Place de la Bastille, Paris
The French version of the movie is called ‘La Taupe’ (The Mole) because the nursery-rhyme richness of ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ does not translate into French, period. ‘La Taupe’ is a nearly flawless piece of acting and cinema craft, filmed mostly in a British Burberry palette of beige, gray and taupe with dashes of blue bruises and coagulated blood. It is doing fairly well at the French box-office considering its cold-storage heart and stale message of upper-class fascination with the beauty of the Communist ideal.
Heading home from the cinema, crossing the center island of boulevard Richard Lenoir under the skeleton maze of steel supports for the now dismantled Sunday market vendors’ stands, I crossed paths with a couple evidently hurrying to catch the next show. My neighbors! Instantly recognized although I’ve never run into them before: Anne Sinclair and Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Both are so much smaller than they look in photos. He is a short round man with a deeply bowed back into which his neck has long since disappeared. His long white hair shines brighter than the halogen streetlights. She (the new face/boss of Huffington news in France) in her black coat is a frail leaf huddled beside him against the night wind. Monsieur and Madame Any-couple, you’d say, who share a lifetime, are enjoying a modest night out at the movies: a movie that turns on the siren song of Socialism. I turned to watch them just in time to see a couple of young black dudes instantly joyfully recognize DSK. They slapped him a handshake.
DSK was just released two days ago from police custody and interrogation concerning his alleged involvement in the Lille prostitution ring, abuse of public funds, arranging passports for call-girls to Washington, etc etc.
Richard Lenoir is a wide boulevard. Once on the other side all my rage against this guy boiled up again. Because France is on the rails. Today Athens burns, helpless to shake off the creditors, tomorrow could be Paris. But the people don’t get it. They have a choice between an ineffectual Socialist Party candidate who has never held responsible office and promises pie in the sky all around, and a UMP (conservative party) candidate who along with real dumb personal behavior has made some marginal improvements but has frittered away five years of opportunity to show courageous leadership. The people lean by a 7% margin to PS candidate Francois Hollande. A disaster foretold. Even Angela Merkel has mixed in on the French election, to stump for Sarkosy. Imagine Canada’s Prime Minister mixing in on a US election.
DSK, if he didn’t have a screw loose in the amygdala and hadn’t thrown all fortune’s love for him away in order to screw a few more pros and (perhaps) attack a chambermaid to boot, might have come back to save his country. That was the plan. He was already the anointed winner. Only a hardened world economist coming nominally from the Left could have made the entrenched union interests and sentimental Old Left of France swallow the horse-pill of reducing the bloated state, and other reforms.
But maybe that was always just a pipe-dream. Maybe DSK was always too corrupt, too self-indulgent and too egocentric to ever have pulled off such a difficult job. Maybe the sex scandals are just a side-bar.
I wonder: how did Dominique and Anne like ‘La Taupe’?