Two Brad Pitt exclusives

  • French farmer tells him, “Get off my land!”
  • Did a Pakistani Dracula turn Brad and Angelina into zombies?

Watching the latest pile of Brad–a good story wrecked by bankable stars–reminded me of another, true story from summer 2007 which has passed into Dordogne folklore. The basics are here, but as told locally the full version goes something like this:

As they so often do, a French girl gets back to her semi-fortified château on a spectacular limestone scarp overlooking the confluence of the Dordogne and the Ouysse and observes disorder in the back garden. Out pops Dad with a grin on his face:
–You’ll never guess who just landed here.
–Johnny Hallyday?!
–A minister?!
–The President of the Republic?
–The Pope?!
–Yes, God! Brad Pitt!
It transpires that Brad and Angelina are house-hunting in the region, like the view from the helicopter, and decide to drop in. Out pops a secretary who in correct French announces to the landowner that the couple would like to visit the castle with a view to buying it.
–Sorry, but we don’t do things that way here. You can’t land on my property without my permission, and anyway we’re passing this on to our children.
–But don’t you want to meet them?! Have your photograph taken with them?! All for free?!
–Thanks, but no thanks, and now goodbye.
Very noble, but the daughter is horrified:
–Dad, you’ve got two marriageable women here. You could have at least invited them in for coffee!

I suspect this would have passed off rather differently in Spain, where the concept of mine and thine is less deeply ingrained, and the craven obsession with the star-circus rather greater.

Brad and Angelina seem to get around a bit, and their visit to Pakistan a couple of years ago left bloody traces fully in line with the “truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Adam Cohen writes of the Austen mashup (see my book recommendation):

Monster stories are a projection of our collective anxieties — and that may explain why in the current economic downturn, zombies are starting to catch up with the long-fashionable vampire. Vampires are sleek demons for good times. They suavely leach off society — like investment bankers who plunder outsize shares of deals for themselves or rapacious fund managers.

Zombies are more bluntly menacing. When they rise up, what results is a “zombie apocalypse,” or complete social breakdown. That image resonated in 1968, the chaotic year when “Night of the Living Dead,” the black-and-white zombie classic, was released. And it resonates today, when the banking system teeters on the brink of collapse and once-solid companies like Lehman Brothers are melting into air.

Zombie stories often end with a hearty band retreating to a small, secure space — a cabin or a shopping mall — and fighting for survival. It is the horror movie’s equivalent of embattled investors today who are shifting their retirement funds into cash and stocking up on gold and canned food.

A hilarious Pakistani take on the Texas chainsaw massacre, Zibahkhana/Hell’s ground ingeniously combines the two, with a vampire generating a forest-full of zombies. In this early scene, a group of nice young city folk are driving out of town for the night and have stopped at a tea stall to pick up what one of them hopes are cannabis-laced laddu. To their surprise the proprietor turns out to speak English and to have served a distinguished public, including Queen Elizabeth, Lady Diana, Henry Kissinger, President Nixon. “Why, a few days ago Angelina Jolie turned up with her boyfriend and bought four thermos-cans-full!”:

The sweets are of course not quite as they seem, and, as a huge, mace-wielding, burqa-clad tranny gets to work, we start to wonder who exactly is undead in the film and, I suppose, if bits are already falling off Brad, wherever his helicopter is right now.

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