objets retrouvés

Lost and found

I went to my office on Saturday to clean out anything that mattered to me and any confidential papers that shouldn’t be left about for a stranger to read. Someone will be using my desk for the remainder of the semester and this was a good motivation to bring home more books. Two boxes were donated, four came home with me, and of those I’ve already begun a pile of what should be sold or recycled.

Waiting for me on my desk were a few VHS tapes I had converted to DVD. Just moments ago I checked the DVD made of “Outremer” (Overseas) by Brigitte Roüan, the story of three French sisters from Algeria and how they confronted the end of colonization, each in her own way. I had used this film as an undergraduate student in an art history project, I have loved it and revisited it over the years, but had more or less abandoned the video cassette on a shelf for the past five.

My heart lept when I saw it play here on my computer screen. How accessible this movie suddenly became, how joyfully familiar, its grainy images comforting me as nostalgia bubbled over. Once a cult object, much like my beloved copy of Les Pieds Noirs by Marie Cardinal, now it is so close to me, I wonder if its charm will wear off.

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