On the off chance that somebody might hire me to write the screeplay for a remake of Eric Rohmer’s 1986 film Summer (Le Rayon vert) — I know it sounds farfetched, but you never know — let me declare that my version will be set in Hoboken, N.J., and the title will be The Day of the Rolling Suitcases.
Let me explain.
Rohmer’s film — which is, in fact, not only the first Rohmer film I could stand to sit through, but one which actually charmed me into staying with it — is about Delphine, a young woman who finds herself alone and unattached in Paris just as it appears most of the city is getting up and leaving for the late August holiday season. Delphone has been ditched, and she’s been depressed about it for so long that her sadness has become something to cherish — she actually becomes irritated and angry with people who try to cheer her up. Throughout the film there are references to Jules Verne’s novel Le Rayon vert and the “green flash,” sometimes observed at sunset, when folklore has it you can see into the heart of the person you are with. After alienating and aggravating just about everyone she encounters, Delphine meets a young man on his way to Saint-Jean-de-Luz and decides to travel with him. The film ends with the two staring out at the horizon, waiting for the green flash. Trying to capture the real thing, Rohmer and his crew hung around long enough to put together another film, later released as Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, before giving up. In a way, the ending Rohmer was forced to come up with is even better: the screen goes dark, and we hear Delphine laugh in delight — a very welcome sound.
All this occurred to me as I walked to work this morning, literally surrounded by legions of young Hobokenite women, tanned and toned and buffed to a high gloss, as they trundled their rolling suitcases down to the PATH station — the departure point for the Fourth of July weekend. All of a sudden I imagined a Hudson County version of Delphine vainly trying to hook up with people up and down Washington Street as the condos and apartments emptied out and the population dwindled to a residue of couples, unlucky singles, old people and, way back in the locks away from Washington, project kids and old style Italians zealously guarding their parking spaces from encroachment. Maybe she’ll finally make a connection along the waterfront. Maybe she’ll even get to see the green flash, reflected in the side of the Goldman Sachs building — I haven’t decided.
Any producers who like this pitch, feel free to contact me at the e-mail address listed elsewhere on this site.