HE AND SHE (Parable about the Jews).
By Boris Gulko
Upon discovering Franco-Belgian melodrama “He and she” among the best films of 2017 I decided to see what the European culture looks like today. It turned out that I made the right choice. The parable of the film answers this question.
The narrative begins with the funeral of a famous French writer. The widow of the deceased tells the biographer about their life together - the French writer Victor and his Jewish wife Sarah. Gradually it becomes clear that we see the parable about the love relationship, with all their differences, of European culture (in its French version), and the Jewish people.
It’s clear why the side of Jews is represented by a woman. One of the sources of the European spiritual quest of the 20th century was the book written by the young Viennese Jew Otto Weininger "Sex and Character". The author argued that the character of the Jews is sensual and immoral, akin to that of the female. Not able to bear his own discovery, Weininger committed suicide at the age of 23.
Sarah fell in love with Victor at the first site, immediately and irrevocably. He tried to avoid the clingy woman besotted with love, but it was inevitable. Sarah appeared in Victor's house with his best friend, then in the house of their parents - with his brother. The brother and the friend probably represent art and music in this parable. Victor had no choice but to fall in love. Sarah also skillfully manipulated Victor in getting rid of all his other women.
Victor relates the dynamics of his attitude towards Sarah to his bald psychiatrist during his analysis sessions. Freudianism is another Jewish seductive obsession of the early 20th century, which determined the path of European culture. Analyst tells Victor, who is already deeply in love with Sarah, that his mustache, according to Freud, is a symbol of hair in female intimate parts, which the hero wants to have always available to his tongue.
Then Sarah for a short time gets addicted to cocaine, which also had an influence on the European culture. As the matter of fact, it was promoted by Freud, who recommended widespread use of this drug.
But the main field of Jewish influence on European culture was literature, and Victor is its symbol. He would succeed only when Sarah, a doctor of literary criticism from the Sorbonne, will resolutely edit, and even rewrite his manuscripts. After the publication of the novel Victor wrote about his mother, she kills her favorite dog and throws herself out of the window. Thus, in a resolute manner, Victor is drawing closer to Sarah and moves away from his own roots.
Sarah introduces Victor to her family, and Sarah's father explains to him that the best writers, who have wisdom, irony and humor, are Jews. Father offers the Frenchman to read the books of Isaac Bashevis-Singer, Sol Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth stored in his house. These American Jews defined the ways of world literature of the 20th century, and if you want to be “in style”, write like them, he says.
At night Victor wakes Sara. He made a discovery - he is a Jew. Victor takes the surname of Sarah and begins to write novels on Jewish themes. He suddenly achieves a deafening success. In the process, outstanding Jewish writers are mentioned: one of the fathers of the modern novel, Marcel Proust, Romain Gary, the only writer who won Goncourt Prize twice. Generally, this award could be awarded to the writer only once, but
won this prestigious award twice – the second time under the pseudonym Emile Ajar.
In the second half of the 20th century, European literature gradually is pushed to the second place by Jewish-American literature.
Sarah and Victor have two children. The older son is dumb and spiteful. He obviously symbolizes fascism. Of course, fascism is inconceivable without Jews. When a boy with a perverted erotic tendencies (falling for older women) right from his childhood, dies, his mother cries. "Did you love him?" asks Victor. "No" - the mother answers. Jews have a reason to cry after the death of fascism.
Their second child - a daughter - is absolutely normal. She calls her mother “a whore." This daughter is a symbol of postmodernism, modern French society with its BDS movement, pro-Palestinian demonstrations, anti-Semitism, a society that Jews actively leave.
However, Sarah really cooled towards the "French classic". Over the years, the classic got bald and wilted. Only his mustache proudly bristles over above his lip. Sarah, on the contrary, is becoming more and more beautiful. If Victor’s eroticism is expired, Sarah’s sex-appeal is growing. Every evening she goes somewhere: "vocal lesson," "painting lesson." Victor freaks out, and brings her a "South American lover" himself. In the second half of the twentieth century juicy South American literature conquered the fading European one. It is not clear just how Jewish it is. The deepest South American writer, with a Jewish-sounding name, Jorge Luis Borges, wrote an essay proving that he was not a Jew, but a descendant of a migrant from
why such a migrant can not be from the Marrano[O1] line? However, Victor himself kicks a South American away from his
Sarah abandons Victor, the symbol of the shrinking European culture, for the sake of the computer guru. That’s where the future is.
Years pass by. Victor writes anti-female novels, and they all fail - because women read them. Here, too, the symbolism of Weininger is seen: women are like Jews. Finally, Sarah returns to Victor and hands him his new novel. Victor is surprised, but the novel is published and again, with the great success.
The novelist's degradation continues. His erection and memory disappeared at the same time, Sarah remarks. She leads Victor to the edge of the cliff, where they play a favorite game of their youth. They blindfold each other and command each other where to go. Sarah leads Victor to the abyss - 150 meters down to the sharp stones below.
At the end of the film, there is a "revelation" - as in the Voland’s [O2] variety show. It turned out that Sarah herself back then decided to make a Jew out of her husband. He was surprised that from then on he will have a Jewish name. Sarah confesses to the biographer, but he already guessed that Victor’s best novels were written by Sarah. Here we have the same circumstances as in the famous novel by Guy de Maupassant's[O3] "Bel Ami” (“Darling Friend"), in which the literary talent of Madeleine made two journalists famous -- her husband and her lover. Where can a modern French novel grow from, if not from Maupassant?
[O1]In Spanish the word " marrano " can refer to: the domestic pig; the Marranos , a derogatory form with which they were called the Jews of Spain and
forced to convert to
Christianity, and who continued to observe their customs and religion. Portugal
[O2]Woland is a demon who appears in Goethe's Faust: the knightVoland or Faland. This link is made tighter by the quotation fictional character in the 1967 novel “The Master and Margarita by the Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov. It’s another name of a Satan. Woland’s name itself is a variant o’d f the name of a from Faust at the beginning of the novel. However, Woland is seldom called by his name. His band refer to him as "messire", a French honorific title meaning "sire"
[O3]Guy de Maupassant was a French writer, remembered as a master of the short story form, and as a representative of the naturalist school of writers, who depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms. His works are known for highly erotic and sensual content.