Thursday, May 15, 2008

On May 15

On this day in ...
... 2008 (today), the United Nations marks the 14th annual International Day of Families. This year's theme is "Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges."
... 1898 (110 years ago today), Léonie Marie Julie Bathiat was born to a working-class family in Courbevoie, France. After working for a while as a secretary, at age 20 she embarked on a career on the stage, in cabarets, and, eventually, in film, under the stage name Arletty. Typically she played "the femme fatale, the vamp, the prostitute – down-to-earth, earthy, slightly comical female types, usually complex characters with a tough outer shell which concealed an inner vulnerability." The year of her most famous film role, that of Garance in Les Enfants du paradis (1945), also was the year in which her popularity

plummeted, as a result of an affair she had had with a German soldier during the war. Shunned by the public for what was interpreted as 'collaboration,' Arletty was forbidden from working for three years and spent several months in prison.

Arletty's comment on her World War II behavior? "Mon coeur est français mais mon cul est international." ("My heart is French but my ass is international.") By the time Artletty died in 1992, her reputation had been restored, though she had not acted for decades after an accident left her partially blind.

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