’s movies are you most looking forward to?
BT: Even though there’s been some great announcements in the past couple weeks, I’m still most looking forward to the films that premiered earlier this year. From Cannes: Amour, Holy Motors, Beyond the Hills, Post Tenebras Lux, Rust and Bone and Like Someone in Love. From Berlin: Tabu, War Witch, A Royal Affair, and Just The Wind.
BW: And I ask everyone this question, what’s your favorite superhero movie?
BT: That’s a tough call. It’s a toss up between Darkman and The Crow, with an honorable mention to Robocop. I like my superheroes to be dark stories and have real special effects done with prosthetics and miniatures.
BW: Finally, what blog do you suggest that I follow for next week?
BT: How about another enigmatic blogger that we know little about? Castor Troy from Anomalous Material.
Interesting choice, I’ve heard a lot about him but haven’t actually interacted with him much, and I don’t believe he’s ever stopped by this site. Thanks for your time, it was very interesting to hear some of your answers. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.