My Weekly Kilig is on vacation

Francois Arnaud as Cardinal Cesare Borgia in bed with a married woman in The Borgias

For the past few weeks, I’ve had my weekly kilig every Saturday night via The Borgias on BeTV. I’ve actually discovered The Borgias a while back, but via YouTube, happy to discover that season one was airing on cable, yay. Besides the fact that I’m a big history nerd, take a look at my latest crush, Cesare Borgia, played by Francois Arnaud, who’s only 26 years old, oh dear.

If you’re not familiar with the Borgias, Rodrigo Borgia was also Pope Alexander VI, and had a papal bull declaring the legitimacy of his children Giovanni (Juan in the series, who’s the eldest in real life, but creator Neil Jordan switched it around to heighten the sibling rivalry), Cesare, Lucrezia and Gioffre. The ill-repute of the Borgias is more well known (Machiavelli’s The Prince is Cesare Borgia), with Cesare killing people or having them killed left and right, and Lucrezia using her feminine wiles to manipulate men of power, etc. Then there’s also rumors that Cesare and Lucrezia had an incestuous relationship and they attended orgies with their father, even while he was pope. Interestingly (to me, at least), Neil Jordan reveals a different side of the Borgias that actually makes them sympathetic characters – why Pope Alexander VI did what he did, that the other cardinals were not saintlier than he was, that Cesare and Lucrezia were not actually doing it, but had a strong sibling bond that was misconstrued. Critics were disappointed that the series wasn’t as evil as they thought it would be, but then it was because Neil Jordan was all caught up in making his main characters likable.

Okay, enough of that, back to Cesare. I swear, the first few weeks I was watching the show, I couldn’t look at his face without giggling like an adolescent. If you’ve known me for a while, you’ll get why I dig this guy so much, and it’s not just his beautiful cheekbones. Or how he wore his leather pants well. Or how mean he looks while he’s digging his sword into some guy. Okay, maybe it is.

He also has these killer lines that would sound cheesy if said by a lesser man. Like when his married baroness asks him why he asked her to meet him at his house alone, he says, “Because we must stop pretending.” That got me already, though her ladyship had to force the issue before she would sleep with him, asking him if he could love her or was it just desires of the flesh, and he had to say that it was both, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked her to take this risk. Smooth no? Later, after he kills her husband and her guilt makes her decide to join the nunnery, he calls after her, “You will never be free of me.” They don’t make men this sure of themselves anymore, do they?

What Francois Arnaud really looks like.

The guy who plays Cesare is French Canadian actor Francois Arnaud, who made a few other movies before this, most notably Les Grandes Chaleurs. He does not look like Cesare Borgia – apparently he was wearing a wig for The Borgias, and I read somewhere that they color him up in make up so that he looks “darker, more Spanish.” Since finding out that he was just wearing a wig, it cracks me up that they gave Cesare a perm for the second season. Anyway, I was on the fence whether I crushed on Francois Arnaud as well or not (because he grins like a dork sometimes), until I saw this video of Les Grandes Chaleurs on YouTube. The movie is basically about a 50-something woman who discovers that her recently deceased husband was cheating on her all this time, and is more than tempted to start a relationship with this junkie several years younger than her kids (Arnaud), who is besotted with her (I think) because she had saved his life a few years back – it seems that she works consulting suicidal kids.

I’m not quite 50, but for a 38 year old woman who has been attracted/attractive to 19 year olds, this short video with Francois Arnaud making goo goo eyes at Marie Therese Fortin kind of struck a nerve. I don’t know what happens in the end, but I sorta feel that it’s one of those “take the risk, suck the marrow out life” movies. So, I’m not so queasy about it, and won’t mind if you laugh at how I am relating to this film, and particularly want a Francois Arnaud of my own.

Anyway, this blog entry is brought to you by my realization that last night’s season finale of the Borgias means I may not have my dose of weekly kilig next Saturday. It’s also a quick bookmark to this YouTube video, to tide me over. Haha.

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