June 2012

We made the first of our two motoring tours of Italy in 2001. We took the shuttle train through the channel tunnel on a Friday evening late in September, stayed the night in Calais, then drove down through France to Italy, arriving at dusk in Milan.

On Sunday we drove on to Verona, taking a detour along the shores of Lake Garda on the way. In the afternoon we visited the art museum in the Castelvecchio. The castle was completed in 1376 and is a superb setting for a museum. The fortified bridge that crosses the river here is a restoration; the original was destroyed at the end of the Second World War. In the evening we joined the passeggiatta, taking a stroll through the streets to the arena, before heading back to our hotel for supper.


At the weekend our local cinema ran a short season of French films as part of the annual French Arts and Film Festival. We managed to get to a few of them.

Les Emotifs Anonyme is an amusing comedy directed by Jean-Pierre Améris.  Angélique belongs to a mutual aid group for people who are very awkward in personnel relationships. She is also an anonymous master chocalatier, selling her chocolates through the shop of M. Mercier. After his death she joins, as sales-women, a failing chocolate factory run by Jan René van der Hugde, who is equally awkward, and is being helped in private sessions by a psychologist. The course the film takes is unsurprising. The secret chocolatier returns to save the business and the couple muster the composure to get married.

The lead roles are played by Isabelle Carré and Benoît Poelvoorde. We saw Poelvoorde a couple of years ago in Anne Fontaine’s film Coco avant Chanel, playing Etienne Balsan.