Friday, January 09, 2009

The curious side of teenage romance

The Métro is plastered with posters for the new teenage heartthrob vampire movie, Twilight. "A Romeo and Juliette fantastique that has astonished the world," promises the blurb, and on every train platform the pale, innocent heroine is locked in an embrace with the even paler and tormented-looking hero.

It amuses me quite a bit that the latest romance taking Paris by storm is set in Forks, Washington. I've been to Forks a number of times on my way to Olympic National Park, and I can't say it ever made much of an impression on me. It's the kind of place where you'd briefly stop for coffee and groceries when headed for a hike on the coast, a perpetually cloudy, down-at-the-heels logging town.

When I was thirteen years old, I was obsessed with the oh-so-Parisian Phantom of the Opera. I dreamed of treading the marble staircase of the Opéra Garnier and hearing mysterious footsteps behind me or catching the shadow of a black cape out of the corner of my eye. Are pre-adolescent Parisiennes now dreaming of attending Forks High School? Or of midnight romantic rendez-vous amidst moss-draped cedar trees?

Perhaps the "in a land far, far away" part is the key to Prince Charming's allure.


caramama said...

You captured the point of the setting perfectly in how you describe Forks, Washington. Small, cloudy and wet, blink-and-you-miss-it town. I think the reason comes across in the movie, but it is definitely detailed in the book.

Have you read the book or series? They were surprisingly good.

I have also always loved Phantom of the Opera, but I never went for the Phantom. I thought Raoul was such a great hero.

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I haven't read the series, but I've heard that they are actually pretty good for what they are. I know that if I were thirteen-to-sixteen years old again I would be obsessed, because it is just the kind of impossible love story I was captivated by then.

I always thought Christine was a fool for choosing Raoul. Where's the mystery? Where's the romance? But now at an old and wise 32 years old I think, yeah, not a bad guy. Willing to venture down into the depths of subterranean Paris to save his true love, after all. More the kind of guy you'd want awake at your side at 2 am with a screaming newborn.

Incidentally, I keep expecting the name "Raoul" to come back into style here in Paris along with other 19th century names that have recently reappeared, like Gaspar and Jules. But so far, nothing.

Isabelle said...

You wrote: "Perhaps the "in a land far, far away" part is the key to Prince Charming's allure."
I think that the big deal is that the actor who plays the role of the vampire is just oh so cute and that's what appeals all these crazy teenage girls... The story could take place anywhere in the world, the point is the cute guy!

As for the name Raoul, I highly doubt that it would ever come back into style... It was already hardly used in the 19th century, and sounds so ugly to the ear (sorry for all the Raouls who might read this comment), it would be a really bad gift parents would give their baby to name him this way.