As the theoretical physicist Geoffrey West reminds, “We form cities in order to enhance interaction, to facilitate growth, wealth creation, ideas, innovation, but in so doing, we create, from a physicist's viewpoint, entropy.”
This spring, I am inspired by the blooming city around us. One of the overlooked but indispensable aspects of New York culture is the subway. (And you might think I am trying to seem like a real New Yorker by mentioning the subway!) I discovered that you can find the most beautiful poems (part of the Arts for Transit movement) posted on the walls of those zipping cars.
Let’s talk about Paris. Balzac describes the capital as a primitive land with curved, serpentine roads that stretch in all directions like sprawled arms and legs. Later Haussmann fashioned a new Paris, broadening the scrawny streets and blasting boulevards through zones neither “paved” nor “lighted” before.
This February, we invite you to celebrate a month of love and intellectual exchange. On the 6th, the French Embassy will present the first French Voices Awards ceremony and will honor the late non-profit publishing pioneer André Schiffrin.
Just as Marcel Proust transformed literature, Jean-Luc Godard did the same for cinematic storytelling. This fall we find ourselves remembering these two revolutionaries on the occasion of the anniversary of two monumental works: Proust's Swann's Way (1913) and Godard's Contempt (1963).
The summer is a time for cultivating our minds. In the words of Pangloss, Candide’s wise teacher, “we must cultivate our gardens.” What he means is that we must water the lush pastures of our brains with knowledge and ideas. This summer, there is no shortage of intellectual seeds to plant in our minds. There are novels to read, there is music to sway to, and there are shows to watch with awe...
Film-lovers might be focused right now on the drama of the Cannes Film Festival, but this summer travelling festivals bring French film to communities throughout the US. Films on the Green, which opens on June 7th, in New York, is a celebration of French film, but it is also a celebration of community.