On the Map: Now I Will Swoon
Not being one to pay much attention to the lives of famous couples, I have to admit that one pairing I have a fondness for is French singer/actress Vanessa Paradis and American actor Johnny Depp. Their long-term relationship provides an example of stable partnership and parenthood that doesn't conform to the nuptial norm, which is a rarity in the celebrity world (though, admittedly, less and less so). So what better pair could pull off a similarly unconventional French-American love affair between French writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir and "macho" American writer Nelson Algren? I can think of none other.
Simone de Beauvoir's groundbreaking work, The Second Sex (1949), laid the foundation for much of contemporary feminism, and her polyamorous relationship with existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who she never married nor cohabitated with, is lauded by many as a brave act of rebellion on de Beauvoir's part. (She also never had children and was rumored to take both male and female lovers.) Her relationship with Algren is said to be detailed in her semi-autobiographical novel, Les Mandarins, and it will be interesting to see how the complicated personal-political politics of one of the most well-known and respected twentieth century feminists will be pulled off on the silver screen.
Another thing this project has going for it is Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallström, who worked with Depp on Chocolat and What's Eating Gilbert Grape? and will direct My American Lover, which is set to be released sometime next year. In the meantime, I guess I've got some French fiction to brush up on.
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