The Film: Comme une image [Look At Me]
A likeable film about unlikeable characters, you will never see another story like this. At the center is one man — a famous writer, a father and husband, a womanizer, a self-centered jerk. Friends, family, and strangers become entwined in the web he casts. But with the good comes the bad and each character is effected by the man who seems not to know the world isn’t about him.
Each scene reveals both the sympathetic and the insufferable in each character. Each is absorbed in their own misery, wants, and failures. Writer/director Agnès Jaoui, who also stars, creates a world so realistic it’s painful. But you never want to look away.
Let It Rain, another film by Jaoui, has hints of these interpersonal struggles. That one event or one person can be such a dynamic force that everything seems to revolve around it so what made you free can, with time, make you feel burdened. At least, that is my interpretation but there is a slightly ambivalent taste to her films. Though nothing can said against the raw writing which brings forth excellent performances.
My favorite scenes in Look At Me are not about the main characters at all. Though their are plenty of good scenes with Marilou Berry as Lolita, the scenes that make it worthy of recommendation for me are those with her step-mother, Karine. Played to perfection by Virginie Desarnauts.
Her scenes are not very long, they’re not focus only the catalyst. But until this film I had never scene the role of a woman like her played in this way. She is thin and beautiful and young — the trophy wife to a middle-aged narcissist. But she has money and looks and a husband, and in any other script done by any other writer she would have been one dimensional. She would have pouted, she would have been a sex kitten — she would have been used to impart character to her husband. But Karine had her own wants, deep and caring aspirations. To befriend her step-daughter. To be treated fairly. And this is what makes a two-hour film about a man incapable of love and those who depend on him worth watching. Whatever story there is here to tell you can be assured it is being told in the best possible way.
The Food: Fried herbed almonds [from Martha Stewart]
Sometimes the tastiest things are the most simple. I cannot explain to you how easy this is to make, how increidble it smells, or how impressive it is. If you’re stuck for a last minute hostess gift, if your cheese tray doesn’t look quite impressive enough, if you just want to out do your sister — this is the recipe.
And don’t let the thyme scare you. Use any herb. It doesn’t have to be fresh either. The warm olive oil will ignite any dried herb and allow the flavour to bloom. Want to add garlic? What about lemon zest instead? Do it. You can’t go wrong here.
Heat in a large skillet over medium heat
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Add and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes.
2 cups whole blanched almonds
Stir in leaves and remove from heat, then season.
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely. Almonds can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.