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Three Questions to Director Ziad Doueiri

The Insult is the fourth feature film from France-based Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, and is currently screening in the United States. The movie has been shortlisted in the Best Foreign Language Film category for this year’s Oscars, set for March 4, 2018. Following on from West Beirut (1998), Lila Says (2004) and The Attack (2012), the moviemaker who used to...

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“Frenchy”: The Voice of the Homeless in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles — the U.S. city with the highest number of homeless people — a French woman is fighting for the rights of those most in need. Formerly homeless herself, she has become a self-made "ambassador for dignity." Louise Mbella feels right at home in Skid Row, a neighborhood home to a large homeless population in Downtown Los Angeles....

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“Lover For a Day”: Garrel at the Peak of his Art

After Jealousy and In the Shadow of Women, French filmmaker Philippe Garrel is back with a new work on the vagaries of love and desire, in U.S. theaters on January 12. Pleasure and pain. A student rushes down the steps at her university to meet her lover, while another is thrown out by her boyfriend and collapses in tears on...

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Book Clubs in France and the United States

While the American style of book club is growing in popularity with French people, particularly via social media, the culture of group reading is not as widespread in France as in the United States. Publishing historian Jean-Yves Mollier compares U.S. book clubs — originally inspired by religion — and their French counterparts — born of worker’s rights and activism. France-Amérique: What is...

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“Django”: Reinhardt Unchained

The first feature-length movie from Etienne Comar, out in U.S. theaters on January 5, portrays a little-known episode in the life of the great Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt. During the Nazi occupation of France in 1943, Romani jazz musician Django Reinhardt (Reda Kateb) got Paris on its feet at the Folies Bergère music hall. When the German propaganda department decides...

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The Theater at the Lycée Français de San Francisco Gets a Makeover

The only Francophone theater in the San Francisco Bay Area has launched several weeks of renovation in order to host dance shows, movies screenings, and more actors than ever before. The new space is set to reopen in February. This success story will soon be celebrating its tenth anniversary. A certain Frédéric Patto first arrived at the Lycée Français de...

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The Invention of Santa Claus: From Thomas Nast to Coca-Cola

Père Janvier, Father Christmas, Christkindl, Santa Claus…Whatever name you happen to give him, Father Christmas and his origins still spur controversy. Coca-Cola may have claimed ownership of the symbol and widely circulated the image of a bearded and smiling Father Christmas, yet the brand didn’t actually invent anything. Much earlier, the American cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) fashioned Father Christmas’s image...[Subscriber]

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“Happy End,” A Chilling Family Farce

After twice receiving the Palme d’or, for The White Ribbon in 2009 and Amour in 2012, Michael Haneke’s latest movie paints a cruel picture of a bourgeois family living in Northern France. The film also marks the director’s second film with on-screen duo Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant. "All around us, the world, and we in its midst, blind." This...[Subscriber]

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In Search of the Franc-Comtois People of America

Billy Fumey dreamed of being a cowboy when he was a child, but the young man has actually become an American "emissary" for his native French region of Franche-Comté. Guitar in hand, he tours Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, following in the footsteps of the first Franc-Comtois settlers. The inhabitants of Besançon in Eastern France know that their city shares...

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Johnny Hallyday, American at Heart

French singer Johnny Hallyday grew up with Elvis and Chuck Berry, and passed away on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at the age of 74. "That’s where all the music I love comes from. From the blues," said this child of rock music and American culture in 1972. "His father is American, and his mom is French," said Line Renaud when...[Subscriber]

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Ariane Mnouchkine: A Room in India

Ariane Mnouchkine and the Théâtre du Soleil are icons of popular theater in France, and will be presenting their latest production, A Room in India, in New York from December 5 to 20, 2017. Audiences can expect a comedy combining eastern influences and references to Charlie Chaplin. For 13 consecutive nights, the 75 members of the Théâtre du Soleil will...[Subscriber]

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The Battle of Versailles: A French-American Fashion Showdown

Five American designers and five French fashion hotshots went head to head for a runway show at the Château de Versailles on November 28, 1973. The event’s objective was to raise money to restore the château, and saw the United States make its grand entrance onto the international fashion scene. "By the time the curtain came down on the evening’s...

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“America”: Donald Trump’s United States as Seen by Writers

"Will the FBI take down Donald Trump?” asks the third edition of French magazine America. As well as the answer to this question, the quarterly publication’s front cover also features an in-depth interview with scandalous author James Ellroy, a road trip along the Mississippi with Philippe Besson, and the last novel by the late Jim Harrison. This 200-page "mook" —...

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Remembering the Americans Who Gave Their Lives for France

A U.S. government agency founded in 1923 with offices outside of Paris continues to preserve the memory of the 67,629 American soldiers killed during the two World Wars and buried in France. The 150 students from the elementary school in Charly-sur-Marne have just left, and the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery falls silent once again. This military cemetery covers 42 acres of...

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The Harlem Hellfighters: African-American Fighters in French Uniforms

Some 4,500 Black American soldiers, victims of segregation laws in force in the U.S. army, fought in French uniforms during World War I. Nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, these soldiers displayed exceptional valor in combat. Here is their incredible yet little-known story. "Up the wide avenue they swung. Their smiles outshone the golden sunlight […]. New York turned out to tender...[Subscriber]

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Emi Ferguson Brings the Music of Versailles to New York

Can you imagine if Lana Del Ray and Kanye West had sung at the court of the Sun King? It’s not as strange as you may think, as English flutist Emi Ferguson, professor at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, is giving 17th-century baroque music a second lease of life. Emi Ferguson spend her childhood summers in a...

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Iconic: The French Beret

This felt hat is as much a national French symbol as the baguette and the Eiffel Tower. Originally made and worn by shepherds in the French province of Bearn, it continues to cultivate its nonconformist aura, having adorned the heads of farmers, intellectuals, laborers, pastors, Hollywood stars and soldiers. The beret is now cashing in on its French chic thanks...[Subscriber]

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Alain Gomis: “The Fight for African Cinema has Begun!”

Franco-Senegalese director Alain Gomis is the man behind Félicité, and offers a touching character study of singer struggling to get by in Kinshasa. The film features a black leading actress, an unfortunately rare occurrence in modern cinema. Driven by the intense performances of its cast and a hypnotically appealing soundtrack, the movie won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International...

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“The Weinstein Scandal Has Broken the Silence in France and the U.S.”

From Clarence Thomas to Harvey Weinstein and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the stance on sexual harassment has developed alongside the different scandals and resulting judicial responses. Abigail Saguy is a professor of sociology and gender studies at the University of California (UCLA), and offers her analysis of the new place occupied by sexual harassment in public debate. France-Amerique: In the United States,...

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Comparing Gender Equality in France and the U.S.

Wellesley College, one of 52 women’s colleges in the United States, will host a French-American symposium on gender equality on October 20-21. Bringing together 78 scholars, policymakers, activists and thinkers including the civil rights leader Angela Davis and the former French Ministers Christiane Taubira and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the conference will explore the different ideas and approaches to gender equality in...

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Adrien Bosc: “The New Yorker Has No Equivalent in France”

The Avignon-born publisher and writer Adrien Bosc learned English by reading in-depth stories in the pages of Harper’s Magazine and The New Yorker, and went on to found the Editions du Sous-Sol publishing house and the Feuilleton review in Paris. He has since published the works of leading American reporters in French, and continues the very U.S. tradition of creative...