Films on the Green 2016 Opening Night

June 13, 2016 | By French Culture

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, Cultural Counselor Bénédicte de Montlaur welcomed guests to the opening night cocktail reception for the 9th annual Films on the Green Festival which coincided with the launch of the first Paris-New York Tandem at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York. The reception was followed by a screening of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless in Central Park.

Good evening !

Bienvenue! Welcome to the opening of Films on the Green – our annual festival of free French films in New York City parks. I am delighted to see so many new and familiar faces at one of our favorite cultural events of the year!

Unfortunately, Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, was not able to join us today as she is dealing with the complicated aftermath of the recent floods in Paris. I’d like to give a warm welcome to Patrick Klugman, Deputy Mayor of the City of Paris in charge of International Relations and the French Speaking World and Mayor of the 17th arrondissement, who is here on her behalf. 

I would also like to welcome several esteemed guests who are joining us tonight: Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, William Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner for NYC Parks.

Tonight, with this festival standing as an emblem of French-American relations, we are launching the first ever Paris-New York Tandem 2016, a project which aims to share the cultural richness and diversity that exist on both sides of the Atlantic.

In New York, events will take place at multiple venues all summer long with performances, in music, dance, and theater, and more. Some of the highlights include: a production of Battlefield, based on Mahabharata, adapted and directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne which will take place at BAM, whose President, Katy Clark, is with us tonight. Welcome Katy, and thank you! At the Lincoln Center, Paris’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord will present a production of Molière’s canonical comedy Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, with exquisite costumes by Christian Lacroix. And for those who prefer to be outdoors, France Rocks and the Cultural Services are presenting a summer long French music festival with concerts throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. However, there are many more entertaining events, so please remember to pick up a Tandem brochure on your way out.

Each year, Films on the Green takes us on a cinematic voyage. Last year we invited you to travel around the Mediterranean Sea, from the French Riviera to Lebanon and Tunisia. This year, we will take you through the streets of Paris, from iconic areas like the Champs-Élysées to the less represented outer suburbs.

Tonight’s film, Jean-Luc Godard’s timeless classic, Breathless, is a poignant representation of that mutual fascination between Paris and New York. It weaves together a love story between the dashing Jean-Paul Belmondo and the lovely American Jean Seberg. There is perhaps no moment that encapsulates the bond between our two cultures as perfectly as Jean-Luc Godard does in the New York Herald Tribune scene in Breathless with its stunning backdrop of the Champs-Elysées. And there is perhaps no better film than Breathless to kick off the first ever Tandem Paris-New York! 

Of course, an event like Films on the Green is never done alone, and none of this would be possible without our most loyal fans as well as our committed partners NYC Parks and FACE Foundation.

Thank you to our official sponsors, for their extremely generous support: Air France, BNP Paribas, and TV5 Monde.

I would also like to thank our supporters: the City of Paris, Institut français, React to Film, and our friends Columbia Maison Française, Blouin Monthly Editions, along with the Washington Square Park Conservancy, and the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

And of course, a very special thank you to our individual donors: Nora Coblence, Livia Hegner and Frederic Weiss.

Thank you to WNYU and WHCS radio stations for providing the wonderful music this evening.

I would also like to thank Pomméry who provided the drinks for this evening’s event and Maman for the delicious food!

And last but not least, a very special thank you to agnès b. who supports the festival and designed the bag full of exciting goodies that you will all be taking home with you tonight!

Finally, I hope that the screenings we show bring you good conversations, laughs, and memories. Passez une bonne soirée.

And now it is my pleasure to give the floor to William Castro, Manhattan Borough Commissioner of New York City Parks.

To see more photographs of the event, please visit the Films On The Green Facebook page!

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