Re: The Paris Trip: Carmela's "Join the Club"

Re: beautiful pix of St. Eustache Cathedral (another Roman General reference)...

btw- this church is named after Roman General Eustace and his family, who were martyred after their conversion to Christianity. Symbolized by a stag, he's the patron saint of hunters, and that church has an annual performance of "St Hubert's Mass" to mark the opening of the hunting (shooting) season. Seems like Ro & Carm are specifically visiting places which are about the Roman-Italian presence and influence in France, such as the Roman baths, etc. One historically significant thing about this church is that it is the last gothic cathedral built before the Rennaissance- with a bit of architecture showing the foundations of the amazing creativity about to explode in the coming rennaissance.

Is it possible this is a sign that Carm is about to experience a re-birth of her own soon? Visiting the last of the Old Way. This could tie into De Novo's fascinating post in the Near Easter/Religious philosophy thread in KitchenSink, with a possible connection with his listed step No.11 and Episode No.11 relating to the theme of Birth.


Re: The Paris Trip: Carmela's "Join the Club"

Your welcome Fly. Glad to help.

That's interesting stuff Badabellisima. I'm glad you told us that the Stag was St. Eustache's symbol. The stag was used by early Christians as a symbol for Christ. It still comes up in modern times as well. C.S. Lewis used it in The Chronicles of Narnia.

One more thing I found interesting. The Champs-Elysses means Elysian Fields. In Greek Mythology the Elysian Fields is a western section of the underworld, where the souls of the heroic and virtuous went after death. I thought this went along well with the idea of Paris as being some sort of Heaven.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... store>Pork Store</A> at: 6/4/06 11:57 pm

Re: The Paris Trip: Carmela's "Join the Club"

I’d like to come back to the last Parisian scene of the episode, with the ‘Guerlain perfumes’ store.

Paris is a multifaceted city, and two precise aspects of it were chosen for the sake of Carmela’s storyline : Materialism and Soul.

On one hand, for the entire world, Paris tries to shine an image of prestige, refinement and luxury with all its fashion and beauty brands (Louis Vuitton, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hermès, Chanel, L’Oréal, etc…). In fine, those values of refinement and prestige are essentially propagated with the marketing of luxury products and goods. That makes Paris a very materialistic place. Like a giant luxury shopping mall.

On the other hand, Paris has known so much and various history:
The roman invasion (Cluny’s roman baths vestiges as seen), the Monarchies and Baroque period (Versailles), Napoleon’s regime (the Arc de Triomphe), the 19th century industrial era (the Eiffel tower), the world wars (François Martine’s plaque), etc…
And there are proofs of those ‘pasts’ at almost every street corner. History is so much part of the town in its architecture that it gives the whole town a presence, a personality, a soul. It humbles you.

At the beginning Carm was still materialistic: when in the café (where Rosalie was jet-lagged) she said “I should have slept before hitting the stores” and she takes a look at her new hat. So the first thing she did, even before resting after the travel, was shopping!

After visiting for a while, Carm feels Paris’soul, and precisely in the Roman baths ruins, when she realises how insignificant one (and her) life could be in the realm of the vast and agitated history of mankind. It humbles her, and makes her open up to her surroundings. As for me, it was no wonder why she tried to open up and be altruistic with Rosalie at the restaurant, when she brought the Jackie Jr subject.

She discovered the soul in a specific place where she could have been blinded by materialism.

The last Parisian scene of the episode is a sum up and a simple metaphor to her enlightenment.

She approaches a Guerlain store, but is appalled by the sculpture above the shop window and pays no attention to the shop window itself.
Carm stares at that woman’s face, and she actually stares back at her. It’s like a mirror scene, where a character stares at its reflection, and the reflection stares back. The woman’s face is a reflection of Carmela herself. This statue IS her.
That woman sculpture is literally above the luxury store.
This means, now being enlightened, that Carmela figuratively rose above materialism.

The question is will it last??

In this very same episode we saw it didn’t for Tony.
He expressed anger (towards AJ as he told Melfi after seeing him laughing while chatting on internet). He was tough on business (with Phil, when he previously on the season was more flexible ; and with Vito, he ordered his hit when he previously offered a pass). He was violent (the helmet in the windshield). He was unfaithful to Carm (with the BJ when he previously resisted with Julianna).
Old Tony is definitely back, or I’d say: New Tony is dead when New Carm is born.

Re: The Paris Trip: Carmela's "Join the Club"

Very nice post, agamemnon. I haven't watched the episode in over 3 years, but what I do recall seems to jive well with your symbolic read of the whole Paris experience for Carm.

I would only add that returning home to NJ -- without doing anything to ACT on that newly inspired feeling in terms of changing her circumstances -- meant that she was in a sense sucked back into the vortex of that low world and that her enlightenment was ultimately doomed to be as short-lived as Tony's coma enlightenment.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: The Paris Trip: Carmela's "Join the Club"

A very good post Agamemnon and very insightful.

I am also going through the series again and I have just finished series 5. I am looking forward to watching this episode you have discussed. The Paris trip in "Cold Stones" was Carmella's own "Join the Club".

You asked a very good question. Did Carmella's "enlightenment" last?

The Fly is right. More than likely it didn't. As well as Carmella and Tony, nearly every character in the series had a journey in which they were given an opportunity to reform.

But they all returned to the venal, violent and corrupt world because none of them could give up the "luxuries" that this mileau bought them. It was too hard for them to give these up.

Remember Carmella was given the chance to escape Tony's world when they separated. But he made it extremely difficult for her to keep the material objects she was accustomed to. He leant on all the divorce lawyers whom she was trying to engage the services. She could not then make a substantial claim on the family property (despite the fact they were bought using the gains made by illegal means). It was easier for her to "fall back into line". Chase unkindly, but perhaps correctly, labelled her a "house-wife whore".

Another revealing scene in "Cold Stones" was when Carmella had a dream and she saw a glamorous, stylishly dressed Adriana walking her dog through a Parisian street and a genderme tells Carm that this woman is dead.

It does suggest that Carmella's subconscious was telling her what she was consciously denying about what really must of happened to Adriana.

But I guess one can see this a signal. She was also looking at another reflection of herself. The material brands that one dresses themselves up with will come to nothing in the end.

In the Holsten's scene in the finale, Carmella asks Tony what did his lawyer tell him. Tony said that it looked like Carlo had rolled to the feds. The look on her face where she understood the implications of this (and it's a testimony of Eddie Falco's brilliant acting) strongly suggested that she feared she would end up like the unfortunate Ginny Sacrimoni.

And that scene was done with the Journey's interminable "Don't Stop Believing" playing in the background. It appeared that many in the crew could not initially fathom why Chase chose this song*, but it makes a perfect fit to the journey of the characters who couldn't stop believing in the dream despite the awful reality that came with it.

* Apparently this 80s song has had a third life because of the show "Glee".

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