Recalculating the White Page-GPS Love in Comme dans un film des frères Coen

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Abstract

Hastings reads the novel Comme dans un film des frères Coen (2010) by Bertrand Gervais as addressing both the midlife and the blank page crisis. Indeed, the main character of this novel is a writer in his fifties who still suffers from the failure of his last novel ignored by the critics. Disenchanted, he slowly enters a world of fantasy, and falls in love with the voice of his GPS he called Gwyneth “parle trop” (speaks too much) therefore recalling the name of the actress with the same name. He gradually loses contact with his wife and his son, a successful painter, and is transformed into “the man who was not there” another character from a movie by the Coen brothers entitled The Barber: the man who was not there. Hastings asks: How could one get lost with a GPS? After the main character had initially bought his GPS for a trip in Australia in order to find his way, it started to go beyond its role as a road guide and questioned where he was in his relationship with his wife, in his career as a writer, and in his skin as a mature man. Not only was the GPS not fulfilling its purpose but also it started to ruin a fragile relationship hoping to find its way back to love during a last minute trip in Australia. Even after destroying the annoying talkative GPS, it continued to disrupt the couple in the plane on the way back to Canada. As much as Gwyneth the GPS is synonymous with escape and freedom, it is also showing the main character the wrong way, the way out of his reality, out of his family and out of his life. His attempts to free himself from Gwyneth are worthless, her image is still there, haunting his thoughts like images from a movie. But the displacement happens at another level than just the diegetic one. The confrontation of the text with moving images has consequences on the shape of the text itself. The mapping of the text on the page is influenced by this amalgam. The white page becomes a space where words are rearranged in different ways, some of which suggest poetry, other cartoons or cinematic images. The displacement of literature in areas that were previously foreign to it is at the heart of creative activity, and determines its renewal. Hastings presents the consequences resulting from the confrontation with the GPS, both on the mapping of one’s identity as well as the mapping and the shaping of the text itself.

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Human and Social Studies

The Journal of "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University from Iasi

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