The past few years have seen a rapid rise in the political and cultural reappropriation of public and private space. From Madrid to Istanbul, and Athens to New York, the Paris Commune is back in the social imaginary and influences a new generation of writers, activists and artists. Despite its short life, the great 72-day worker-led insurrection thoroughly transformed Parisian society and its effects rippled across the globe, acting as a personal and intellectual turning point for some of the 19th centuries leading thinkers.
Professor of Comparative Literature Kristin Ross will be joined in conversation by journalist and broadcaster Paul Mason to discuss her new book, Communal Luxury, which aims to excavate the political thought of the Paris Commune in light of contemporary concerns for the environment, internationalism, the future of labour and the status of art.
Free but booking essential: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do Manet, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro and Degas have in common? Most of their canvases passed through the hands of art merchant Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922) before being displayed on museum walls. Durand-Ruel closely associated his gallery with an artistic movement and more or less invented the modern art market in order to “impose,” in his words, his own painters: the Impressionists. In a way, it was his personal taste, the taste of a merchant with flair, that gave rise to the famous Impressionist collections. His descendants, art historians and gallery owners look back at his fabulous adventure.
As part of Impressionism & the Art Market two-day conference organised in collaboration with the National Gallery
Madame Sabine De Barrais is an unlikely candidate for the landscape architect of the still-to-be-completed Palace of Versailles, the famous Le Nôtre. She has little time for the classical, ordered designs of the man who hires her. However, as she works on her creation, she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic architect.
Failing to find courage to commit suicide after her husband and infant daughter die in a car crash, Julie decides to build a new, anonymous and wholly independent life. Binoche gives one of her best performances in this lucid examination of a woman’s state of mind. Unanimously praised from critics and audiences the world over, the film gets the Golden Lion at the 1993 Venice Film Festival and the César of the Best Actress.
1832, in Provence. Angelo, a brave hussar, on the run after the fall of Napoleon, and Pauline, the lady who gives him shelter, have to face the merciless cholera epidemic which brings out both the worst and the best in human nature: fear, panic, betrayal, anger as well as dedication, courage and self-sacrifice. Cesar for Best Cinematography and Best Sound, The Horseman on the Roof became a cult French movie in the early 90’s.
Written and directed by Michael Haneke, Code Unknown is a complex film of powerful emotional force. The lives of a struggling film actress, a Kosovo War photographer, his wayward brother, a Romanian beggar and an African emigrant come crashing together after a fateful event on a Parisian street corner. We are taken more closely into the lives of each of the participants in a manner that challenges our perceptions and questions the real and imagined borders between people.
The paths of three siblings in their 40’s collide when their mother, heiress to a 19 th century art collection, dies suddenly. Left to come to terms with one another, Adrienne, a successful New York designer, Frédéric, an economist in Paris, and Jérémie, a business man in China, confront their shared memories and their vision of the future. An absorbing, beautifully photographed and moving film from Olivier Assayas, featuring exceptional performances from the three leads.
This is the story of a meeting between a man and a woman, in a small Italian village in Southern Tuscany. The man is a British author who was in town to talk about his new book. The woman, is a French gallery owner. Together they discover that nothing is quite what it seems. Starring Juliette Binoche, who garnered the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance, Abbas Kiarostami’s film is an elegant drama blurring the lines between reality and imagination.
The Attack is adapted from Yasmina Khadra’s worldwide bestseller. Amin Jaafari is an Israeli Palestinian surgeon, fully assimilated into Tel Aviv society. But his perfect life is turned upside down when a suicide bombing, involving his own wife, occurs in a restaurant and leaves nineteen dead.
Followed by a Q&A with writer Yasmina Khadra (tbc)
Newly restored and often cited as one of the greatest movies ever made, Fellini’s autobiographical extravaganza blends drama, fantasy, social satire and self-critique. Struggling with the big-budget follow-up to his recent hit, Guido Anselmi retreats into a realm of reminiscence, anxiety and fantasy that reflects his feelings about the film folk constantly pestering him and the various women in his life: his wife, his mistress and an idealised actress.
On a sandy desert, a man made of sand shapes other sand creatures. Together, they build a sand castle to protect themselves from the wind. But a storm comes crushing their plans. Follow this sweet fable of great humour and appeal.
When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it’s up to Shaun and the flock to get everyone safely back to their green grassed home.
Uncover the adventures of Capelito, a mushroom who beholds magical powers and manages to get out of the most daffy situations by simply touching his nose: as soon as he presses it, his cap shifts shape.
Ahead of the 6th edition of the Festival du Film Merveilleux et Imaginaire in Paris next July, discover marvellous worlds, the realm of fancy and other fairy tales in a unique selection of short films. And after the show, the children will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite short film!
Looking for his father, a little boy leaves his hometown only to discover an extraordinary world inhabited by mecanic- animals and odd creatures. Embark on this lyrical and dreamy voyage illustrating modern world through the eyes of a child.
18-year-old Jason Dorkel belongs to a community of travelers. He is preparing for his baptism when Fred, his half- brother, returns after several years in prison. Along with their impulsive and violent brother, Mickaël, the three siblings go on a trip into the ‘gadjos’ universe looking for copper.
The screening on 25 April will be followed by a Q&A with director Jean-Charles Hué (tbc)
Join the fun for La Médiathèque open day. Families can drop in at any time and discover the next two steps of the library’s project. The team will be available to answer all of your questions and present the project in its very details. It will also be your chance to find out what some of our youngest readers have in mind for the future Children’s Library and the designs they come up with during dedicated workshops run by People’s Workshop.
As you’re getting all the info you’ll need on La Médiathèque your children can take part in a free pop-up Improv workshop. And you can subscribe to any membership on this day and enjoy 6 extra free months!
From noon | free but booking compulsory: email@example.com
Improv Workshops: ages 6-10: 3.30pm | ages 10-14: 2.00pm
Participants can enjoy an interactive tour of our beautiful listed Art Déco premises, before designing the library of their dreams inspired by their discoveries.
Our workshops encourage children to explore, imagine and craft a space using every recyclable material under the sun and introducing children to the importance of volumes and design in a public space.
Every child’s work will be exhibited during our open day on 30 May
2.00pm – 4.00pm | £8 per session | early reservation recommended | ages: 5+
Organised by the lycée français Charles de Gaulle for its 100 th anniversary celebrations, this event gathers British and French academics to approach the history of the spread of French in British contexts, from 19th century until now. All talks will be followed by a Q&A.
9.00am – 3.00pm | in French and English
Free but booking essential: www.lyceefrancais.org.uk/contact-colloque
Lunch at the Institute: £15 upon registration
Michel is a sadistic headmaster who treats his wife and mistress with equal malfeasence. United by their growing hate in the man, the two women join forces to wreak murderous revenge upon him. A classical psychological thriller, often imitated, but never surpassed.
Preceded by an introduction and followed by a Ciné Salon with Nick Walker
As part of French Leading Ladies. This week: Simone Signoret in Les Diaboliques
Beautifully shot in black and white, Truffaut’s final feature is his take on the classic Hitchcockian thriller. A businessman is wanted by the police for the double murder of his wife and her lover. Refusing to believe in his guilt, his secretary sets out to investigate the case herself.
As part of French Leading Ladies. This week: Fanny Ardant in Vivement Dimanche
Talk & Concert
Myriam Chimènes is an expert of French music social history between 1870 and 1970. She will talk about sponsorship and contemporary music in Paris from Belle Epoque to the 50’s. Then, Paul Roberts, a leading exponent of French piano music, will conduct a concert-talk. Performing Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel and extracts from Preludes and Etudes by Debussy, he will share his knowledge on these great works revealing the many textures, colours and moods to be enjoyed from such amazing pieces.
Wed 27 May | talk: 5.30pm | concert: 7.30pm
in French & English | £12, members £10, students £5
Organised in collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Institute of Musical Research, this conference will explore the Parisian musical and artistic milieu in the 1900-1950. It aims to investigate the music of the period as well as its interactions with the visual arts, literature and dance while considering the socio-political history that drew to Paris leading creative artists of the age from across Europe and North America. Myriam Chimènes (Director of Research, CNRS) will be the keynote speaker.
Thu 28 & Fri 29 May | in English | £40 for the two days | limited number of places available
Paris, a few years before the 21st century. The city is threatened by a fatal disease called STBO, that seems to be transmitted by simple caresses. A young man, Alex, is charged to steal the formula of a serum that can fight the disease. One of the most remarkable French films of the early 80’s, this lyrical and poetic thriller pays imaginative homage to silent cinema.
Nina is from the provinces but goes to Paris to become a stage actress. She moves in with Paulot and Quentin. A love triangle ensues as Paulot discreetly falls in love with Nina, while she is attracted to Quentin, a suicidal man of extremes. A tragic event will play havoc with their lives. A beautiful film, in which the emotions act as driving force.
At the peak of her career, Maria Enders is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But back then she played the role of an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, finding herself on the other side of the mirror: face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself.
May she embody Chekhov’s Seagull or Sophokles’ Antigone on stage, the remarkable lover in Carax’s Lovers on the Bridge or Dumont’s Camille Claudel 1915 on screen, or dance with Akram Khan, Juliette Binoche is always in for a risk, and does it with the greatest talent.
Téchiné’s Rendez-vous revealed her to the world. Her career has been punctuated with key roles with the best directors, such as Carax for whom she plays in The Night Is Young and The Lovers on the Bridge, Kieslowski (Three Colours: Blue), Minghella (The English Patient, for which she got an Oscar), Haneke (Code Unknown, Hidden), Kiarostami (Certified Copy, for which she was awarded with the Best Actress prize in Cannes 2010) and, most recently, Olivier Assayas, who offers her, after Summer Hours, a sublime role in Clouds of Sils Maria.
On 6 May 1945, US soldiers occupied the Himmler home in Gmund, Germany, where they discovered hundreds of private letters, documents, diaries and photographs of the architect of the Final Solution: Heinrich Himmler. The film makes use of these materials to sketch the biography and expose the inner mind, plans and secrets of the infamous SS commander.
Shortly after her marriage, an 18-year old girl finds that she is attracted to other men, particulary to her brother-in- law. This was the film in which the new sex symbol reared her pretty, pouting, kittenish head and put Saint-Tropez on the map. And God Created Woman and Vadim created BB.
Preceded by an introduction and followed by a Ciné Salon with Nick Walker
As part of French Leading Ladies. This week: Brigitte Bardot in Et Dieu… créa la femme
Winner of 7 César awards, Timbuktu confirms Sissako’s status as one of the true humanists of contemporary cinema. Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his family and their twelve-year-old shepherd. Back in the city, the people suffer from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned.
Continues in June
Séverine is the elegant and privileged wife of a noted doctor. Frigid in all aspects, she is each afternoon the star attraction in a discreet brothel, behind her husband’s back… But how many of her activities are reveries and how many actually take place… even Buñuel cannot answer. By the end, the real and imaginary meld… An exquisite tale of self-discovery and tragic passion.
Preceded by an introduction and followed by a Ciné Salon with Nick Walker
As part of French Leading Ladies. This week: Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour
Four young Parisian women make up for the ennui of their working life in an electrical goods shop by regularly hitting the town in search of glamour and romance.
Preceded by Les Mistons (1957, 23 mins), François Truffaut’s lyrical and nostalgic debut starring Bernadette Lafont.
As part of French Leading Ladies. This week: Bernadette Lafont in Les Bonnes Femmes
This two-day conference echoes the acclaimed exhibition Inventing Impressionism now on at the National Gallery, about Paul Durand-Ruel, the forward-thinking Parisian art dealer who discovered and supported the Impressionists. Sessions led by the exhibition curators and international experts will address aspects of the dealer’s practice.
Day 1 at the Institut français will also feature an exclusive screening of Sandra Paugam’s documentary, Paul Durand-Ruel, le marchand des Impressionnistes (2014).
Day 2 will be held at the National Gallery.
24 Apr: free talks: 10.00am & 2.00pm | doc: 6.00pm, £5
25 Apr: see National Gallery website
Winner of the Un Certain Regard Award in Cannes, White God is a stunning allegory of the oppressed savagely fighting back their privileged abusers. When a new law penalising non-pedigree dogs is passed, legions of abandoned mongrels stage an apocalyptic uprising against their tormentors.
£8, conc. £6
Future Shorts and Ciné Lumière join to show the seven most captivating short films selected this Spring. From journeys through childhood to psychedelic dystopian universes, discovery of one’s sexuality to the end of times, 7 shorts for 7 wonders, or is it the sins? Whatever, these brilliant shorts tell us about life.
Experience the wonder of seeing Van Gogh’s masterpieces on the big screen while world-renowned curators and art historians give their interpretations and explanations of his work. This film offers complete and unprecedented access to the treasures of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.
See also Impressionism & the Art Market: Paul-Durand Ruel