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Summer Edito 2017

Dear friends,

It is a pleasure to address you during this time of cultural and political change. The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, has reiterated the importance of culture, education, and innovation, both in France and around the globe, as catalysts for a bright future. We are determined to continue defending and promoting these values across the United States.

This summer, with the return of outdoor movie screenings in New York and Chicago, we are celebrating ten years of exchange and discovery through francophone film. For the 10th anniversary of Films on the Green, we have asked ten guest curators to choose one French film to share. Wes Anderson, James Ivory, Laurie Anderson, Saul Williams, Isabella Rossellini, Matias Pineiro, Matthew Weiner, Wanda Sykes, and Jim Jarmusch have all revisited their favorites to give us a program as delightful as it is eclectic. Every Friday from June 2 to July 28, one of these movies will be shown in an NYC park. More information can be found on the Films on the Green page. Chicago’s Films on the Lake will also offer numerous screenings from June 14th to September 28th.

These screenings are certainly not the only opportunities to discover or revisit French artists in June and July. France Rocks Summerfest, the largest French music festival in the United States, is returning to New York with a diverse group of artists. Music will also be a part of our ongoing commemoration of America’s 1917 entry into World War I and the cultural changes that helped strengthen our Franco-American alliance. On July 1st, we will celebrate one hundred years since World War I and the cross-pollination of French and American musical culture with a free concert that is open to all. Beginning at 5:00 P.M. at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield, the concert includes Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks with Catherine Russel, Aurora, and the Avalon Jazz Band.

This summer there is also no shortage of performing arts events. In New York, the French acrobats of Compagnie XY will present Il n’est pas encore minuit, while the Paris Opera Ballet will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ballet Jewels with the New York City Ballet and the Bolchoï--a truly dazzling show!

We are also delighted to be a part a new project in Chicago led by the Paris-based Palais de Tokyo showcasing the work of a dozen artists, from both France and the United States, beginning September 13 at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History.

And in Chicago, seven francophone illustrators, including Guy Delisle and Marguerite Abouet, will speak at the American Library Association’s annual conference from June 22 to June 26. Finally, at the end of the summer, I encourage you to visit Yanick Lahens at the September Brooklyn Book Festival in celebration of the translation of her excellent Bain de lune.

If you are in New York, consider spending the hottest hours of the day at our bookstore, Albertine, which is open all summer. On June 26 Caroline Boyle-Turner and Maia Nukuwill discuss Paul Gauguin and his connection to the Marquises and the idea of exoticism at Albertine.

Working toward more globally-minded cultural and educational initiatives is an integral part of our mission. In France, after successfully launching the Jefferson Fund for university cooperation, we developed the Community College Abroad in France program. As part of this program, for ten days, American community college students discovered Paris and attended conferences on Paris’s role as a leader in sustainable development. At the end of June, the French Heritage Language Program’s Summer Camp will begin assisting recently-immigrated French-speaking students from public high schools in “discover[ing] New York.” Teens, many of whom are originally from Africa and Haiti, will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with city life and get to know famous places such as Ellis Island and the United Nations...

Also at the heart of our mission is a commitment to sharing French literature with American readers. This is exactly what we aimed to achieve through the first Albertine Prize, awarded last June 6th to Antoine Volodine for Bardo or Not Bardo, as well as to the work’s translator, J. T. Mahany. Volodine set out to, in his words, “write a foreign story in French." Indeed, his work has the power to resonate across borders. With those words in mind--let the summer begin! 


Bénédicte de Montlaur
Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the U.S.