Winter Edito

December 13, 2016 | By French Culture

Dear Friends,

The end of 2016 has been rich both in emotion and cultural activity. In November, Festival Albertine, curated by Ta-Nehisi Coates, drew together 30 speakers—including Claudia Rankine, Kehinde Wiley, Benjamin Millepied, and Catherine Meurisse—for conversations on race and identity. New York and Paris editions of the French-American Digital Lab in October and December respectively introduced France- and U.S.-based cultural startups to the ecosystems on the other side of the Atlantic.  And City/Cité continued in the same vein of sharing and dialogue by uniting researchers, policymakers, activists, artists, architects, and journalists in Paris for discussions on urban democracy.

In 2017, we wish to renew our commitment to a spirit of openness, transatlantic cooperation, and intellectual rigor across all of our programs. The season kicks off with A Night of Philosophy and Ideas in Los Angeles on January 26 and at the Brooklyn Public Library in New York City on January 28. The all-night marathons of philosophical debate, performances, screenings, readings, and music will feature top philosophers from around the world. 

In February, the Ballet de Lorraine will begin a national tour, performing pieces by French choreographers such as Cecilia Bengolea, François Chaignaud and Alban Richard at The Joyce Theater (NY; Feb. 7-12); Walker Art Center (MN; Feb. 16); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Feb. 18-19); and The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (OR; Feb. 22). 

And in March, catch the celebrated Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival, showcasing the range and verve of contemporary French filmmaking, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The month will also be dedicated to children with the second edition of Tilt Kids Festival, co-produced with FIAF. The festival will offers the best of French culture through engaging performances and exhibitions for all ages. 

As we work towards these thought-provoking projects, we continue our efforts to share French and Francophone literature across the U.S. and through Albertine and work towards a Bilingual Revolution in schools across the country.

In this season’s spirit of gratitude, I close with a sincere thank you to all of those who have donated to the Bilingual Fund, which supports French dual language and immersion education in public schools across the US. Though we have made great progress, there is still much work to be done. We appreciate any support you may be able to devote to this important project.

I also wish to recognize all of the individuals, foundations, organizations, and companies who have so generously contributed to and collaborated on our projects, this past year and beyond. I am equally grateful to the brilliant thinkers, artists, and professionals with whom we have had the pleasure of working. Thanks to you, we have been able to produce richer programs that touch a wide audience across the US.

Joyeuses fêtes et bonne année à vous tous!

Bénédicte de Montlaur

Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy 

Film

French cinema comes to New York this winter in a few different forms: retrospectives on filmmakers Eric Rohmer (Metrograph; NY; January) and Jean-Pierre Léaud (NY; beginning Mar. 29); Rendez-Vous with French Cinema Festival at Lincoln Center (NY; beginning Mar. 1); and First Look 2017 at the Museum of the Moving Image, featuring two French guests and opening on January 5th in partnership with FID Marseille.

Focus on French Cinema Festival (beginning Mar. 27) will also take place both in New York City and in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Plus, round out your holiday gifts with these cinema-related gift recommendations from our Film Department.

Visual Arts

Paris-based artist Kapwani Kiwanga will present site-specific installation, video, and prints that draw on the artist’s research into the design of institutional spaces at the Logan Center in Chicago (Jan. 20-Mar. 12). Later in the winter, during the Armory Show in New York (Mar. 2-5), view the work of contemporary French artists selected for the Etant donnés grants.

Parents and families interested in exposing children to French culture and art should keep an eye out for the Tilt Kids Festival 2016 program, soon to be released here.

Performing Arts

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference is coming to New York this winter (Jan. 6-10), as are touring French artists. The heartrending, one-man tour de force, Oh Boy!, will be playing at The New Victory Theater (Jan. 6-15), as well as at the Wexner Center (OH; Jan. 19-22) and the Walker Art Center (MN; Jan 26-28). Under the artistic direction of Olivier Letellier, Oh Boy! has already received both critical and public success in France (and won a Molière Award in 2010). And in February, the Ballet de Lorraine will begin a national tour, performing pieces by French choreographers such as Cecilia Bengolea, Francois Chaignaud and Alban Richard at The Joyce Theater (NY; Feb. 7-12); Walker Art Center (MN; Feb. 16); Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art (Feb. 18-19); and The Arlene Schnitzer Theatre (OR; Feb. 22). Philippe Quesne will also be performing in New York early next year.

Books

A Night of Philosophy and Ideas, co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the Brooklyn Public Library, will take place at the Brooklyn Public Library this winter (Jan. 28-29; 7pm-7am). The all-night marathon of philosophical debate, original performances, art installations, screenings, readings, and music will take place at Brooklyn Public Library. Sign up here for updates. A Night of Philosophy and Ideas is produced in connection with La Nuit des idées, a project of the Institut français, Paris. La Nuit des idées is a worldwide event taking place in over 30 cities on January 26, 2017. Among these cities is L.A., where La Nuit des idées will take place on January 26 to 27, 7pm-2am.

As part of Kids Trail, our program for kids and families, international best-selling children’s author Marion Bataille will be touring bilingual schools and children’s bookstores from January 23 through February 11 in Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, and New York, among other cities. And from March 20 through April 2, the Fit to Print exhibition (NY) will display illustrations by 17 French artists.

Higher Education

Young innovators were recently recognized with the France on Campus Award, a prize that honors student-crafted projects that promote French culture on university campuses. The winning team, hailing from University of California, Davis, will provide a digital platform for 360° videos created by students in France in order to inspire other UCD students to study there. And for students who have studied in France in the past, be sure to sign up for France Alumni USA, an international platform and network of professionals who have completed part or all of their studies in France.

Eight recipients were also chosen for the “Partnership for Innovation and Collaboration in Study Abroad” Awards. Read more here.

Music

Music fans: don’t miss French artists performing around the country and as part of the Winter Jazz Fest in New York City (Jan. 5-10). Named the #1 jazz festival in North America by Jazz Times Magazine, the Winter Jazz Fest will include performances by Papa Nosh, Scott Tixier, Imany, and Piers Faccini. Later in January, Wax Tailor will tour around the U.S., beginning in Philadelphia (Jan. 17), passing through New York (Jan. 19), and ending in Nashville (Feb. 18). Lise de la Salle will also tour and notably perform at the Phillips Collection (Washington D.C.; Jan. 15). Finally, Jain will tour with shows in Nashville (Mar. 12), and New York’s Bowery Ballroom (April 6).

Education

March marks the Mois de la Francophonie, which aims to promote the French language in a context of cultural diversity. Students of the French Heritage Language Program (FHLP), which provides French classes for underserved French-speaking communities in public schools and centers across the U.S., will celebrate the occasion with several events planned in collaboration with the Organisation international de la Francophonie (OIF). FHLP students will also participate in a theater competition with the Lycée Français de New York in January.

Albertine

Albertine Books will begin the year with three exciting events. First, an evening centered on Maya Angelou, on the occasion of the translation into French of her book, Letter to My Daughter (Lettres à ma fille), will and unite Dinaw Mengestu, who wrote the book’s preface; translator Anne-Emmanuelle Robicquet; and Angelou’s publisher, Brigitte Bouchard. The event will kick off a year-long “Writing, Transgressing, Resisting: Women Writers in the 20th Century” series at Albertine.

On January 12, philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker Bernard-Henri Lévy will discuss his newest bookThe Genius of Judaism, during a conversation with author and New Yorker journalist Adam Gopnik. A profound, hypnotic intellectual reckoning, and perhaps Lévy’s most personal book, The Genius of Judaism, which will be released in English on January 10, offers a new vision of what it means to be a Jew and explores Judaism through the prism of history and current global conflict.

On January 19, a book launch for Frédéric Beigbeder’s Manhattan's Babe, the first illustrated novel published by Assouline, will take place, and on January 31, catch “Ecrire la ville : L.A.” with author Laure Murat.