French Women Who Go It Alone

Corra was recently at the City of Lights, City of Angeles Film Festival, here in Los Angeles. The festival, known as CALCOA, is six glorious days of French Films in search of distribution in the United States. The films can range from comedies and gangster films, to deeper and more introspective entries.

While many American born cinephiles from the City of the Angels are in attendance, this festival brings out many French expatriates who have migrated to Southern California. Among them are a good many French women who come to the theater…alone. I mean, really alone.

Sure, some come with friends, a pack of women, but others just bring themselves. Now sure, this festival, which screens at the Directors Guild of America, is a safe environment for the single woman. But it is not the issue of safety that sparks Corra’s curiosity. Instead, the issue is how French women will show up single-0m while most American women would never dream of making a solo appearance.

American women are often too embarrassed. While there are a few who come by themselves to CALCOA, it is overwhelmingly the French women who show up single and in force. Surely, as Corra notes the wandering eyes and the hopeful looks on their faces, they are often there for more than the movie. It would be only natural they would hope to meet a guy in the type of environment that reflects similar tastes and affections.

With the French women you get the feeling that if they don’t meet a guy, then so what? So, Corra has to ponder if this is courage or merely an outgrowth of a cultural difference neither vaunted nor vilified in the media. Just a fact of life the French women take for granted, while the American women are programmed to die from embarrassment.

I guess this is the “table for one syndrome,” on a slightly different turn. Here at least no one really cares you came to the theater alone. Where when you are eating, everyone can sit and watch, feel sympathy, etc. In the theater, everyone is in the dark, staring at the film.

Whether more American woman should get out more often is a definite point of discussion. Whether they are safer roaming by themselves, than say the French women who have come from the relatively safer streets of Paris, is well worth noting. But Corra must wonder about the female Angelenos just denied themselves a very good time at a wonderful film festival.  They didn’t attend because they didn’t have a date, or girlfriends interested in accompanying them to the movies. American women denied a good time, because they were single.   As they say in French, Pathetique.