Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Atmosphère, atmosphère....

A few days ago I wrote about discovering the Canal Saint Martin near La Republique.  A blogger I greatly admire, a French citizen from Martinique living in Berlin who writes the fabulous blog Les Chroniques Berliniquaises, left this comment:
Here's something for you; I'm quite sure that you missed out on it because you're a foreigner...
Why do you think what you call "the Mayor's website" (I didn't follow the link, just read the text you copied) used quotes around the word atmosphère? You wouldn't need them normally for such a word in this context, there's nothing special about the way it is employed, except... that most French people with some knowledge of their classics of the French Cinéma know that next to the Canal St-Martin, there is this small hotel called Hôtel du Nord, which gave its name to a 1938 film featuring French cinema legend Arletty, and thus associated with one of the best-known French cinema lines ever (for French people that is), which goes simply as such: 
« Atmosphère, atmosphère, est-ce que j’ai une gueule d’atmosphère ? ».
He is absolutely right - I completely missed the allusion when I read the description here and did not include the quotes around the word "atmosphere" in my translation.  Just for fun, here is a clip from the film which contains the famous line that he refers to:



Just wonderful.  Thank you again, Le Chroniqueur Berliniquais, for pointing it out. :-)

1 comment:

Le Chroniqueur Berliniquais said...

Why, you're welcome Victoria. I'm glad you got this further insight in French culture, which you obviously know quite well already. Just like many others, I don't remember ever watching this film at all, but this line is so famous that I could recognise a hint at it just like that :-)

Probably I'll never be so proficient with the German classics, unfortunately, but hey that's how it is - I'm from Martinique and I'm French, and I don't mind facing the truth that I'll never really become German (not that I want to, in the first place). Maybe it feels the same for you.

Thanks for quoting me so openly today! A good evening to you,

JM