In general, this is a G-rated blog. But here’s the thing: What Jean DuJardin said above is not all he said when he accepted his “best actor” Oscar the other evening. He let loose a swear word, which was not caught by the censors because he said it in French. It has caused a big flap and has been all over the media, so let’s face it squarely. For today only, we are PG-13.
Speaking on behalf of his character in the silent movie “The Artist”, he read from his “cheat sheet”: If Georges Valentin could speak, he would say: “Wow! Putain! Génial! Merci! Formidable! Merci beaucoup! I love you! Merci beaucoup!”
wow! pew-TAA! zhay-nee-AHL! for-mee-DAH-bluh! mare-see boh-KOO!
Wow! F******** incredible! Thank you! Awesome! Thank you very much!
You might as well hear Jean DuJardin say it himself; he does it so much better than I ever could. Here’s a link. When you open that page, scroll down to the fourth video, and click on it to play it. Don’t you love his verve and enthusiasm?
And now, the offending word itself. It is putain, and it means whore in its literal sense. But it is rarely used that way. Putain is an exclamation that can mean almost anything, good or bad. Here’s a funny video that demonstrates its many uses:
Culturally speaking, it is not nearly as offensive as the f-word in English, though Dujardin’s mother was quoted as saying that she didn’t like it, and didn’t like that he said it. But we mothers are inclined to say things like that.
Some reporters spoke of Dujardin’s passion, suggesting that the word just slipped out in his excitement. I don’t entirely agree. He set it up, using his movie character as a shield. Is that a bad thing? I’m inclined to forgive him. Getting an Oscar is not, after all, an everyday event, and it was only one word, not a whole string of them. To me, it just seemed like a deliciously naughty trick.