Silent movies and live music

Vive la France! Sound and Art vibes in the French semester in collaboration with the European Club, JAMM. A silent movie accompanied by live music

Friday 29 April 2022, Ispra, Club House ca 19h

“The Epic of the French Silent Film, starting with the Lumière Brothers”.

The films will be screened and the music will be performed reflecting dances, soundtrack and original author music by artist musicians on violin and piano.

Time will be updated more precisely soon .

Vive la France! suggestioni Sonore e d’Arte nel semestre francese d’Europa.  Club Europeo, JAMM, Semestre Francese: 
Programma: 

Venerdì 29 aprile 2022, Ispra, Club House

“L’Epopea del Film Muto francese, a partire dai Fratelli Lumière”. 

Con accompagnamento su balli, colonne sonore e musiche d’autore originali al violino e pianoforte. 

Saranno proiettate le pellicole e contemporanea esecuzione dal vivo delle musiche

Centre Pompidou-Metz, the first major cultural decentralisation project.

Centre Pompidou-Metz is France’s first major cultural decentralisation project. Centre Pompidou in Paris  has brought its model to the region, and offered its know-how and collections in a unique partnership with local government bodies, which not only provide the necessary funding but also guarantee independence of scientific and cultural choices.

Respecting the values of Centre Pompidou in its generosity, open to all publics and to all forms of current-day creation, Centre Pompidou-Metz illustrates, through its relationship both to society and to culture, the renewal of Centre Pompidou’s strategy refocused on its prime vocation, namely to form a platform of exchanges between French society and creation.

Centre Pompidou-Metz is neither a branch nor an annex of Centre Pompidou Paris but a sister institution, independent in its scientific and cultural choices, able to develop its own programme in the spirit of Centre Pompidou, and relying on the latter’s know-how, network and notoriety. In conveying these values, it has an extraordinary advantage, that of being able to draw from the collections of Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, which, with more than 100,000 works, boasts one of the world’s two finest collections in the field of modern and contemporary art, and the largest collection in Europe.

Centre Pompidou-Metz has been devised as a unique experience, a space where you can discover artistic creation in all its shapes and sizes, a living place where events take place all year round. The architecture of Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines make it an exceptional place. It is also a generous place as its publics are at the heart of the project, and a place of excellence thanks to its multidisciplinary programme based on innovative temporary exhibitions of international level.

A unique architecture

“Walking up through the front square and the gardens that link the downtown area and the Metz train station to the Centre Pompidou-Metz, visitors will discover a building in light and luminous tones, both powerful and graceful, inviting them to take shelter under its protective roof.

We imagined an architecture that speaks of openness and well-being, a meeting of cultures, in an immediate sensory relationship with the environment.” .

Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines

The Centre Pompidou-Metz is a large hexagonal structure with three galleries running through the building. A central spire reaches up 77 metres, alluding to the 1977 opening date of the original Centre Pompidou.

Inside the building, the general atmosphere is light with a pale wood roof, white-painted walls and floors in pearl-grey polished concrete. The roof, the relation between the interrior and exterior and the four exhibition galleries make up highly innovative architectural choices.

Remarkable space

The architecture of the Centre Pompidou-Metz has unusual characteristics: the remarkable size of its main nave and the variety of its exhibition areas, with large open spaces and more intimate places that encourage inventiveness and continually surprise the visitor.
Never fixed permanently, the exhibition areas can be modulated to allow original interpretations of modern and contemporary art.
The Centre Pompidou-Metz is a large hexagonal structure covering a collection of interior spaces. It is structured round a central spire reaching a height of 77 metres. The building is a two-curve superstructure with an assembly of wooden beams forming hexagonal modules and supported by a central metal tower and four conical pillars.
With a surface area of 8,000 m2, constructed fully in wood, the roofing is made up of hexagonal units resembling the cane-work pattern of a Chinese hat. This structure is covered with a waterproof membrane made from fibre glass and teflon (PTFE or Poly-Tetra-Fluoro-Ethylene).

Three galleries in the shape of rectangular (parallelepipedic) tubes weave through the building at different levels, jutting out through the roof with huge picture windows angled towards landmarks such as the cathedral, the station and Seille Park, showing visitors genuine “postcard” images of the city of Metz.

Viewed as a whole, the Centre Pompidou-Metz evokes a huge marquee surrounded by a front square and two gardens. Total surface area is 10,700 m2. The exhibition areas take up 5,020 m2, plus other spaces where works can also be exhibited such as the gardens, forum and the gallery terraces. The building housing the Centre’s administration offices and technical spaces is located behind the Centre Pompidou-Metz.

French movie 09 – Florida (2015)

Mandatory mask FFP2 and registration

register Here (max 50 people in the Club House auditorium)

Although he’s now eighty years old, Claude Lherminier is still as imposing as he ever was. But his bouts of forgetfulness and confusion are becoming increasingly frequent. Even so, he stubbornly refuses to admit that anything is wrong. Carole, his oldest daughter, wages a daily and taxing battle to ensure that he’s not left on his own. Claude suddenly decides on a whim to go to Florida. What lies behind this sudden trip?

Floride was Jean Rochefort last movie and is in a sense a tribute to him. He is of every scene. First half of the movie shows him mischevious, try-hard, filled with humour. Thus the tone of movie changes, we understand the changes his character follows and we see his touching, fragile side.

The movie without Rochefort would not hold, however the thematic of memory is well used and shows how it is essential, to ourselves, to our relationship with others, and even to the image we can have of people that already left this wolrd.

How to become a parisian in one hour?

The first one-man show in Paris entirely in English !

How to become a Parisian in One Hour? is a 70-minute show in English performed in a 600-seat theatre. Olivier Giraud presents the Parisian going about his daily business in his natural habitat: Paris.

The comedy show is presented in the form of lessons enabling you to “learn” how to behave like a real Parisian in the metro, at a restaurant, in a night club and even in future relationships…

The show has been a big comedy hit in France for eight years now. It built its reputation by word-of-mouth – a highly effective system as some 800,000 people have already seen it!

Thanks to the show being a success in London, where Olivier performed regularly, the production took on an international turn and became more widely known.

It is a show that takes place on stage but also involve audience participation, and that audience comes from around the world with at least 30 nationalities at each performance. This varied public includes Parisians, French from outside the capital, expats and tourists who all end up laughing together at their cultural differences.

Book a ticket

The Louvre-Lens is part of an effort to provide access to French cultural institutions for people who live outside of Paris

The Louvre-Lens is an art museum located in Lens,  approximately 200 kilometers north of Paris. It displays objects from the collections of the Musée du Louvre that are lent to the gallery on a medium- or long-term basis. The Louvre-Lens annex is part of an effort to provide access to French cultural institutions for people who live outside of Paris. Though the museum maintains close institutional links with the Louvre, it is primarily funded by the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.

Architecture

The museum is built on a 20-hectare mining site that closed in the 1960s. The area is slightly elevated due to filling in of the mine. To make the building blend into the surrounding area, the architects designed a string of five low-profile structures; the central one is square with glass walls and the others are rectangular with polished, aluminum facades that gave a blurry reflection of the surroundings. Altogether, the museum is 360 m long and contains 28,000 m2 of exhibition space.

The design of a central building flanked by two wings mimics the Paris Louvre. The square, central building is the main reception area. It contains several curved glass rooms that contain a cafeteria, bookstore and museum boutique. To the east of the entry hall is the 3,000 m2 Galerie du Temps which houses approximately 200 items from the Paris Louvre collection. The items in the large, open hall are arranged chronologically, from 3,500 BC to the mid-19th century, regardless of style or country of origin. Beyond the Galerie du Temps is the Pavillon de Verre which exhibits works from neighboring museums. The building to the west of the entry hall is a gallery for temporary exhibits and, beyond that, an auditorium.

The Gallery du temps

Jérémie Villet, the “rising star” of wildlife photography

Jérémie Villet , a wildlife photographer is nothing you have seen before; he spends up to one quarter of the year sleeping outdoors and taking pictures. Jérémie Villet is 26 years old; he grew up on a farm in the countryside near Paris, France, and his childhood dream had been to climb mountains and see a wild Alpine ibex. Each year, he went with his family skiing in the French Alps. His first-ever recognized photograph was taken in 2013 when he went to the Alps specifically to look for ibex. He set off on the four-hour climb in good time to catch the sunset, but a thick fog meant it took him several more hours to reach the summit. ‘When I emerged from the clouds,’ says Jérémie, ‘it was like entering a new world.’ But the real surprise was to see below him a male ibex. ‘It was more than I’d hoped for’, says Jérémie. ‘Just me and the ibex and the beauty of the Alpine scene.’

Jérémie believes that somewhere on Earth, what we imagine becomes real. He left his studies to travel alone by ski and sled. Over these long, solitary expeditions in remote places, Jérémie uses the pure snow as a painter uses a white canvas. All his white photos are published in an art book titled Neige, and his work is featured in art galleries around the world.

Why this passion for the white landscapes? 

Well, snow somehow works as a filter, as an anchor in reality. Because I never touch-up my photographs, it’s not out of proud or being posh or something, but I prefer to work on my settings beforehand and simply enjoy the overwhelming satisfaction of a good shot; but let’s be real it makes my job much harder. And when you are into wildlife photography, you feel lots of things, alone in the wilderness, you hear things, you see things and when you finally take that instant shot, obviously you are not able to convey all of these feelings. When I am in nature, I feel this sensation of greatness, of purity, aestheticism, graphism. Surrounded by snow, it’s like I am in a dream. It sorts of echoes my childhood dream of sleeping in the forest … 

Jérémie Villet

On the 15th of October 2019, French wildlife photographer Jérémie Villet (see some photos by clicking on its name) won the Rising Star Portfolio Award (Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition)

On ARTE TV the film “Yukon, un rêve blanc

The French photography project that captures architectural curiosities throughout France

Atlas des Régions Naturelles (ARN)’ captures architectural curiosities throughout France and it will eventually contain 50 photos of each of France’s 50 ‘régions naturelles’

A singular photographic adventure, unique in terms of both its scope and its duration. Launched five years ago, its objective is to document, in equal measure, the 450 natural regions or ‘lands’ constituting the territory of France.

Focusing on these small geographical and cultural entities such as Artois, Morvan or Béarn, Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier patiently and meticulously describe our ways of occupying the landscape, inhabiting it and shaping it. The roads, houses, shops, and activities, the typography of road signs, the names of villages: they seek out both the perpetual, the commonplace, and the anomalies – which, intersecting, define a physiognomy of our ways of life and our identities.

What does France look like today?

At a time of low-cost flights for flash tourist destinations, TGVs that cut through the fields at full speed, GPS that remotely guide motorists, advertising images on TripAdvisor, 3D visualisation on Google Street View, which is therefore concerned really about the topography of France, that of the departmental roads and cross roads, that of the enclosed regions and quality crossroads, that of the villages and the urban outskirts? If you take the time to explore it, France is nevertheless full of astonishing singularities, unusual buildings, aesthetic curiosities, endearing shops, historic farms, bizarre signage, historical vestiges… Both graceful, pitiful and fragile, these buildings are the soul and the heart of the territory, as shown in the first part of the breathtaking album by Nelly Monnier and Eric Tabuchi, the ARN, or Atlas of natural regions.

First Volume of the “Atlas des Régions Naturelles”

Les régions naturelles

The term “région naturelle” or “pays” designates small territories whose limits referring to their natural characteristics are – in contrast to the administrative departments resulting from the Revolution – difficult to draw. If it is impossible to define their forms exactly, their borders, first physical and geological but also historical and cultural, continue to draw, in a kind of oral tradition, the contours of a geography whose liveliness remains very real. Thus, Semur-en-Auxois, Sucy-en-Brie, Bourg-en-Bresse or Verdun-en-Lauragais have retained the name of their former region in their place names. Their number varies depending on whether or not certain sub-entities are grouped together, for our part we have defined 450 of which you can consult the list which appears in the “index of regions” tab.

To sum up, the term “region naturelle” is a rather vague notion that designates territories with equally uncertain boundaries. This imprecision, which tempers the authority of conventional maps, seemed to us to be conducive to describing the territorial continuum which is more a succession of shades sometimes punctuated by clear breaks – if a comparison had to be found, one could say that the “region naturelle” are alternately water color tints whose contours blend together and flat areas of gouache drawing distinct areas. By allowing this descriptive finesse that mixes the blur and the sharp, the diffuse and the accentuated, the frame of the natural regions provided, in addition to a scale, the flexibility that we were looking for.

www.archive-arn.fr contains more than 12000 photographs taken since 2017, start of the ARN project. This first part, which mainly covers the north of France, is located halfway through our project. From this point, additions will be made as they travel – so it will be possible to consult the existing archive but also to follow the progress of the work in real time.

Example of a search for “Artois” (“Région naturelle” of north of France)

Many of the photographs in the Atlas are already online and can be searched in a variety of ways. Obviously it is possible to search by region and by category of construction.

But intriguingly, it is possible to search for colours or shapes. If you search for green, you not only find green buildings, but also a large green water-slide. If you search for ‘2000’, you will find a whole selection of shop fronts containing 2000 in the name of the shop (“Once, 2000 was the future,”)

Ravel’s Bolero in “bodytap”, the performance of 200 college students shot in Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Six hours of filming, around forty shots, 200 singers, two drones, two cameras, a Maurice Ravel four meters high and the Bolero on a loop… The kiosk on the Place Louis XIV in St Jean de Luz (south west of France) served as the setting for a incredible moment of music : this is the place chosen by the Choeur des Colibris of the Saint Michel Garicoïtz college in Cambo-les-Bains to shoot its second performance of body percussion, a technique that uses the body as an instrument.

After the success of the interpretation of Beethoven’s 5th symphony last year, the video of which has been viewed 850,000 times, Nelly Guilhemsans, the professor behind the project, wanted this time to pay tribute to Maurice Ravel, born in Ciboure, taking up his masterpiece which, soon to be a hundred years old, is one of the most played pieces in the world.

For more than six hours, the more than 200 college students stampeded their feet and hands, snapped their fingers, hit their thighs, their chest and the back of their neighbour, giving a show halfway between music and choreography. The result will be a video of about four minutes, for more than seven months of work for Nelly Guilhemsans. “Imagining the choreography is a bit complicated, I took the two summer months,” says the teacher. “We started rehearsals in September, two hours a week. It’s difficult, you need motor skills, you have to have a sense of rhythm. And then, little by little, second by second, we do the four minutes. They have incredible energy.”

The original manuscript of “Le petit Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, exhibited for the first time in France in 2022

From the 17th February until 26 June 2022, the Museum of Decorative Arts (MAD) will host an unprecedented exhibition on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The original manuscript, kept in New York, will cross the Atlantic for this sole occasion, thus following in the footsteps of its illustrious author.

Notice to those whose childhood – if not their whole life – was rocked by this philosophical tale born from the imagination of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, one of the most beautiful pen of the French language of the 20th century and beyond. An unprecedented exhibition around the Little Prince is about to settle in Paris, presenting for the first time in France the original manuscript illustrated by Saint-Exupéry. Written in New York in 1943 during his exile in the United States, The Little Prince was published posthumously in 1946, the writer having disappeared at sea in July 1944, while on a reconnaissance mission off Marseille in aboard his Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Saint-Exupéry was a great aviator, and his literary work was largely nourished by his adventures and aerial thoughts, giving birth to masterpieces such as Night Flight (1929), Courrier Sud (1931) or Terre of Men (1939). When it was published, The Little Prince became an international success. It is now translated into more than 400 languages, making it the most translated book of all time… after the Bible.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Première édition du Petit Prince, 1943
Reynal & Hitchcock, New York (en français)
© Fondation JMP pour LPP

The MAD exhibition will thus devote an entire room to the manuscript of The Little Prince, exceptionally on loan from the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. When Saint-Exupéry left to fight in North Africa in the spring of 1943, he entrusted his manuscript and his watercolors to his friend Silvia Hamilton, who sold the whole to the New York institution in 1968. Around the famous manuscript, the exhibition will present a series of sketches, preparatory drawings, photographs, poems and deploys a library of 120 foreign editions of The Little Prince, testifying to its unstoppable universality. But above all, it will be an opportunity to retrace the immense career of Saint-Exupéry through more than 600 pieces illustrating all the facets of his work. From his childhood to his adventures as a pilot for Aéropostale and his great reports, passing through his passion for drawing, the exhibition will finally endeavor to detect in the life and exploits of Saint-Exupéry the premises of the Little Prince. , whose humanist message irrigates all the writings.

Acquire a ticket

400th anniversary of Molière

France began a year of events to mark the 400th anniversary of Molière, the nation’s most illustrious –  and still popular – master of satire and the stage.

Baptised on January 15, 1622, and probably born a day or two before, Moliere — real name Jean-Baptiste Poquelin — remains as central to French culture as Shakespeare to the English-speaking world.

When the French refer to their native tongue, it is as the “language of Moliere“.

Many of the celebrations will be staged in places that marked his life as an actor, company director and playwright, but above all at the Comedie-Francaise, created by King Louis XIV in 1680, seven years after Moliere’s death.

His plays alone will be performed at the  Paris monument to Moliere until July, starting from Saturday with the orginal censored version of “Tartuffe”, which will be shown live in cinemas too.

The play is considered to have  practically invented the “comedy of manners” satirising the moral hypocrisies of high society. 

“The Imaginary Invalid”, “The Miser” and “The Bourgeois Gentleman” will follow at the Comedie-Francaise, the longest-running theatre company in the world, performing his work every single year since it opened. 

‘He’s everywhere in the air’ 

The theatre near the Louvre museum, “is anchored in the quarter where he lived and where he died and he’s everywhere in the air”

In Versailles, where Moliere enjoyed Louis XIV’s patronage, several of the  best known plays will be performed in their original versions as “comedies-ballets”, collaborations with Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully.

The town on the western edge of Paris holds a Moliere month every summer and a statue by Xavier Veilhan will be unveiled in May following a Moliere exhibition opening.

Moliere fled Paris at 23, spending the next 13 years with a travelling troupe and anniversary events will be held up and down the country.

Saturday will see another statue unveiled at Pezenas, in the southwest, where Moliere stayed repeatedly in those early years.

The historic heart of the town will be taken over by scenes from the plays and his life. An official Moliere stamp will be offered as a pre-issue.

The CNCS national centre for theatre costume at Moulin, in central France, will open a “Moliere in costume” exhibition,  at the end of May.

The Paris Opera will celebrate the anniversary with “Moliere in Music” from September.

The playwright left little trace of his personal life and the only one of his four children to survive to adulthood, lost his manuscripts.

Despite the myth, Moliere did not die on stage, but shortly after a performance — as the hypochondriac Argan — at home on the Rue de Richelieu on February 17, 1673. 

DO YOU KNOW GUIGNOL…………

Guignol is a hand puppet created around 1808 by Laurent Mourguet, a silk worker. A colorful character with a loose tongue, he uses the Lyonnais language and earthy expressions to denounce social injustice by taking the side of ordinary people. Accompanied by Gnafron, a cheerful Beaujolais drinker cobbler, and his wife, Madelon, Guignol lives adventures presented in a small theater. The decorations of the castelet are typical places of the city of Lyon such as the café du Soleil on the place de la Trinité in the Saint Georges district. From its birth, this show intended for adults was a great success, Guignol became the emblem of the city of Lyon and the people of Lyon. This success will never be denied. Even today, he holds a privileged place in the hearts of the Lyonnais.

The first puppets of Guignol’s father were born on the markets!.
Laurent Mourguet was the son of a canut at a time when the silk industry was losing its appeal (with the Revolution, orders dropped and the sector went into crisis).

To make a living in a different way, Laurent and his father went to fairs and markets. It was to attract customers that Laurent first had the idea of using puppets from the Italian commedia dell’arte, whose most famous characters are Harlequin and Polichinelle. This was the beginning of his love affair with puppets…

Guignol has no official date of birth: 1808 is the commonly accepted year, but historians prefer to say “around 1810”.

When he was born, Guignol was not there to make people laugh! He even had a very serious look. His little smile only appeared in the 20th century…

In fact, the first Guignol shows were dedicated to adults and were organized in vogues in Lyon and the surrounding area.

At that time, Guignol was a way for the public to keep abreast of current events while having fun: when Lyon was marked by the revolt of the canuts (in 1831 and 1834), Guignol became a protest figure!

The laughter is provoked by situational comedy: funny scenes and misunderstandings follow one another to amuse the spectator. But if these caricatured heroes seduce the crowds, it is also because of the political significance of their words.

The theatre of Guignol is on the side of the little people. Far from the learned tirades of the classical plays, his heroes speak popular, working-class and provincial language. The buffoonish situations inspired by current events are opportunities to denounce social injustice: it is often at the expense of the bourgeoisie or the authorities that we laugh heartily.

Since 1965, the Théâtre la Maison de Guignol has been inviting young and old to discover the adventures of Guignol and his friend Gnafron on stage. The Petit Musée de Guignol has also been set up to explore the history of the famous puppet and to learn many unusual facts about the character. In Paris, the Guignol Theatre in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is also still in operation and delights young spectators.

Dijon, Burgundy capital and gem for art, history and food!

Dijon is considered to be one of the most beautiful historical towns in France, with its remarkable architectural heritage shaped by history. It is definitely a great cultural destination for its status a city of art and history and for being on the UNESCO World Heritage list with the Climates of Burgundy’s vineyard.

It is known for its beautiful well-preserved historical centre with picturesque streets and typical features from the colourful period of the Grand Duchy of Burgundy, and has been nicknamed the “town of a hundred bell towers.“ because of its so many belfries.

Dijon has evolved into a pedestrian friendly city, with friendly tramway lines and bicycle system, and a largely pedestrian centre.

It is also a huge reference for gastronomy, it is the home of mustard, pain d’epice (gingerbread), cassis (blackcurrant liquor),

Here are a few special gems of the city of Dijon.

The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and Tower of Philip the Good

In the heart of the historical town centre, “Le Palais des Ducs” (Palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy) remains the most iconic of Dijon’s monuments, now hosting the City council at its central part. It also hosts the Fine Arts Museum, which has been fully restored with its museography also completely redesigned. Its 50 rooms display a collection of 1500 works of art. This museum boasts one of the richest collections to be found in France.

The Palace is strikingly dominated by the Tower of Philip the Good, a 15th-century look-out post. Climb the 316 steps to the top of it and it offers a panoramic view from a height of 46 metres above the city.

DIJON PALAIS DES DUCS ET DES ETATS DE BOURGOGNE from Ville de Dijon on Vimeo (in French)

The lucky Owl

This is the lucky charm of the people of Dijon, but not just!. It is a stone statuette of a small owl perched on the buttress of Notre-Dame church. Legend has it that, if you stroke it with your left hand, the owl will make your wishes come true!

The Gastronomy of Dijon

As a food and wine capital, Dijon is famous for its culinary specialities which include mustard, snails, crème de cassis, epoisse cheese, chocolate, and gingerbread… and with five Michelin-starred restaurants, a lively indoor market in the city centre and an international food fair, Dijon really is a gourmet city.

In 2021, the ” Cité internationale de la gastronomie et du vin” (international Gastronomy and Wine Centre) opened its doors to reveal an authentic new district in the centre of Dijon (see our special feature on this). It offers an exhibition area of 1700 m² devoted to French gastronomy and wines from the world over.

Dijon also features vibrant local gastronomical recurring venues that contribute to its reputation for the love of the culinary arts. You can enjoy Brunch at the Dijon market halls, unusual tasting venues like the “Wine Thursdays” or the “tower aperitifs” at the foot fo the Philipp the Good Tower.

Dijon will also join Tours, Lyon and Paris-Rungis to promote “Le repas gastronomique des Français®” (the French gourmet meal) and, more importantly, the Climates of the Burgundy vineyard.

A bit of shopping too

The historical centre is a classified “international tourism zone” where the core of 1200 boutiques stays open seven days a week, which is uncommon in France where stores are often closed on Sundays!.

In the middle of nowhere, in the heart of the Alsatian countryside…the Royal Palace

Located in Kirrwiller in the Alsatian countryside, but not too far from Strasbourg, the Royal Palace has earned a reputation as one of the greatest Music Halls in France.
Each year, it attracts thousands of people who come to enjoy a show worthy of the very best Parisian revues. But how did a village restaurant, which had perpetuated the tradition of country dances since 1948, manage to become the go-to place for thousands of tourists from all over Europe?

In 1980, Pierre Meyer decided to set up a modest stage in the main room of the family restaurant, which he had just taken over with his wife, Cathy. At first, he put on shows with seven acts recruited in Paris just once a month. This soon became every weekend. In 1989, he invested the equivalent of 1.5 million euro in the construction of a 200 m² stage equipped with a hydraulic lift. At the same time, he began to devise his own revues rather than buying in ready-made shows… and his success was immediate: The Music Hall attracted 600 guests a day!

In 1996, the building was given a full makeover. A new 800 m² complex, renamed the Royal Palace, came into being, including a 987-seat auditorium in which he could mount the most ambitious of productions. The stage was two times bigger than before, with an opening of 25 metres by 20 metres in height!

Next came the inauguration of the two restaurants: «The Majestic», and «The Versailles», offering  “lunch- and dinner-dances with a live band, for a richer cabaret atmosphere experience.

In 2015, after a year of major extension work, the Royal Palace inaugurated the LOUNGE CLUB to celebrate its 35th birthday. This unusual 2,200 m² modern space on two levels can accommodate up to 1,000 guests for all kinds of entertainments in a lounge bar mood.

Today, the Royal Palace employs around 100 people, 34 of them artists, and welcomes nearly 200,000 guests a year! Its cabarets and dinner shows continue to enchant every generation, making the venue a veritable yardstick in French Music Hall.

Library of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA)

The Library of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) is a relatively recent creation (2003). Housed in France’s Bibliothèque Nationale premises on rue Vivienne in Paris, together with the study and research department constitutes one of the pillars of an institution that is still young in terms of French academic research; its mission is to “carry out scientific activity and contribute to international scientific cooperation in the area of the history of art and culture”.
The library has more than 1.8 million documents and receives more than 35,000 visits and 139,000 communications annually.
in 2014 It moved to the historic reading room of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, “The salle Labrouste”, thereby realising the dream of a great library of art, completing –or beginning –a decades-long adventure.

As an on-site and progressively off-site resource centre, the INHA has been managing the collections of the Library of Art and Archaeology, created by the great dressmaker, collector and patron Jacques Doucet (1853-1929), since 2003. Today the collections have been considerably enriched and are accessible in the Oval Reading Room (salle Ovale) of the Richelieu quadrangle, close to the specialist departments of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

These collections have been completed by those of the Bibliothèque centrale des musées nationaux and a selection of the print collections from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. This collection was opened at the end of 2015 in the Labrouste reading room and its surrounding reserves, at the heart of the renovated Richelieu quadrangle.
This exceptional grouping, which will constitute one of the largest art libraries in the world, will hold more than 1 800 000 documents, of which 230 000 open-access books, and welcome up to 411 readers.
This resource  is enriched by the proximity of the library of the École Nationale des Chartes (160 000 documents) and the specialist collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which will remain on site.

36000 years ago, the Chauvet-Pont D’arc cave in Ardèche

The Discovery

On Sunday 18 December 1994, on the Cirque d’Estre, Jean-Marie Chauvet, led his two friends Éliette Brunel and Christian Hillaire towards the cliffs: a slight breeze coming out of a small hole, at the end of a little cave drew his attention, and he wanted to investigate. All three of them are passionate speleologists, and have had countless discoveries and firsts. It was late afternoon, and the little cave into which they entered was already known, located very close to a major hiking trail. But there, behind the fallen rocks, they were sure there was something, so they dug and unblocked a passage, then slipped inside. They found themselves looking out over a dark, empty space. They didn’t have the equipment to continue. It was already dark, and they went back to their vehicles, took the essentials, and after hesitating a little, eventually returned to their discovery. They used their speleological ladder to descend, and discovered a vast chamber with a very high roof, filled with splendid, glimmering concretions. They pushed on in single file towards another, equally vast chamber and admired the unexpected geological beauty around them. They also noticed animal bones. They explored almost the whole network, and on their way back, Éliette noticed a small, red, ochre mammoth on a rocky pendant in the beam of her headlamp: “They were here!” she cried out, and from then on, they carefully looked at all the walls, discovering hundreds of paintings and engravings.

CHAUVET CAVE from Peter Tammer on Vimeo.

The grandmasters of the Chauvet cave from andanafilms on vimeo.

This moment changed their lives. Upon their return, in Éliette’s home, they told her daughter about their adventure. She didn’t believe them and made them return to the cave: it was past 9 PM, and despite their fatigue and emotion, they agreed. They made further discoveries, when they came out, despite their amazement, they also felt somewhat anxious faced with such responsibilities. The following Saturday, on Christmas Eve, they decided to protect the ground by covering the trace of their footprints with a plastic strip, thus setting out the path which all entering the cave from then on would take (the stainless steel gateways installed a few years later also follow this course).

After their discovery was announced, Jean-Pierre Daugas, Heritage curator at the Rhône-Alpes regional cultural affairs Department alerted Jean Clottes, then scientific adviser to the Ministry of Culture and specialist in decorated caves, to get it authenticated. On 29 December 1994, led by the discoverers, the expedition was launched.

Original preservation

Since it was discovered on 18 December 1994, Chauvet Cave has been subject to exemplary protection. This was brought about by two circumstances: firstly, the expertise of Jean Clottes, scientific advisor to the Ministry of Culture, who showed admirable perspective and maturity, and secondly, the approach of the Authorities was to adopt the recommendations of this eminent prehistorian and convert them into efficient legal documents. The rapid awareness raising of the cave’s exceptional nature, and the formulation of the right administrative measures to protect it, took place in record time. This coordination, which thereafter incorporated a scientific research programme based on respect for the integrity of Chauvet Cave, is proof of the originality of its preservation.

Preservation

The State put in motion the French legislative arsenal, which is among the most efficient in the world in the area of cultural assets. The law of 1930 on sites and that of 1913 on historical monuments were the first weapon for preservation. The cave was listed on 13 October 1995. Control of the property was also a significant element. It was jointly decided not to open the cave to the public but rather to guarantee safety.

At the same time, scientific and technical means were deployed to keep the site as authentic as possible and in the conditions it was in before discovery. Studying a site of this kind also forms part of maintaining it; it had to be organised with a concern towards preservation.

Putting into place corridors (following the route of the discoverers) to regulate movement and enable ongoing checks of the fragile internal balance, was believed to provide the conditions for this ambitious preservation project. Outside access was also built.

To ensure site surveillance and preservation, the State set up a Chauvet – Pont d’Arc Cave Preservation Office, managed by a heritage curator (which only existed previously at Lascaux).

Research and Preservation

Aware of its universal duty, since 1998 the State has financed a multidisciplinary team to study the cave, with concern for its preservation: compulsory routes on walkways, short visits for few people, no digging, just a few probes and carefully chosen sampling.

MUCEM, a great museum in Marseille dedicated to the Mediterranean

What makes the Mucem so unique is that it recounts, analyses and sheds light on the ancient foundations of this cradle of civilization and the tensions running through it since that time, all in the same place and with the same passion. Also that it is a platform for discussions about Mediterranean issues.

Both its exhibitions and its cultural programmes offer a multidisciplinary vision that combines anthropology, history, archaeology, art history and contemporary art to show the public the multiple facets of the Mediterranean world and its ongoing dialogue with Europe.

ITS ROOTS

As the first museum devoted to Mediterranean cultures, the Mucem is a completely novel structure. The product of the metamorphosis of a major societal museum – the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, created in Paris in 1937 –, it represents the first real conversion of a museum from national to regional. The Mucem Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean opened in Marseille in June 2013. By the following year, it had joined the ranks of the 50 most visited museums in the world.

One museum, three sites

The Mucem encompasses three sites. Along the sea, at the entrance to the Old Port, the J4 building (Rudy Ricciotti’s and Roland Carta’s symbolic architectural creation) and the Fort Saint-Jean, a fully restored historical monument, are the perfect embodiment, with their two footbridges, of the idea of building a connection between both shores of the Mediterranean. They host major exhibitions and artistic and cultural programming events. In town, in the Belle de Mai district, the CCR Centre for Conservation and Resources houses the museum’s collections. This unique grouping allows the MuCEM to offer a multitude of cultural activities.

The J4

16,500 m2 including 3,690 m2 of exhibition space

A symbol of the new face of Marseille

Since it opened in June 2013, the building designed by Rudy Ricciotti (in association with Roland Carta) has become a symbol of the new face of Marseille. This concrete cube – forming a perfect square measuring 72 metres on each side – is clad in a lacy screen made out of concrete, giving it a strong visual identity that helps to elevate the Mucem to the rank of an internationally recognisable ‘world-object’.
Surrounded by harbour basins, positioned facing the sea, the J4 offers 360° views taking in the Fort Saint Jean and the Mediterranean, which are visible from the glazed exhibition spaces, the roof terrace and the outdoor ramps that encircle the building. It is linked to the Fort Saint Jean by a high footbridge 135 metres long.
The J4 is the veritable ‘heart’ of the MuCEM, hosting large permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as regular and one-off events from the artistic and cultural programme.

Fort Saint-Jean

15,000 m2 dont 1,100 m2 of exhibition space and 12,000 m2 of gardens

‘A fully restored historic monument, open to all’

Although the Fort Saint Jean’s origins date back to the 12th century, this former military fort, totally off-limits to the public, resembled an impregnable fortress. Its opening in 2013 was thus a historic first: the fully restored fort has since been open free of charge to the people of Marseille, who were quick to adopt the site as a new public space. Although some of the buildings are used for exhibitions, the Fort Saint Jean is above all a vibrant new centre centre in the heart of Marseille, offering a large range of activities, including a historical trail, a botanical stroll through the Jardin des Migrations and a chance to discover spectacular, previously inaccessible views

The CCR

13,000 m2 dont 7,000 m2 of storerooms

«Conservation et valorisation des collections: cette double responsabilité est le fondement de l’activité du CCR»

This large ochre-coloured monolith designed by architect Corinne Vezzoni (in association with André Jolivet) houses the treasure that is the Mucem’s collections, consisting of more than one million objects. It is here that the collections are conserved, studied and restored, but also, more unusually, where they are made accessible to others. This twofold responsibility forms the basis of the CCR’s activities. Museum professionals, researchers, students, art lovers and those who are simply curious can thus access the entire collections, which can be viewed on-site. A storeroom specially designed to receive visitors and an exhibition room give members of the general public a chance to go ‘backstage’ at the Mucem.

A cultural centre

The Mucem is interested in the contemporary aspects of European and Mediterranean civilizations. Its collections include more than 350,000 objects, as well as a large assortment of documents, comprising a total of a million works of art, documents and objects, an extraordinary treasure trove that is promoted by means of an ambitious programme of permanent and temporary exhibitions.

The 21st century museum aims to be a real cultural centre covering a vast swath of history, making use of all the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences and displaying artistic expressions from both shores of the Mediterranean.

A Mediterranean crossroads

The museum’s goal is to promote Mediterranean heritage, take part in the creation of new exchanges in the region and, during this period of profound upheaval, help to lay the foundations for the Mediterranean world of tomorrow. In Marseille, the Mucem is a place where, on both a national and an international scale, people can come to gain a better understanding of the Mediterranean

The Musée des Confluences in Lyon

Telling the Story of Humankind

A nebulous structure made of glass, concrete, and steel sits at the tip of a peninsula, on the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers. Lyon’s futuristic Musée des Confluences is worthy of its ambition to offer the keys to understanding the intricate field of human knowledge.

In fact, the Museum inherited over two million pieces collected from the 16th and today. Referred to as “the 21st Century’s Cabinet of Curiosities,” the institution’s finds relate to paleontology, mineralogy, zoology, entomology, and ethnography.

Visitors keen to understand the origins and evolution of life will be thrilled to discover the Museum’s treasures, which include mammoth and dinosaur skeletons.

Narratives for All

Spread over 3 000 square meters, the permanent exhibition is divided into four major sections.

  • Origins: Stories of the World stages a scientific and symbolic outlook on the origins of the universe.
  • Species: the Web of Life contemplates the relationship between Homo sapiens —as an animal— and the complex biodiversity in which the species evolves.
  • Societies: the Human Theatre observes the evolution of social structures, cultures, and knowledge.
  • Eternities: Visions of the Afterlife focuses on the perception of death in different cultures.

The sheer size, diversity and rarity of the collection reflect the Museum’s desire to open up to a wider audience.

Plith, Crystal, and Cloud

Architecturally, the new landmark in the city of Lyon is a stunning technical achievement. Two distinct building blocks emerge from the deconstructivist design.

The Crystal: Located north of the building, the massive steel and glass space encasing the main entrance hall is bright, transparent, and clear.

The Cloud —the core of the building— spreads over two storeys holding black-box galleries. The flowing shape of the steel-clad section resembles a spaceship.

The exhibition area hovers over a concrete plinth that contains two auditoriums, conference rooms, and technical spaces.

Sensory Experience

The Musée des confluences redefines the museum experience. For instance, taking pictures is allowed, as it touching certain objects. Visitors can also have a virtual conversation with a hologram of Albert Einstein.

Feeling peckish? Climb up The Cloud where a restaurant with a panoramic terrace awaits on the fourth floor. Or simply stop by the brewery restaurant on the ground floor for a quick bite. Visitors can choose to walk straight through to the outdoor space, under the belly of the Museum. Finally, a quick trip to the Museum’s shop is simply the perfect ending to a unique cultural experience.

Le musée des Confluences vu du ciel from Musée des Confluences on Vimeo.

The Eden-Théâtre in La Ciotat, the oldest cinema in the world

The first screening in the legendary hall of Eden, the oldest cinema in the world located in La Ciotat (Bouches-du-Rhône), dates back to March 1899. The establishment is now listed in the Guinness World Records.

It has hardly changed since 1889. At La Ciotat (Bouches-du-Rhône), the Eden was inaugurated the same year as the Eiffel Tower. Ten years later, the first films of the Lumière brothers, the pioneers of cinematography, were screened in this establishment. Eden is today officially recognized as the oldest cinema in the world in activity.

The Eden-Théâtre is an ocher building facing the sea. Contrary to what its name suggests, it is indeed a cinema. If it was so baptized, it is because it was built in 1889. “The cinema did not yet exist, it was invented in 1895”, . The poster for the very first Eden screening, in 1899, is also on display in the entrance to the small cinema. It advertises around twenty light films, including “Launch of a ship at La Ciotat”. The price of the chair is then 75 cents.

With its red seats, of course, Eden looks more like “an Italian theater” than to a contemporary cinema. The seats each bear a plaque in the name of the celebrities who attended a screening in the century-old cinema. .

Upstairs, you can enter the projection booth. Today, it is equipped with the latest technologies since they broadcast all the films digitally. Every year, 1,200 sessions are screened at Eden, heritage works, but also art and essay films or others for young audiences.

As a partner of numerous prestigious organisations, such as the French European cinematheques, the Authors’ society, famous producers and film makers, the Pathé-Gaumont archives, the Eden decidedly fits into the world of contemporary French cinema. 

In 2018, on the occasion of the national congress of the FNCF, the Eden was recognised as an innovative cinema by the CNC, for its ability to link tradition and modernity. 

From the Lumière Brothers’ cinematographe to Hollywood blockbusters… what an extraordinary adventure for the Eden! 

Gustave Courbet and his paintings

An artist who was among the primar figures in the Realist movement, Gustave Courbet has proven himself as one of the most remarkable artists during his time.

Background

Gustave Courbet, born as Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet, was a renowned French artist during the 19th century Realist movement. He was dedicated to presenting his independent style in art as he steered clear of the traditional art techniques during his time. In fact, his unique styles became a source of inspiration among the cubists and impressionists.
It was his paintings during the 1840s that made him quite popular. His masterpieces attempted to challenge the conventions during that time. Most of his paintings also featured less political subjects such as nudes, still lifes, hunting scenes and landscapes.

Early Life

Gustave Courbet was born in Ornans, in 1819. His parents were Regis and Sylvie, and they had a thriving farming business. The young boy was drawn to art much to the inspiration of his sisters named Juliette, Zelie and Zoe.
In 1839, he decided to move to Paris to undergo training at the Steuben and Hesse studio. Even when he was in Paris, he would often go back to his hometown to find more inspiration for his artworks. Soon, he left the studio as he was more interested in perfect his individual style, and started haunting the Louvre copying old-master heroes such as Titian, Caravaggio and Diego Velazquez.

Initial Works

One of Courbet’s first masterpieces was an Odalisque, which was largely inspired by the works of a Lelia and Victor Hugo. However, he lost interest in artworks with subjects that featured literary influences. Instead, he became more inspired to create paintings based on realistic themes. Thus, most of his artworks during the early 1840s featured himself while performing various roles. He created a number of self portraits including the Desperate Man, The Sculptor, The Wounded Man, Self Portrait with Black Dog, The Cellist, and The Man with a Pipe, among a few others.

By 1846, he began touring Belgium and the Netherlands, and his adventures made him realize the value of portraying images that happen from day to day. He was specifically inspired by the works of Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt, including a few other Dutch artists who presented their artworks with images of daily life activities. In the latter part of the 1840s, he began to inspire younger art critics and enthusiasts, particulary the Realists and Neo-Romantics.

Early Accomplishments

It was in 1849 when Courbet obtained his initial success at the Salon with his masterpiece entitled “After Dinner at Ornans”.

After Dinner at Ornans (1849), Courtesy of Gustave-Courbet.com

This painting earned him a gold medal, which meant he was exempted from jury approval until 1857.
Another great painting by Courbet was the Stone-Breakers, which he created in 1849. Art critics considered this fine piece of art as a model of peasant life. It depicted a scene that the artist observed during one of his travels on the roadside. In addition, his works were not specifically taken from the Neoclassical or Romantic schools of art. He claimed to have his own unique style, and these paintings sprung from his personal experiences.

The stone breakers (1849) – Courtesy of Gustave-courbet.com


Eventually, Courbet started introducing social issues and imageries in his artworks including peasants and rural bourgeoisie. Soon, his work was labeled as realism, along with the artwork themes of other artists including Jean-Francois Millet and Honore Daumier. For Courbet, he believed that realism is more focused on rough handling of pigments, and that it should present the reality and harshness occuring in day to day situations.

The Artist’s Studio

The Artist’s Studio, 1855 – Courtsey of gustave-courbet.com

One of Courbet’s most sensational works was The Artist’s Studio, and it was considered as a masterpiece by several artists including Baudelaire and Eugene Delacroix. According to the artist, this masterpiece presented his life and the world around him. He explained that there were various elements in the society where he lived including wealth, poverty, misery and sufferings. Thus, there were several figures included in the painting such as a grave digger, prostitute and priest among a few others.

Exile and Later Life

After serving a prison sentence in 1872, Courbet experienced additional problems despite the end of the Vendome Column. A year after his sentence was over, President Patrice Mac-Mahon decided to have the column rebuilt, and the cost of reconstruction was to be settled by Courbet. Unfortunately, the artist did not have enough means to pay for the expenses, which made him decide to go on a self-imposed exile. He settled in Switzerland, and he became active in national and regional exhibitions in this foreign land. Soon, he became the head of a Swiss realist school, which inspired a number of artists including Ferdinand Hodler and Auguste Baud-Bovy.

During his life in exile, he was able to create magnificent works of art such as various paintings of a trout, which he claimed to symbolize his own life. In addition to painting, he became fascinated with sculpting. In fact, one of his finest sculptures was called The Fisherman of Chavots, which he completed in the 1860s. He donated this sculpture to Ornans, yet it was later removed after the arrest of the artist.

In 1877, Courbet died in La Tour-de-Peilz, in Switzerland while on exile. He suffered from a liver disease, which was caused by the artist’s heavy drinking.

The Artist’s Legacy

During his lifetime, Courbet has influenced a number of artists in the younger generation. In fact, Claude Monet featured a portrait of the artist in a painting entitled Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe. Courbet implemented an independent style of realism, which inspired several artists such as the Liebl Circle of German artists. His unique style was also evident in the works of other artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, James McNeil Whistler and Henri Fantin-Latour.

Indeed, Courbet has managed to remain as an inspiration to many despite his personal trials and challenges during his time. His ingenuity and craftsmanship made him one of the most revered artists in history, and his legacies continue to live on years after his death

French movie 01 – Le Brio (2017)

Le brio / Quasi nemici: l’importante è avere ragione

Friday 28 January at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

Movie in French with Italian subtitles,
mandatory registration, mandatory Mask FFP2 , mandatory Super Green Pass

Please REGISTER HERE (max 50 people in the Club House auditorium)

FRENCH

Le rêve de Neïla Salah (Camelia Jordana) est de devenir avocate et pour y parvenir elle s’inscrit à l’université d’Assas. Mais quand on vient de Créteil et que l’on est d’origine maghrébine, le projet ne va pas de soi, surtout quand on a affaire au fameux professeur Mazard (Daniel Auteuil) , un cynique qui n’a aucune limite dans ses provocations : deux milieux, deux générations, deux perceptions du monde vont se confronter. Pourtant, quand le prof apprend que son étudiante a décidé de se présenter au prestigieux concours annuel d’éloquence, conscient du potentiel de la jeune femme, il accepte de l’aider. Portés par ce projet commun, tous deux vont devoir réviser leurs certitudes et préjugés… Pour sa cinquième réalisation, Yvan Attal a voulu faire « un film politique, social, mais aussi léger, drôle, avec de l’émotion ». Ceux qui ont vu le film saluent les performances du duo formé par ce vieux briscard de Daniel Auteuil et par la nouvelle recrue, Camélia Jordana.

ENGLISH

Entering the contest for the first time is the feisty and stubborn Neila (Camelia Jordana), who hails from the Paris banlieue of Creteil and is in her freshman year of law studies at the conservative Panthoen-Assas University. On the very first day of class, Neila is berated by her professor Pierre Mazard (Daniel Auteuil) in front of the entire amphitheater, with the latter dishing out a racist rant that quickly goes viral. As a result, Mazard is reprimanded by his boss and forced to coach Neila for the “concours d’eloquence” as a way to demonstrate that he’s not a complete bigot.
Thus ensues a rather predictable series of ups and downs as Mazard lectures Neila on the art of speech, citing Schopenhauer and Rabelais, having her read Nietzsche out loud with a pen in her mouth, forcing her to orate on the Paris metro and repeating his favorite axiom over and over: “The truth doesn’t matter — it’s about being right.” Meanwhile, Neila tries to balance her newfound communication skills with life at home in the projects, where she sparks a romance with a local boy (Yasin Houicha) who doesn’t exactly share her capacity for rhetoric. Back in Paris, the lonely Mazard contends with his own alcoholism and loneliness, proving that the best teachers don’t necessarily make for the best people.

Cast: Camelia Jordana, Daniel Auteuil, Yasin Houicha, Nozha Khouadra, Nicolas Vaude, Jean-Baptiste Lafarge
Director: Yvan Attal

French movie 07 – Il favoloso mondo di Amélie (2001)

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)

Wednesday 27 April at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

Movie in French with Italian subtitles,
mandatory registration, mandatory Mask FFP2 , mandatory Super Green Pass

Please REGISTER HERE (max 50 people in the Club House auditorium)

Amélie grows up a slightly introverted child as a result of her unusual parents. When she grows up she has her own unusual habits and quirks. When she finds a hidden box of childhood toys in her house she decides to track down the owner and return it to him. Seeing the happiness that she brings to him she resolves to work in secret to make other people happy. However can she be happy herself?

Why you should see that movie :

the grace is the fundamental virtue of film. a grace as result of humor, childhood’s crumbs, profound faith and love and joy and an actress who explores in wise manner each part from her character. a film who remains adorable for its deep force of freedom, high art and translation of every day reality in the right language who preserves the tools of fairy tale. a film about life as miracle. useful . charming. extraordinary. because it discover and not propose. because it is a crazy, magnificent trip in the essence of things. because it has not a specific genre. because it seems be only one of beautiful spring mornings.

French movie 11 – The Intouchables (2011)

The Intouchables / Intouchables (O. Nakache & E Toledano, 2011)

Friday 24 June at 9:30pm, Piazza Ferrario, Ispra

In Paris, the aristocratic and intellectual Philippe is a quadriplegic millionaire who is interviewing candidates for the position of his carer, with his red-haired secretary Magalie. Out of the blue, Driss cuts the line of candidates and brings a document from the Social Security and asks Phillipe to sign it to prove that he is seeking a job position so he can receive his unemployment benefit. Philippe challenges Driss, offering him a trial period of one month to gain experience helping him. Then Driss can decide whether he would like to stay with him or not. Driss accepts the challenge and moves to the mansion, changing the boring life of Phillipe and his employees.

Why you should see that movie :

Terrific comedy-drama from France about Philippe (Francois Cluzet), a rich man who was left paralyzed from the neck down after an accident and Driss (Omar Sy), a man from the ghetto who hasn’t had much going on in his life until he gets the job of taking care of the handicapped man. THE INTOUCHABLES has been breaking box office records around the world but I decided to stay away from it because of some rather lukewarm reviews. I’m certainly glad the trailer kept telling me to go see it because no matter what the critics say, this here is a complete winner and it’s easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with it. I’m really not sure why so many critics have bashed it for being a “crowd winner” or “too happy” because neither makes much sense. I thought the film was quite remarkable because the pre-credit sequence is just so touching and funny that you can’t help but fall in love with these two characters and the journey of their friendship that follows was incredibly touching and best of all is that it felt real. Cluzet and Sy are simply so terrific in their roles that you really do feel as if you’re watching real people with real issues. The way the two play off one another is so remarkable to watch that once you’ve seen it I don’t see how you could forget them. Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano do a remarkable job balancing the comedy with the drama and in the end they really create such a special atmosphere that it’s impossible not to get caught up with it. THE INTOUCHABLES is without question one of the best films of the year and hopefully the strong word of mouth from around the world will get more people to check it out.

French movie 12 – Le concert (2009)

The concert (R. Mihaileanu, 2009)

Friday 01 July at 9:30pm, Piazza Ferrario, Ispra

Thirty years ago, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi, he learns by accident that the Châtelet Theater in Paris invites the Bolshoi orchestra to play there. He decides to gather together his former musicians and to perform in Paris in the place of the current Bolshoi orchestra. As a solo violin player to accompany his old Jewish or Gypsy musicians he wants Anne-Marie Jacquet, a young virtuoso. If they all overcome the hardships ahead this very special concert will be a triumph.

Why you should see that movie :

An explosion of desperate comedy, melancholy drama and passion

The Concert is a French/ Italian/Romanian/Belgian production shot in Moscow and Paris. The publicity blurb says that the musical finale is worth the ticket price alone, but I would say even reading the list of exotic names floating over the opening credits is worth a good percentage of the price.

We travel back 30 years to when Andrei, talented young conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra, was humiliated and sacked by Breshnev for refusing to get rid of his Jewish musicians. Fast forward to the present, and we find him still working at the Bolshoi – but as a cleaner. One lucky day he finds himself alone with the office fax machine. What follows is an audacious plot to get his old sidekicks to Paris, using borrowed instruments, hired suits and fake passports, posing as the real Bolshoi for a concert at the Theatre du Chatelet. If you can imagine a story as full of colour and drama as the TV rock ‘n’ roll serial epic Tutti Frutti, jammed into just one cinema experience, this could be it. It’s rare to see so many set pieces in one film.

I laughed out loud once or twice – and if you know what a grumpy old man I am you would realise what that means. I was also moved to tears, but I’m not telling you why. That would spoil it all – just saying that under its layer of manic fast-cut comedy the story carries a deep, dark and passionate secret which gradually reveals itself as the comedy peels off. The music is, I have to add, beautiful – whether it’s Roma dance jigs in the street or Tchaikovsky in the concert hall. Bring a hanky!

French movie 08 – The Taste of the others (2000)

The Taste of Others / le gout des autres (2000)

Wednesday 11 May at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

Three men, three women, opposites, possibilities, and tastes. Castella owns an industrial steel barrel plant in Rouen; Bruno is his flute-playing driver, Franck is his temporary bodyguard while he negotiates a contract with Iranians, his wife Angélique does frou-frou interior decorating and loves her dog. The conventional Castella hires a forty-year-old actress, Clara, to tutor him in English, and he finds her and her Bohemian lifestyle fascinating. Is this love? What would she say if he declared himself? Through Bruno, Franck meets Manie, a barmaid who deals hash. They begin an affair. Are they in love? They joke about marriage. As the women hold back, the men must make decisions.

Why you should see that movie :

sharp, subtle, sublime

This debut for Jaoui (playing the role of Manie) as a director is a great comedy. Hilarious, but not over the top. ‘Le Goût des Autres’ has some very sharp dialogues filled with subtle jokes and delivered by a perfect cast. It was no surprise to learn afterwards that the same screenwriters wrote the script for ‘Un Air de Famille’ by Cedric Klapisch, another French comedy at its best. But this one is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable movies of the year. A well deserved Oscar-nominee for ‘best foreign language film’.

French movie 10 – L’ufficiale e la spia (2019)

L‘ufficiale e la spia / J’accuse (R. Polanski 2019)

Friday 24 June at 9:30 pm, Piazza Ferrario, Ispra

In 1894, French Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young promising officer, is degraded for spying for Germany, wrongfully convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, who is promoted to run the military counter-intelligence unit that tracked him down. But when Picquart discovers that secrets are still being handed over to the Germans, he is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and corruption that threatens not just his honor but his life.

Why you should see that movie :

The story is nothing revolutionary, no extra twist or suprise but the real gem here is the way the story is told and the movie was shot.

In contrast to the oversaturated Hollywood exhaustive action packed style this movie manages to tell the intriguing Dreyfus affair in France 1895 without unnecessary overdone action scenes/music whilst maintaining the core tension of the topic that doesn’t let you off the hook.

When the movie was finished I couldn’t believe that over 2h were over and I felt pleasantly refreshed and renewed, although I was constantly focused on what will happen next. That’s the level of smoothness we are talking about here.

A connection to past Polanski or French movies is definitely visible and this way of storytelling can be thought of as a new take on it.

If you like historical dramas with a good portion of crime you should definitely take a look at this gem.

French movie 06 – Delicatessen (1991)

Delicatessen (1991)

Wednesday 30 March at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

mandatory registration,
mandatory Mask FFP2 ,
mandatory Super Green Pass

max 50 people in the Club House auditorium

You can register HERE

Storyline

Centered on a post-apocalyptic society where food is scarce and used as currency. In an apartment building with a delicatessen on the ground floor. The owner of the eatery also owns the apartment building and is in need of a new maintenance man since the prior one “mysteriously” disappeared. A former clown applies for the job and the butcher’s intent is to have him work for as little as possible. The clown and butcher’s daughter fall in love and she tries to foil her father’s plans by contacting the “troglodytes”, a grain eating sub-group of society who live entirely underground

  • Why you should see that movie :

A film about people, relationships, feelings, gestures, reactions, answers to the reactions of the other, absurd, chaotic, without coherence; Not surprising because it is only a film about ordinary people living together.
A dark comedy, a childish game who seems be more improvisation, it is a strange artistic delight and this is its basic virtue to be an open door to an universe who mix love story with savage habits, food with eccentricity , fear with a sort of carnival. So, a show about simple people who is more expression of imagination, seductive for the puzzle of images, great for the references to the world of circus, great for the delicate portrait of hidden aspects of life, taboos. A form of experiment and this is its significant good point.

French movie 05 – Tanguy (2001)

Tanguy (2001)

Friday 18 March at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

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Storyline

Tanguy is 28 years old and staying home with his parents. So the parents organize a get-out-of house campaign.

  • Why you should see that movie :

Tanguy is a very good and funny comedy. The film became quite famous and now sociologists in France, Great Britain and Canada call young adults staying with their parents although they have enough income to live in their own house the “Tanguy generation”. The main actors Eric Berger and Sabine Azema are really excellent.

French movie 04 – C’est la vie: prendila come viene (2017)

Le sens de la fête / C’est la vie: prendila come viene (2017) with Italian subtitles

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Wednesday 02 March at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

Pierre is marrying Héléna and he wants his wedding party to be first-rate. For that he has reserved the services of seasoned caterer Max Angély and his team. The reception is to take place in a sumptuous 17th-century leisure castle and its beautiful park, and an excellent DJ will supply the music. The rich, arrogant groom demands that everything go according to plan. Max assures him that it will, but he doesn’t mention that his team isn’t absolutely above reproach. For instance, Etienne (as James), a second-rate entertainer, has replaced the top-level DJ; Adèle, Max’s short-tempered assistant, keeps causing embroilment; Guy, the wedding photographer, is a free-loading has-been; Josiane, Max’s close collaborator (and lover), is on the verge of breaking up with him; Julien, a depressive ex-teacher-turned-waiter, once had a date with–the bride; Samy, an additional waiter, proves worthless. But Max, whose motto is “Always adapt!” is the persistent kind and will do everything to save the situation. Will he manage? That is the question.

Why you should see that movie :

Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano had already come up with a masterpiece in 2011: INTOUCHABLES, brimming with joie de vivre despite the physical and social limitations of the two main characters, brilliantly played by François Cluzet and Omar Sy.

That same zest for life is present in LE SENS DE LA FÊTE, and certainly the acting is of the highest order once again. Were this an American film, and Jean-Pierre Bacri would certainly have received an Oscar nomination. His control over his party function team, his business sense, his perceptiveness of his troop members’ moods, and even his occasionally deadpan moments render his performance sublime, possibly the most complete, subtle, and perceptive I watched in 2017.

There are many other performers in this film but that never detracts from the film’s focus and all of them do an excellent job of raising this film to the highest levels of comedy, including two Indians from the Punjab who have some of the peachiest small parts I have watched in the recent past.

From the above, it is easy to conclude that dialogue is sharp and funny, as characters find themselves in all manner of laughable, embarrassing, sexy, unprofessional, and other situations. Perhaps the screenplay’s greatest merit is that it keeps subtly misleading the viewer into believing that the outcome of a given sequence will be this or that – to be sure, you never get the pat solution!

Photography is excellent, especially the night shots and the sequence involving a balloon in flight. Soundtrack is very appropriate, never interfering, but always helping to give substance to the film.

Finally – please forgive me if I repeat my introduction – what a great job of directing!

This is one of the best, subtlest and most sublime comedies I have ever had the privilege to watch. I was really sorry to see the credits roll up at the end. and that’s not what I feel about many movies these days

French movie 03 – Happiness is in the field (1995)

Happiness Is in the Field – Le bonheur est dans le pré (1995) – with English subtitles

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Wednesday 16 February at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

Everything goes awry in the life of Francis Bergeade: his firm is on strike, his wife Nicole despises him and he has a heart attack. All these reasons incite him, helped by his best friend Gérard to take the place of Michel who disappeared more than twenty years ago and is demanded by his family. Thus, Francis arrives in the life of Dolores who breeds ducks in the south of France with her two daughters…

Why you should see that movie :

If you like good, intelligent comedy (something completely different from American empty-headed comedies) this picture is perfect for you. It has interesting and witty dialogues, bright atmosphere and great performances by Michel Serrault (Francis) ,Eddy Mitchell (Gerard) and specially Sabine Azema who is excellent and hilarious as Francis’ wife Nicole.

The plot of “Le Bonheur est dans le pre” is a simple one, but the excellent casting, the finesse of tone and dialogues, the constant humour give this movie real class.

It’s a modern fairy tale, worth seeing again and again (especially when you feel a bit depressed, or slowed down), an apology of the simple (and free) pleasures of life.

Some might remember the ‘Safrane’ as one of the highlights of the movie, I prefer the one remark made by Cantona: “C’est pas lourd le confit !”

French movie 02 – The women on the 6th floor (2010)

The Women on the 6th Floor (2010) – with English subtitles

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Wednesday 02 February at 8:45pm, Auditorium Club House

Paris, in the early 1960s. Jean-Louis Joubert is a serious but uptight stockbroker, married to Suzanne, a starchy class-conscious woman and father of two arrogant teenage boys, currently in a boarding school. The affluent man lives a steady yet boring life. At least until, due to fortuitous circumstances, Maria, the charming new maid at the service of Jean-Louis’ family, makes him discover the servants’ quarter on the sixth floor of the luxury building he owns and lives in. There live a crowd of lively Spanish maids who will help Jean-Louis to open to a new civilization and a new approach of life. In their company – and more precisely in the company of beautiful Maria – Jean-Louis will gradually become another man, a better man.

Why you should see that movie :

This interesting film is full of humor , drama , touching scenes and good feeling . It is a simple , dramatic and humorous portrait of a time when the Spanish people had to go other countries in order to encounter a work . This amusing as well as funny picture deals about lives of the immigrants with a minor support in their live condition and including a touching and emotive finale . As in Spain of the 50s and 60s ruled by General Franco there’s no job , there’s no money , and there’s no option for the poor people but to emigrate to a foreign country and attempting to encounter work . As it concerns about the Spanish way of life of a crowd of maids , their habits , costumes ; at the same time they improve the serious but uptight stockbroker who lives a steady yet boring life , being suddenly changed when appear the Spanish maids ; as Jean-Louis will gradually become another man, a better man . Actors are frankly magnificent with a first-rate acting for whole cast . Sensational Fabrice Luchini along with the wife played Sandrine Kiberlain and a gorgeous as well as sympathetic Natalia Verbeke . Special mention to the group of Spanish maids magnificently performed by Carmen Maura , Lola Dueñas , Berta Ojea , among others . Colorful and evocative cinematography by Jean Claude Larrieu . Imaginative as well as sensitive original Music by Jorge Arriagada , Raul Ruiz’s usual . It was a success among spectators, as well as a hit smash in the various film festivals it took part in ; as it achieved Prix d’interprétation à Natalia Verbeke au festival Sarlat 2010 .