France-Atlanta 2013: Highlights

December 9, 2013 | By FRENCH CULTURE ATLANTA

Reviving the streets of Atlanta with the G. Bistaki

The Toulouse dance company took over the streets of the capital of the Old South with a surreal show where mundane objects become the unexpected accessories of a strange scenario and everything becomes possible when the relationship to space is unique to each performance and each location.  Amidst juggling, dancing and an explosive energy, the actors pull the audience into a mysterious, shadowy and amusing universe filled with questions, where logic does not apply and answers are left to the imagination.

 A cultural rendez-vous on the street corner

Two men and a woman embark on a journey through time and space in Association Manifeste’s “Point de vue sur coin de rue”, a performance which carries the audience through a series of visual hallucinations to a street corner in Cuba, Europe or America. Bodies whirl and bounce around at dusk, faces tell us a story of the place visited and invite spectators, looking at the scene from different angles, to shift their gaze for a moment and seek another “point of view”. 

Through the gaps of reality:  an observation of the unknown

Laurent Grasso, renowned for creating unique and unusual environments, takes us through an immersive experience of parallel realities capable of testing our system of knowledge and our capacity for critical thinking. What we know as truth is challenged through a series of visuals where understanding is secondary to questioning and observing life in a different way.   

Understanding the Négritude movement through poetry

Critically acclaimed actor Jacques Martial interpreted « Cahier d’un retour au Pays Natal » by Aimé Césaire at the Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta. Alone onstage, a black man returns to « the native land », back to his humanity, through a vibrant poem  denouncing the prejudices of the society in which he lives and the injustice of servitude.  Césaire’s words are sharp, precise and real, beautifully translated through Martial’s strength and anger, with a minimalist staging.

 A look at African cinema through the eyes of film director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

The award-winning Chadian film director, who has been living in France for the past thirty years, presented three of his films during the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta and was awarded Best International Feature Film for his newest film “Grisgris”. Selected as part of the official 2013 Cannes film selection, “Grisgris” tells the story of Chadian youths, their dreams and aspirations to rebuild a country torn by war. The screening was followed by a conversation with Mr Haroun, with guest and fellow film director Tambay Obenson.

“Lise on the piano”, a touch of French contemporary music

Lise Chemla, a pianist, singer and song writer whose light, airy vocals and virtuoso accompaniment brought her to the forefront of the French musical scene in 2011 with the release of her first album, delighted the Alliance Française crowd she had vowed to entertain during France-Atlanta while on tour abroad.  Lise performs in French and English with equal ease and enjoys playful musical acts where she eclectically mixes her cheerful French repertoire with other genres such as the unlikely cover of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P”, to which she manages to give an elegant and unique musical twist.

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