Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why you need to know French in a French Province !!

It is not one of the greatest of starts to the hiking season ! It hurts more since this one is going to be my last summer here in North America...

I planned my first solo hike ever - the trans Canada Trail. This is the same trail i did last fall with a friend of mine. (

The ordeal begins right there:

Website in french - No english translation available.
The campsites were shown as available on the website.
Tried calling the contact number listed. No answer - Voice mail was in French. I hear a beep and leave my name and number just in case sombeody returns my call.
There was no notice on the website indicating any special message.

I decide to go there directly since the campsites were mostly free even during peak season last year. I get up at 4AM on a nice sunny saturday and seven hours & 2 bus journeys later,  I reach the trailhead. Only to realize that the visitor's center (Sentier Des Caps) is locked. I enquire at the gas station near by. They somehow find the contact number (St Tite Des Caps it is a small village about 325KM north of Montreal) and give me a thunderbolt.
The season opens in July.

It seems that was the message in the French voicemail. This is the first time in past two years that I have felt the extreme need for French in this province. Montreal has a decent population that speaks English but the outskirts always have a miniscule population that is comfortable in any language other than French.

Anyways, I am still trying to figure out if I was to blame or if Quebec needs to be more open in terms of official communication for Tourism.

Let me continue thinking on what went wrong and will certainly post my opinion if i do reach a conclusion !!!

Till then, let me satisfy myself with Mont Royal (The city of Montreal derives its name from this hill) !!

Coming up next:
Grand Canyon (US) in the last week of June, and
Arctic Circle (Auyuittuq National park, Nunavut, Canada) late July.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Le Quattro Volte (The four times)

As I look back at the recent past, I realize that I have seen more offbeat and foreign movies than regular commercial flicks. Maybe it is a sign of changing preferences or maybe there are not enough good commercial flicks around or maybe Oscar fever has caught up on me. Whatever the reason maybe, I am certainly loving it.

This one is a dialog-less foreign movie. Well, there is nothing foreign in it as there is not even a single dialog in the whole movie. Which also implies that there were no subtitles!!

It portrays different aspects of human nature in the form of 4 elements - Human, Animal, Crop and mineral. Each of these has been shown as a different segment but has been impressively interwoven in the overall concept.

The moral of the story is that we live 4 lives :
As minerals- because we are made of salt, water and other organic matter
As crops - we breathe, reproduce and nourish ourselves.
As animal - we possess intelligence and can relate to the outside world.
As human - we are rational beings and have will and reason at our disposal.

Not a greatly captivating movie but does have some sparks of brilliance. Especially the way the lost young goat has been shot and it's feelings conveyed. Simple camera work, long uncut shots keep you occupied throughout the movie.

Great concept but execution could have been better. Nevertheless, a decent attempt and a very good message.

Trailer is available below: (Source - IMDB)

IMDb trailer


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Location:Avenue Lincoln,Montreal,Canada

Sunday, May 1, 2011

'In a Better World' - Danish film

Just back from (In) a Better World...

My tryst with foreign films continues. It used to be predominantly French until sometime back - but, of late this has extended to other languages as well.

After Incendies (French) & Biutiful (Spanish), it was time for 'In a Better World (Danish). All these were nominated foreign films for Oscars. If you want to play safe, start with the Oscar nominated foregin films - Chances are bright that you would get to watch some marvels.

This one is a lovely film with a great message. It tries to explore the thin line between justice and revenge. Wonderful perfomances from all the lead actors. It links a story in South Africa to another one in Denmark with utmost ease and draws parallels between them. The situations used to convey key messages are aboslutely delightful to watch and have a really strong impact.

And, the locations in Denmark were stunning with some beautiful shots of a riverside summer house and large fields amongst others. Africa, too, was pictured perfectly and everything seemed to be fitting very well into the script.

Despite the pace being slow, there was not a single moment when i was thinking about anything else. If you are a fan of really fast movies, then this may not be a great choice for you. But if are not, then this is a lovely watch.

Here is the trailer:

If you would like to see it on IMDb, here is the link:

Enjoy !