Thursday, May 26, 2011

Little things character study

There's a truly great French comedy film, called Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain or simple Amélie. Amazon reviews called it one of the top ten most charming films of all time (albeit it is rated R for being, well, French i.e. very comfortable with sexuality.)

One of it's charms is the way characters are described. In a couple quick strokes, the narrator tells us what they like and don't like. It is like saying who they really are, not what they wear, how old they are, what color their hair is...we say, "Ah, I know someone like that!"

Here's a little list of some characters:

Amélie likes: Turning in the theater to look at peoples' faces in the dark, skipping stones in the canal St.Martin, breaking the crust of crème brûlée with the end of a little spoon, plunging her hands deep into a bin of beans. She doesn't like in old American films when drivers don't look at the road.

Georgette, the hypochrondriac, doesn't like: hearing "the fruit of your loins is blessed."

Gina likes: to crack her knuckles.

Hippolito, the failed writer, likes: watching a matador get horned on TV.

Joseph: the only thing he likes is popping bubbles on bubble-wrap packing.

Suzanne likes: atheletes who cry from disappointment. She doesn't like: having in her café a man humiliated in front of his child.

Raphaël doesn't like: peeing next to someone, getting out of the water and feeling his swimsuit stuck to him. He likes: peeling off big pieces of wallpaper, emptying his tool box, cleaning it well and at last, putting everything back in neatly.

Amandine doesn't like: fingers wrinkled by hot bath water, having wrinkles from the sheets imprinted on her cheek in the morning. She likes: figure skaters costumes on channel TF1, emptying her purse, cleaning it well and at last, putting everything back in neatly.

Nino likes: playing the gorilla who whispers in girls' ears in the Haunted House, collecting pictures people throw away from automatic passport booths.

I wonder, could we quantify our own character/personality so concisely? Can we do that for our characters? I'd love to hear things that either you or your characters like or don't like!!!


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