French culture lights up Argentina in 2014
“A French Season in Argentina” is the name of a newly released cultural exchange programme meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic cultural exchange agreement signed by France and Argentina in October, 1964, when Charles De Gaulle made his first visit to South America.
Throughout 2014, a number of artists, writers, films and shows will arrive from France, outlining a vast cultural map which will probably also reflect Argentina’s participation as special guest to this year’s edition of the Paris Book Fair, as well as an exhibition dedicated to Victoria Ocampo and art interventions by Marta Minujín on the streets of the French capital.
Argentina’s cultural exchange with France has proven highly popular and mutually beneficial throughout the years. Without going any further than last year, more than 3,000 theatre goers went to see Eugène Ionesco’s Rhinocéros by the Théâtre de la Ville in 2013, and some 18,000 people saw the greenhouse expedition – a vessel decked with plants which dropped anchor on Avenida de Mayo.
“Our bilateral relation is long-standing and highly empathic. It goes 200 years back, if we take a moment to reflect that is was the example of the French Revolution and the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment that inspired the liberation movement which was born in Buenos Aires on May 25, 1810,” French Ambassador Jean-Michel Casa told reporters.
The “French Season” kicks off this month with a number of French films arriving to Argentina, first at the Pantalla Pinamar festival and then to the “French Cinema Week” in Buenos Aires before travelling to other 19 cities throughout the country until the end of the year.
Arguably one of the most eagerly awaited artists hailing from France is singer-songwriter Zaz, who will release her second album Recto Verso and perform twice (on March 15 and 16) in Niceto Club. Palermo Soho’s most popular live music club will also have semba singer Bonga, an icon of Angolan music, performing on March 20.
March 20 is also the International Day of Francophonie, which will bring the festivities again to Plaza San Martín, with a successful blend of cultural and gastronomic activities with a particular focus on “green fracophonie.”
April will begin with the 100th year anniversary since the birth of celebrated French writer and film director Marguerite Duras. Moreover, the 30th anniversary of Duras’ autobiographical novel L’Amant (which won the Goncourt Prize in 1984) brings a multidisciplinary programme at the Malba (Museo de Arte Latino Americano) focusing on the famous author’s books and films and including discussions and readings.
Also in April, for the 40th edition of the Buenos Aires Book Fair, several French authors will arrive to BA, including poet Jacques Ancet, Juan Gelman’s friend and translator, novelists Eric Faye and Laurent Mauvignier, as well as Aliénor Mauvignier from the iconic French bookstore Ombres Blanches de Toulouse.
The BAFICI fest will also host the inauguration of the programme “50 films to celebrate 50 years of cooperation” including French masterpieces which will be screened throughout the year. Moreover, the Fundación Cinemateca Argentina and Sala Lugones will present in October 12 French classical films that have been restored.
In May, during ArteBA, La Maison Rouge-Fondation Antoine de Galbert will bring 30 French collectors to roam the arts scene in BA for a week, while July looks promising with the arrival of the Futurotextiles exhibition coming from Lille, France, to Tecnópolis to show innovatory combinations of textile, fashion, design and art. Following a resounding success in the Pompidou-Metz centre as well as the Palais de Tokio and Casa Daros in Rio de Janeiro, Julio LeParc will open, on July 10 at Malba, the exhibition Le Parc Lumière, comprised of 16 kinetic installations that creat “a symphony of moving light.”
Another anxiously awaited guest is Sophie Calle, a living legend of France’s contemporary art scene, who will come to Argentina for the first Buenos Aires Perfomance Biennial in mid October. Calle will present Des histoires vraies (True Stories) which is based on intimate snapshots of the artist’s life and was previously performed at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, as well as in Hanover, Miami and Brussels.
As for the French presence at the Colón Theatre this year, Frédéric Chaslin will conduct The Barber of Seville, pianist Philippe Entremont will perform with the BA Philharmonic and Requiem for a Nun, by French-Argentine composer Oscar Strasnoy will premier on June 6.
Herald with Télam