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Ninety Years On, Tintin Is Still Struggling to Conquer America

The little Belgian reporter invented by illustrator Hergé is undeniably a 20th-century hero in France and Belgium. But even with Tintin in America, which saw the journalist travel to Chicago and the Wild West, the character has always struggled to carve out a niche in the U.S.A. where Marvel reigns supreme. As General de Gaulle liked to say, “In actual...

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Gallipolis, a French Utopia on the Banks of the Ohio River

One thousand French people fled to the United States after the Revolution, aghast at being stripped of their privileges and sensing the imminent arrival of the Reign of Terror. Championing the philosophy of the Lumières and its idyllic vision of the New World, they founded the Gallipolis colony on the banks of the Ohio River — a Garden of Eden,...

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The French Comedies That Inspired Hollywood

The American remake of the hit French comedy Intouchables, out in U.S. theaters on January 11, is not a first. American filmmakers have long drawn inspiration from French comedies. And while the results are not always a success, sometimes the remakes work wonders. Here are four that won over audiences. Trois hommes un couffin (1985) / Three Men and a...

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The Upside, Remake of Hit French Comedy, in U.S. Theaters

The hit movie Intouchables was seen by 20 million people in French theaters in 2012, and a U.S. remake is set to be released in January 2019. American critics are waiting to pounce, having already denounced the racial prejudices in the original film. The question is, will this comedy drama on the theme of disability win over American audiences? Do...

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Alexander Calder: The Mobilization of Art

American artist Alexander Calder is renowned for his aerial creations and spent a large part of his life in France. A coffee-table book published by Abrams and a retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts both look at the origins of the medium that Calder christened “mobile” on the advice of his friend Marcel Duchamp. Calder grew up between...

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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...

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The Photographer: Jacques Perrin’s Road Trip Across the American West

The French director and producer behind nature documentaries Microcosmos and Winged Migration (nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary in 2003) is preparing a new film on the national parks of the great American West. Research has begun in the field and at Stanford University in California. The scouting mission was given to co-director Thierry Machado and Antoine de Cazotte,...

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Secrets d’Histoire, a Recipe for Success

Two episodes from the twelfth season of French television show Secrets d'Histoire will be shown for the first time on TV5MONDE in December. Following on from Christopher Columbus, J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and Lafayette, viewers can discover the mysterious lives of Egyptian queen Nefertiti and Jesus of Nazareth. Presented by Stéphane Bern, the series paints a picture of historical...

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Five Coffee-Table Books for the Holidays

France-Amérique has selected five coffee-table books including rare editions, glossy guides to fashion and art de vivre, and collections of cocktail recipes all published by prestigious houses. Perfect for putting under the tree this Christmas.   Eternally Ritz In 1898, the Swiss businessman César Ritz inaugurated a palace hotel boasting “the full sophistication any prince would expect to find in...

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How Skinny Saint-Nicolas Became Jolly Santa Claus

Before Santa Claus, there was Saint-Nicolas. The tall, skinny bishop the people of Lorraine honor as their patron saint on December 6th eventually became the pot-bellied fellow we know today. An American writer, a German-born cartoonist, and a famous brand of soft drinks are each partially responsible for his transformation. Remember Asterix and his band of indomitable Gauls holding out against an ever-impending...

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The Art of French Conversation for Dummies

Using tennis matches, good wine that needs time to breathe and English-style gardens, Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoît Nadeau have an impressive arsenal of metaphors when it comes to illustrating the subtleties of French conversation. This couple of journalists from Quebec lived in Paris for four years, and observed the codes that govern verbal interactions between French people during a bus...

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Van Gogh: A Portrait of the Artist as a Madman

Are Van Gogh’s talent and madness indissociable? This is the question asked by American director Julian Schnabel in At Eternity’s Gate, an Impressionist portrait of the painter behind the Sunflowers series, coming to U.S. theatres this Friday. Following in the footsteps of Kirk Douglas (1956), Tim Roth (1990), Martin Scorsese (1990), Jacques Dutronc (1991), and Benedict Cumberbatch (2010), it is...

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The Hello Girls, the Voice of the U.S. Army in France

The first women recruited by the U.S. Army were equipped with helmets and gasmasks just like their male counterparts, but they were armed with telephones. Some 223 French-speaking American women served as switchboard operators during World War I. Nicknamed the “Hello Girls,” they acted as a link between the front line and the rear guard and between French and American...

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World War I in France Seen Through the Lens of Lewis Hine

A hundred years ago, France was caught in the final year of World War I. American photographer Lewis Hine traveled across the country in 1918 for the American Red Cross, documenting their work with refugees, orphans, and wounded soldiers. Lost for decades, his poignant work has recently been made public by the Library of Congress. Lewis Hine has been acknowledged...

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1918-1926: The Never-Ending War

La Paix Impossible is the sixth instalment of the Apocalypse history documentary series on 20th-century military conflicts. Produced using nothing but restored color footage, the two 45-minute episodes depict the interwar period (1918-1926) and the rise of nationalism. A film by Isabelle Clarke and Daniel Costelle, narrated by Mathieu Kassovitz. Interview. France-Amérique: Why have you called the 1918-1926 period "la...

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Versailles’ American Splendor

The Château de Versailles is a symbol of French excellence in the arts, emblematic of absolute power and the height of the monarchy’s reign. But it actually owes part of its current grandeur and beauty to a number of Americans who financed its restoration throughout the 20th century. "What I must do is not what other people do, but what...[Subscriber]

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The Secret World of French Jewelry Comes to New York

The Paris-based L’Ecole des Arts Joailliers is back in New York. Through November 9, the school sponsored by the French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels is offering a series of practical workshops, conferences, and exhibitions on the theme of high jewelry. A mansion on the Upper East Side in Manhattan is currently the most closely guarded building in New...

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“Maria by Callas” in U.S. Theaters

In this documentary made using never-before-seen archive footage, out in the U.S. on November 2, French director Tom Volf pays homage to opera singer Maria Callas, who was born to Greek parents in New York in 1923 and passed away in Paris at the age of 53. The cantatrice who won the hearts of opera enthusiasts and the general public...

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Five Tips for Eating Healthier in the United States

How do you read the labels on American food products? And which labels should you trust? Following the recent publication of her book Bien manger aux Etats-Unis, Kansas-based pharmacist and French expat Isabelle Guglielmi offers her advice on how to improve our diets while consuming U.S. products. France-Amérique: What is the number-one rule for improving diet in the United States?...

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Van Cleef & Arpels, a Jewel in the Crown of French Expertise

The creations from French jewelry house Van Cleef & Arpels have been worn by the world’s most elegant women, including Florence Gould, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, and Blake Lively. The work of its artisan jewelers, nicknamed the "golden hands," will be displayed as part of L'Ecole, a series of workshops, lectures, and exhibitions in New York through November 9. The most fashionable...[Subscriber]