Then the other day, as we unpacked groceries, she spoke again. "Ravioli! Great! Did you buy this?" she asked, holding up a tin that I obviously had bought. "Do you know what it is? People buy it instead of spaghetti." I nodded. Could she really think I didn't know about ravioli? By now she was almost chattering. "Did you see Assassin the other night? Bridget Fonda bought 14 cans of ravioli."
I found this rather impressive. Assassin is the US remake of Nikita and, though it has its failings, the ravioli scene is terrific. In the film, a young female (Bridget Fonda) is hired by the government to kill. After months of training, she is let out into the real world, or what passes for it in California. The first thing she does is to go to the supermarket and, clearly confused, follows another woman around, buying everything she does but in huge quantities. Thus the 14 tins of ravioli, the eight loaves of bread and enough melons to satisfy any amount of Parma ham.
The meaning of this - or the semiotics, as film people say - was crystal clear: only dysfunctional people buy in bulk, and only assassins buy ravioli in bulk. I tested the theory at the supermarket. It didn't take long to realise that few people buy one when two (or more) will do. I mean who needs three bottles of Martini, five boxes of man-size tissues, four containers of Bisto, 24 eggs, 10 packs of Rolos? Everyone was dysfunctional, obviously. Now for the assassins. I posted myself beside the ravioli and waited. And waited. No one made my day. I retreated (with tin).
I was explaining this to the 15-year-old when I suddenly became suspicious that the whole ravioli thing had been product placement. No, she said, the only product placement in the film had been for Pepsi. "Don't you remember? They were in that hotel and she ordered four Pepsis and told room service she always got thirsty after sex." She laughed. I tried to join in. This talking thing has got to stop.Reuse content