I went to the Chicago International Film Festival, saw two films; one was not very good, the other much better. David and I enjoyed "Just a Sigh" last night, a French film starring Emmanuelle Devos and Gabriel Byrne. Two strangers see each other on a train bound for Paris. He asks her a question before getting off but circumstances get in the way and they don't continue the conversation. Nevertheless, she goes and finds him at a church where the funeral of a friend is taking place. Awkward at first, eventually they kiss, have sex in his hotel room, back and forth she goes between her real life and this adventure. By the end they part ways. Lots of close-ups of faces. Plenty of Paris sights. Fine classical music. All in all, a satisfactory way to spend an evening.
More movies to come later.
And now on to the Chicago Humanities Festival. Sunday at Northwestern Day we attended two programs: "A Neuroscientist and a Humanist Walk into a Bar..." and "Julia Kristeva's Couch." The first conversation between two professors was scripted and rather obscure. It wasn't easy to hear them or see them on a rather dark stage. The two women seemed like fun teachers to have and could've been more interesting. Not much learned there. Kristeva's chat with an English professor turned out more difficult to hear or understand. I was so excited to see her and listen to her words after having studied her work in graduate school (read and regurgitated often) and admired her philosophy. What she said Sunday afternoon was fairly abstract and unclear. And I'll say it again: the format of a conversation sucks! I said it last year and even wrote a review of the whole thing that I sent to the CHF people. But - who listens to me? Nobody apparently. Conversations between two fabulously interesting, smart, exciting people do not work out. Let the guest talk for her or himself about something. Let him or her teach us something, make us laugh, whatever; but don't have some puppet sit there and ask insipid questions. It's boring.
More programs coming in November. Stay tuned.