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The French Dispatch That Does Not Feature Extreme Visual Symmetry And Twee Color Palettes

I mean, I love Wes Anderson’s movies as much as anybody, but here at Fleen the words French and dispatch mean that Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin has news for us from The Continent. Take it away, FSFCPL!


On the 13th of January 2018, Boulet made it publicly known he was interested in working in animation in Los Angeles. Heh, I should point him to Natalie Nourigat, who famously wrote the comic book on the matter¹ … I thought. Wait a minute, didn’t she also famously tell us not to let fear stop us from traveling based on her time in Europe and France in particular? Could it be that … nah, that’s too far fetched; OK, I will make a check on her web presence solely to alleviate any doubt: there I should be able to quickly find elements to disprove that theory …

And that is how I found out about Natalie and Boulet: as if the fact she was treating it as an open secret on her own social media presence wasn’t enough, I quickly found incriminating photo evidence anyway.

Boulet had been telling us for some time already of his long-distance relationship with his girlfriend, of which we only knew that she works at Disney, and how he was able to live with her in Los Angeles for sessions of about three months, which I assume were bound by the limits of a tourism visa. That made sense: vacation time is notoriously limited in the US, even at Disney, while on the other hand Boulet as a comic book creator can work from pretty much anywhere.

There had also been hints of him being restless and dissatisfied with what he could do in comics, both artistically and career-wise: for instance, he has never shied away from expressing his solidarity with the self-publishing movement, but couldn’t see himself following the same path.

In the years since, he has worked a day job in a studio). Created animations on his own. Built up his portfolio. Kept going to Los Angeles whenever he could. And worked on his visa application.

And then came the March that never ended.

After a few months, once it became clear that international travel restrictions wouldn’t be lifted unless and until vaccination were widespread, the campaign Love Is Not Tourism was able to make inroads and convince some countries to allow travel for people who could show evidence of being in a transnational relationship.

Evidently, the US with their then-current administration was not moved. But that kind of cruelty was not enough for them, as they went as far as to summarily crush the hopes of the few whose visa applications had been able to proceed, without warning (look for hell).

In the end, she had to take a leave from work and come to France (who was more receptive to their plea) so they would be able to rejoin, even though he was much more mobile work-wise. They had to take that opportunity to get married in these conditions (which meant limited attendance, among other constraints) so that they wouldn’t depend on the goodwill of Bloody Mary to see one another in the future.

Then a new administration took power despite violent attempts to the contrary, and as March looped back into March he was finally able to come back the the US, and I believe their marriage ought to be enough to allow him to stay there, resume looking for work, and generally live the dream.

Congratulation, Gilles and Natalie. Your travails may not be over, but you definitely won a big battle and have earned some rest and time together, and I wish you all the possible happiness for years and years to come.

Last minute: Angoulême just cancelled for 2021. Given current guidance from French authorities, and how the EU has been having trouble effectively securing vaccine production, this isn’t surprising; for instance, earlier this week Japan Expo Paris just announced their own cancellation. It’s unclear what will happen to the Grand Prix for 2021, which was supposed to be announced at that time.


Thanks to FSFCPL for his sleuthing-out of the story, and congrats to the happy couple finally having love win out over the great orange idiot.

Spam of the day:

[large block of Korean text] (BTC Wallet): 1EwKoVaiFm4rXtHynT8X5qE1RVhJVBxwC4 [large block of Korean text].

That’s the first time I’ve gotten the Saw you whacking off through the webcam you don’t have, pay me US$1500 in Bitcoin blackmail scam in a different character set. Oh but look! A Bitcoin wallet ID in Latin characters! It would be a shame if it got flooded with bogus traffic. Yep, just a real shame.

¹The link is slightly anachronistic: back then it existed only as a digital download on Gumroad.

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