Un peu beaucoup

Things do not bode well for Martin de Marceul as Tu seras mon fils opens. Seated in the viewing room and watching his father’s casket go up in flames inside the crematorium, Martin reaches for a flower and begins to pluck off petals one by one. I may be reading a lot into a little, but why wouldn’t Paul be wondering about whether his father loved him at this juncture? It’s a rare French child who hasn’t played the centuries old game called Effeuiller la marguerite and speculated on whether the object of their attention loves him or her and, if so, how much — un peu, beaucoup, à la folie, passionnément, or pas du tout, as she/he strips a daisy of its petals.

Effeuiller la marguerite

If France Info is to be believed, Paul’s chances of falling upon pas du tout are slim. Who knew this probability had something to do with a 13th century Italian mathematician named Fibonnaci, who came up with an algorithm we take for granted today? Find out more about the unlikelihood that you will find a daisy with 6, 9, or 12 petals, thus avoiding the heartbreak of pas du tout, and you’ve got the gist of it. Even if all this speculation about Martin is only my overheated imagination, I like stumbling on yet another detail that means this film — and its emotional vocabulary — will remain in my head for a long time.

Americans have it a lot easier with he loves me, he loves me not. Our streamlined version probably wouldn’t have inspired something as eerie as this song by Patti Guesch. Be sure to click “show more” to follow her lyrics de plus près.

— Linda



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