NYC’s French film festival, Rendez-vous, was on so, following my appreciation of the Jewish film festival recently, I gave it a shot. I watched all the trailers and, just as I expected from the French, all of the movies centered around sex and triangles (not the musical variety). The movie that I chose, Grand Central, was focussed on a young, handsome, new nuclear plant worker who hung around his new coworkers and gradually got involved with the hot woman who already had a fiance of her own. Their encounters were all “sexy rolling in the bushes” but they rarely even seemed to speak or share an interest in each other when their clothes were on. Maybe that’s how Frogs do relationships.
Love triangles aside, the setting of the movie was extremely interesting and topical, being about a small community of nuclear plant workers. Every minute spent inside the plant meant one more minute of radiation dosage received. Every day, they had to check and record how much dosage they’d received and get regular health checks. If an accident occurred or a person’s natural accumulation of radiation hit a certain limit, they had to retire from nuclear work permanently. It was fascinating to realise that every day was spent in the shadow of an invisible threat. They danced a tango with this threat daily and risked cancer, infertility and general ill-health. The Simpsons makes nuclear work look fun and safe so I’d always assumed that the thick suits made you immune from radiation, but clearly the reality is that, all over the world, people are opting to work at these plants and slowly killing themselves from the inside out.
The French director was there for followup Q&As and she had a cheeky sense of humour. She explained that, prior to the screening, she’d been outside, eating cheese and a baguette while smoking … typical. Some of her explanations got lost in translation but her vibrancy and humour made for an enjoyable session. I’m sure I’ll have another “rendez-vous” next year.