Hard and soft ways to make acquaintance by C. Marker [En]


I think it was Chris Marker who once described the difference between the  French and Americans in the ways to make acquaintance in those terms:

” the French have a ‘ hard ‘way to greet each other, for example;” Bonjour, comment ca va?” even, shaking hands put some distance

On the other hand, the American way is all; ‘ What’s up? How’ re you doing ?’

But, the French then open up and the way to make acquaintance becomes ‘softer’ – people will let you in their circle of friends, family, etc.

On the contrary, the Americans will delimit their spaces, become more distant- as time goes by.  Then, the ‘ soft ‘ -vs ‘hard’ contrast makes less sense; and this may lead to some cultural misunderstanding; why would this American girl who was all chatty Monday … why has she become cold on Tuesday or Thursday ? …”

Not verbatim, but his thoughts – as I remember them; this was in an interview – many years ago – for the celebration at the American Center in Paris.

I have tried to contact many people to find the exact transcript/ interview, over the years – in vain. Unfortunately.


One Response to “Hard and soft ways to make acquaintance by C. Marker [En]”

  1. jeanwadier Says:

    Camillia Sinensis — she takes a picture
    September 16, 2009 by jeanwadier
    Camillia Sinensis — she takes a picture

    She takes a picture.

    We are having breakfast at Café Cherrier, a serious place for serious people (and serious eaters) in Montreal, near Parc La fontaine.

    She takes another picture.

    The subject being:

    Her plate with eggs and toasts + home fries.

    They do that in Japan

    A bow, a smile

    A picture.

    We eat; it’s delicious J

    And cheap – some five bucks.

    I discovered Café Cherrier last year

    Via the concierge at le Hilton.

    Not that I was staying at the Hilton,

    But concierges know everything

    And people being very nice in North America

    They are willing to help !

    We walk: from l’Auberge to le Quartier Latin

    To Mont-Royal and back

    Break at Camellia Sinensis

    One of my favorite places;

    I discovered it (well, you get the idea…)

    We walked all day.

    She takes a picture.

    Well, now

    This is tea, the tea ceremony …

    They do that in Japan too, I hear

    Tea, a smile

    A bow

    And a picture.

    We are having iced tea; why ?

    Because Yakari says so: that’s why.

    Add: some fruit – pineapple,mango

    Dates and a macaron; she wonders at the dates.

    Camellia Sinensis is high on my list of

    “ Best Places on Earth “ (besides Earth itself).

    As she takes another picture;

    “ this is a very nice place. “

    She comments

    Coming from a Japanese woman,

    The comment is worth a million yens.

    Her name is Yakari

    And I should know how to write it

    In Japanese by now.

    I have to give her a copy of

    “ Four Seasons in Kyoto “ by pico iyer

    One day, or better: fly, swim,

    Crawl to Japan

    Yakari, le Café Cherrier

    Or is it Yakuri …

    Will do that to you.


    Jean W

    [ written in good taste

    With a slight zest of irony

    To; yakari – with a smile, a bow

    And may I take a picture ?]

    Posted in Uncategorized

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