I tell Cheri she should see Dominique Sanda at seventeen.
She checks out Une Femme Douce from the town library.
She doesn’t want to tell them she doesn’t know French,
only Spanish, that’s why she needs the one with subtitles.
She’s six years older than the unnamed woman Sanda is.
She remembers being married, but that was only recently.
Her sky fell in after three months. They dated three years,
then he turned into a wife-beater and she cut him loose.
No wonder she wants to go to London, then the Philippines.
America is too toxic. The smell in the smalltown air, even.
She says to me, I thought it was a strong film, but why
are the people so wooden? Doesn’t anybody have a soul?
I try to tell her that Bresson thought soul was what you see
when cool takes over the bodies moving through images
until somehow they strike like flint slowly flaring invisibly,
and that is soul. She said she liked best the suicide scene,
loved seeing it at the beginning and at the end. The patio
wreckage, the sound of it first, then the billowing scarf
following her down where she lies in her bright crimson.
(after Bresson’s Une Femme Douce, 1969)
(27 November 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander