21 février 2014


Chers amis,
La première réunion du caféfrancophilo, au Cercle français de Belfast, aura lieu le 26 février 2014 au Dark Horse Coffee House, Belfast à partir de 19h.30.
Notre conférencier sera Jim Holland et notre thème: Traduire, c'est trahir?
Nous discuterons le poème, Quand vous serez bien vieille de Pierre de Ronsard et la version de William Butler Yeats.
L’entrée sera libre. 
En espérant vous voir nombreux!

10 février 2014

QFT screens Louis Malle's Ascenseur pour l'échafaud

Chers Amis,

I nearly missed this little gem.  Only when an email from QFT dropped into my mailbox this morning did I realise that next week QFT will be showing one of the classic film noir thrillers of French New Wave cinema …..

Louis Malle’s “Lift to the Scaffold” (Ascenseur pour l'échafaud)

A handsome veteran of the Indo-China and Algerian Wars (Maurice Ronet) and his lover (Jeanne Moreau) plan the murder of her arms-manufacturer husband. But on his way from the crime scene he's trapped in a lift, she anxiously walks the night streets of Paris waiting for him, and a teenage couple steal his car and gun...
Jeanne Moreau, Paris and a score by Miles Davis – could you ask for anything more?
This digitally restored version will be at QFT fromSunday 9th February until Thursday 13th February.
For full details see QFT’s website … http://www.queensfilmtheatre.com

A bientôt,  Philip

Saint-Germain-des-Prés: mercredi 12 février

Around twenty of us braved the inclement weather and settled in the warmth of the Dark Horse Coffee House as Claudine McKeown presented her personal look at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris, home to many renowned artists and writers and as we were to hear to Claudine herself in her student days

Claudine, ably assisted by husband Seamus in managing the technology, explained that her talk would be in French, supported by PowerPoint slides in English.  This approach found favour with many present.

She started by locating the area geographically in Paris, highlighting some of the key landmarks of the 6th arrondissement. Claudine then focussed on the construction of the Abbey church in some fields outside the not yet then expanded Paris. The abbey and the fields explain the name.  The church, she told us, reinforcing the point with a slide, is also the final resting place of René Descartes, philosopher, writer and mathematician.

On to history, and we were treated to pictures of and comments on various places that make up the patrimoine of the area.  Here was the church of Sainte Sulpice, here La Sorbonne where Claudine as a student met up with her future husband and here the Luxembourg. Bright, sunny images a welcome counterpoint to the weather outside!

Sitting in a café, it was especially interesting to note how the talk progressed to café culture at its best by including brief, personal accounts of four famous cafés in the area: Le Procope, Brasserie Lipp, Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots and the writers and artists who frequented them.

Place named after writers Sartre and De Beauvoir
Claudine shared a memoir of a once exasperated owner of the Cafe Flore and later friend of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. The cafe owner recounted how the couple had developed the habit of coming to the café and sitting all day over a single cup of coffee.  Warmer than their nearby flat, the café became the meeting place for discussions with their many friends and followers.

Music was next on the tour and with the help of a series of posters and short videos we learnt how the area had danced through the post-war years.  Music was our final stop and what better tribute to end on than Juliette Gréco's rendition of Claudine and Seamus's favourite song, Guy Béart's Il n'y a plus d'aprèsÀ Saint-Germain-des-Prés).

01 février 2014

Fête des rois. Gavottes and galettes in Belfast

Last month's réunion of the Cercle français was a colourful and festive occasion. The tables of the Dark Horse Coffee House had been moved to the perimeter to leave plenty of space for dancing and the walls were draped in bleu, blanc, rouge bunting. Musicians from BalFeirste played Breton music on a variety of instruments including the bombarde. The atmosphere at this early stage of the evening was full of buzz and chat.

Philip McGrory lived up to the MC in his name and soon had us organised for the evening. First up, he explained was a demonstration of a gavotte. Vanessa and Fergus took to the floor, others of the troupe joined in and our evening got into its rhythm.

Following a spell of more music and chat, we were called back to order for a couple of magic tricks. Magic, Magi and the fête des rois. In a nice touch, one of the magician's tricks involved participants who were all French. He supplied them all with menus from the restaurants of famous French chefs and somehow managed to get them all to select dishes from the various menus, the cost of which added up to an amount he had previously written on an enveloped card.

Then on to the galettes, prepared by Amélie. They were délicieuses! And substantial. Each baked with a fève inside. Warned beforehand to be careful when eating, it was soon established that 4 femmes and 2 hommes were in the running to be selected queen and king for the evening. This was decided by ballot. Vive la révolution! More music and la reine and le roi took to the floor in a celebration dance.

Vanessa then distributed copies of a song and got the whole audience to sing-a-long. That finished, it was back to the floor for a demonstration of and a joining in a chapelloise. Cameras and phones flashed all around as people captured the festive fun.

It was a great evening. Thanks to all who joined in and made it possible.