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Le signe du lion

Le signe du lion. Éric Rohmer. 1962.

I’ve really enjoyed all the Rohmer movies I’ve seen, but I’ve only seen random handful of his 90ish movies. And he’s a Nouvelle Vague director, of course, so now I’m excited to go back to his first movie. (I bought an “integrale” from France which has English subtitles, fortunately. 2K!)

Jess Hahn does an important role, which is an odd choice, because even I can hear that he can barely speak French. It kinda sounds like he’s memorised his lines phonetically? But, I mean, I don’t know from French so perhaps he speaks perfectly.

I found it a bit hard to connect with this movie. Perhaps, in a way, because it’s just too sad. It’s basically about layabout and a sponger who’s getting to be old enough that his acquaintances are no longer charmed. The saddest part of it is that he’s not charming, he’s not funny and he’s not purdy, so Rohmer is really asking a lot of the viewer. I’m guessing that’s very much on purpose.

One note: I don’t quite understand the money bits in the translation. One guy says “dix mille francs”, and it’s translated as “hundred francs”. And:

Milliardaire is translated as “millions”, while it’s really billions.

*scratches head*

Is this something do to with new/old Francs? But dix mille -> 100 is one less zero than billion -> million…

Confusing! Especially since so much of this movie is about L’Argent.

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  1. Didn’t they cut off a number of zeroes at some point? I seem to remember “old francs/new francs” from vacations in my youth (or was it during French lesssons in school?)

    Wikipedia: “After two centuries of inflation, it was revalued in 1960, with each new franc (NF) being worth 100 old francs. The NF designation was continued for a few years before the currency returned to being simply the franc; some mostly older French continued to reference and value items in terms of the old franc (equivalent to the new centime) until the introduction of the euro in 1999 (for accounting purposes) and 2002 (for coins and banknotes).” –

    They apparently kept talking about for for a long time.

    I guess the bill/millionaire was just “sort of” translated…