18 décembre 2015

Caféfrancophilo: Le luxe

Our second caféfrancophilo of this season was a very successful event. This time proceedings were animated by Isabelle CHABOUD who addressed us on the theme of luxury: Le Luxe, c'est quoi ?

Isabelle displays her present of a Hermes scarf
She started the evening by showing us a foulard given to her as a gift by her grandfather on her 18th birthday and treasured safely in its distinctive orange cardboard box.  This immediately identified it as a Hermès product and led us into a brief presentation on the luxury brand, exploring its early beginnings in quality leather goods associated with l'équitation - horse riding.

Isabelle's presentation prompted a series of questions on the nature of luxury and participants felt that rather than cost, luxury's characteristics had to do with exclusivité and rarité. Members had strong ideas and were very forthcoming in their views.  It was also very pleasing to see that some had brought along items that they considered suited our theme.  Bravo !

Angela, for example, had brought an item that was as unique as it was beautiful. It was her daughter's wedding bouquet that was made up of fragments of cherished, personal jewellery items from the maternal line, daughter, mother, grandmother:

Angela describes the unique significance of the bouquet

Leo, another participant, brought along several items of luxury clothing designed in County Down by his partner, Maria, a tailleur/modiste specialising in Irish linen couture at  www.mariacardenas.com 

Leo explained that L’idee de luxe, patrimoine et durabilité were important to them. He presented some beautiful items which participants were able to view at close quarters and the quality and craftwork of which still shone through their protective covers. Leo reinforcing a link with France pointed out that Maria was invitée exceptionelle at this year's Festival du Lin et de l'Aiguille 2015.
The festival takes place in July each year in Normandy. Here is a link to the upcoming 2016 festival, now in its 25th year.

Our animatrice, Isabelle, moved busily among her audience seeking views and opinions, questioning our own interpretations of luxury and what it signified for us. She facilitated a sustained exchange of views and suggestions and then brought us to a conclusion in a most interesting way, letting an online video explain a further initiative from the house of Hermès - Le petit h.

Here is a link to the video:  It's the first in a series of five short films, each of a few minutes duration.  It is an interesting watch as it shows how nothing is discarded at the famous luxury house and how even off-cuts can be reused in creative ways.

Our evening concluded with grateful thanks to Isabelle who it must be said brought her own unique brand of quality to the proceedings.

Un très grand merci !

11 décembre 2015

Walking the Camino

Louis Boyle, veteran of several trips along the world renowned pilgrimage route through France and on to Santiago in Spain, was the speaker for our December talk.  We learned early on that others too had walked various stages and there was an interesting exchange of tips and suggestions for those who might be considering following in their footsteps.

Louis began with a brief history of the pilgrimage route and then took us to St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees.  Using a series of photos he conveyed both the sense of challenge and the camaraderie experienced by the walkers.  In the photos it was clear that Louis was travelling light while others seemed to be very heavily burdened.

He explained the importance of documentation for those taking part as well as the need to be organised.  Finding someplace to stay was a priority and Louis noted that some of his French fellow-travellers booked ahead.  He on the other hand found that if he set out early enough in the morning, around 7am, he could arrive in time for lunch, find lodgings, get laundry done and settle in for the evening in time for curfew at 10pm.  He had some amusing albergue anecdotes of staying in the pilgrim only hostels.

Louis displayed items associated with his camino walk.  He drew particular attention to his camino passport, needed for food and lodging en route, his compostella - authentication that he had completed the journey to Santiago and the iconic scallop shell worn as a badge by pilgrims and named after Saint Iago/James/Jacques.

Louis told us that he's off again next year to follow a feeder route starting at the medieval town of Le-Puy-En-Velay in the Auvergne.
We'll follow his journey with interest.
Merci Louis !

08 décembre 2015

Bulletin mensuel: décembre

Chers Amis,
The next meeting of the Cercle Français de Belfast will be …
on mercredi  9 décembre 2015 à 19h.30 
in the Dark Horse Coffee House, 
30-34, Hill Street Belfast BT1 2LB

Topic: Walking the French Camino 
Speaker: Louis BOYLE 

This meeting of our cercle is the first since the attacks in Paris on 13
November and organisers have allocated time before the talk to acknowledge
those tragic events. There will be a short presentation, followed by une
minute de silence. In addition, for members wishing to express sympathy
there will be a Livre de condoléances which will be forwarded to the
French Embassy.

Our evening then returns to our scheduled programme with Louis BOYLE
sharing his experiences of Walking the French Camino. Through a mixture
of slides and anecdotes, Louis will provide suggestions for those who have
been considering setting foot on this world-renowned pilgrimage route...

Cafefrancophilo 16 decembre 2015
La prochaine réunion du caféfrancophilo aura lieu le 16 décembre 2015 au
Dark Horse Coffee House, Belfast 
à partir de 19h.30
Thème: Le Luxe, c'est quoi?
Animatrice: Isabelle Chaboud

Following the successful and very enjoyable caféfrancophilo in
October, another evening of French conversation and chat in the friendly
atmosphere of the Dark Horse Café takes place on 16th December. This time
the motion for discussion is 'Le luxe, c'est quoi?'. Our animatrice for the
evening Isabelle Chaboud will introduce the topic and invite folk to share
their ideas on what they feel constitutes luxury.

Dance Workshop and Bal Folk 12th December 2015

Bal Feirste will be holding their monthly session ...
on Saturday 12th December
from 17.30 until 20.00 in Upstairs Madden's, Berry St, Belfast.

In the workshop (17.30 – 18.00) you will have a chance to learn the Mazurka
(a popular dance of France) and An Dro (from Brittany). Then in the Bal
you can put what you have learned into practice.

La Fête des Rois
This time La Fête des Rois falls on 6th January. This is one of the most
popular events in our programme and this year, as last year, to keep within
the legal capacity of the Dark Horse Café and to ensure that everyone has a
good time, attendance will be limited to those who register in advance.
Watch out for an email with full details arriving in your Inbox soon.

Looking forward to seeing you in the Dark Horse Café in December.

À bientôt, Philip

16 novembre 2015

Paris: Condoléances

Courtesy: Àine MacParland
Members of our cercle français have been in touch to express their support and sympathy for those affected by the Paris attacks of last Friday.  Some recalled our January post, highlighting the words of a song, to affirm that Paris sera toujours Paris .

While many followed and shared updates on social media others used the platforms to convey their own reactions.  Two of those are posted here: the picture above from Àine, who provided our art talk last December, and this heart-felt piece in both French and English from our frequent contributor, Hélène.….. 

Hier soir, alors que je découvrais l’horreur des attaques à Paris et au Grand Stade, je suis tombée sur des commentaires de lecteurs disant que la France n’existait plus, qu’il fallait quitter le navire avant qu’il ne soit trop tard, des messages pessimistes et défaitistes. Au-delà de l’horreur, je découvrais une France qui avait peur. Et puis petit à petit, j’ai lu des nouvelles avec une lueur d’espoir, des récits héroïques sans héros, des histoires de personnes qui ouvraient leurs portes à ceux qui venaient d’être témoins du pire que l’espèce humaine puisse faire, des chauffeurs de taxi qui emmenaient les gens loin de la violence sans les faire payer, des personnes qui allaient au secours d’autres sans penser une seconde qu’ils risquaient leur vie, des personnes hissant de parfaits inconnus sur le toit du Bataclan… Hier soir, malgré l’horreur, au-delà de la violence et de l’horreur humaine, j’ai reconnu la France dont je suis fière, celle où nous restons unis et solidaires et plus forts que les ténèbres.

#fieredetrefrancaise #notafraid

Last night, as I was discovering the sheer horror of the attacks in Paris, I came across comments about France not being France anymore, about people fleeing away from a sinking ship, messages full of pessimism and defeatism. Beyond the horror, I discovered a country that was scared. Then gradually, as I continued reading, I saw a glimmer of hope through heroic stories with unlikely heroes, stories of Parisians opening their doors to welcome people who had just witnessed the worst thing humans can do to each other, taxi drivers ferrying people away from the violence and not charging them, people rescuing others without thinking that they could lose their own lives, people lifting complete strangers onto the roof of Le Bataclan… Last night, despite the horror, beyond the violence and the horror of humankind, I recognised the France I am proud of, the one where we are united and standing together, stronger than darkness. 

#proudtobefrench #notafraid


Nos plus sincères condoléances


Note:  A minute's silence was observed today in Belfast, reported here by BBC Northern Ireland, and a book of condolence for those killed and injured was also opened at Belfast City Hall. The French Embassy in Dublin has offered people the opportunity to e-mail messages of condolence to jesuisparisireland@gmail.com which will then be published online on this dedicated page of its site.

05 novembre 2015

Bulletin mensuel: novembre 2015

In addition to our monthly meeting, November sees a number of events with a French theme taking place in Belfast including a book launch, a Film Festival and of course Bal Feirste's regular session of French music and dance.

The next meeting of the Cercle Français de Belfast will be …

on Mercredi 11 novembre 2015 à 19h.30
in Dark Horse Coffee House,
30-34, Hill Street Belfast BT1 2LB (Directions attached)

Verdun: Devoir de mémoire Nos ADHÉRENTS

It is almost 100 years since the battle of Verdun. In this exploration of War and Memory members of the cercle share their reflections of this devastating event.

New Novel Links Belfast and France

'Snugville Street' by Angeline Kelly is a novel about a French exchange set in the Shankill.
Angeline studied French at university and when she took a career break in January to try to do some writing, her experiences of France were immediately put at the heart of her novel. 'Snugville Street' is a family drama that revolves around a French exchange. It's happy and sad, and layered with themes of identity and language as it moves from Snugville Street in the Shankill to Paimpol in Brittany. So far, the book has had great reviews. 'Snugville Street' will have its Belfast book launch in the Shankill Road Library on Thursday 19th November at 6.30pm.

A Feast of French Films at QFT.

This month QFT welcomes the 23rd French Film Festival – the only festival of Francophone Films in the UK. QFT will be screening seven films ….

Fri 6 Nov, 9.10pm
Un Homme idéal
A Perfect Man
Dir: Yann Gozlan • France • 2015 • 1 Hr 37 Mins
Subtitled • Age: 15+

Sun 8 Nov, 7.30pm
Comme un avion
The Sweet Escape
Dir: Bruno Podalydès • France • 2015 • 1 Hr 45 Mins
Subtitled • Age: 12+

Fri 13 Nov, 6.30pm
La Tête haute
Standing Tall
Dir: Emmanuelle Bercot • France • 2015 • 1 Hr 58 Mins
Subtitled • Age: 15+

Sat 14 Nov, 8.10pm
Journal d’une femme de chambre
Diary Of A Chambermaid
Dir: Benoît Jacquot • France/Belgium • 2015 • 1 Hr 36 Mins
Subtitled • Age: 18+

Thurs 19 Nov, 6.30pm
Microbe et Gasoil
Microbe & Gasoline
Dir: Michel Gondry • France • 2015 • 1 Hr 43 Mins

Sat 21 Nov, 3.40pm
Le Grand Bleu
The Big Blue
Dir: Luc Besson • France/Usa/Italy • 1988
2 Hrs 18 Mins • Subtitled

Thurs 26 Nov, 8.35pm
Mon Roi
My King
Dir: Maïwenn • France • 2015 • 2 Hrs 8 Mins • Subtitled • Age: 18+

In addition as part of their normal programme Qft is showing …

Belle De Jour
Tues 10 Nov, 8.30pm
Dir: Luis Buñuel • Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel • France/Italy • 1967
1 Hr 40 Mins • Subtitled

For full details of these and QFT's programme for November click here.

The monthly Bal organised by Bal Feirste will take place …
on Saturday 14th November 2015
Upstairs in Maddens Bar, Berry St, Belfast.
Following the new formate there will be a 30 minute dance workshop at 5.30pm (a chance to learn the steps) followed by dancing from 6-8pm.

Looking forward to seeing you in the Dark Horse Café on Wednesday 11thNovember.

À bientôt, Philip

12 octobre 2015

Caféfrancophilo Les objets qui vous tiennent à cœur 14 octobre 2015

Please note:
The caféfrancophilo on the theme of: Le Luxe, c’est quoi?
with Isabelle CHABOUD will now take place on Wednesday 16 December 2015 in The Dark Horse Coffee House at 7.30pm

07 octobre 2015

La Nouvelle Vague: Solène GUICHARD: 7 octobre 2015

This evening's presentation on La Nouvelle Vague, given by Solène GUICHARD, drew a large attendance of around 40 people with many new faces at this the first talk of the cercle's new season.

Solène prefaced her presentation with a slide of an important building in Paris inviting her audience to say where it was.  Having been there back in 2012 for a memorable exhibition of Tim Burton's work I ventured La cinemathèque française. Yes it was, but what I didn't know was that it was so influential an institution among film makers that without it there would have been no Nouvelle Vague.

As a concession to her large audience that included francophile as well as francophone participants, Solène switched effortlessly between French and English to introduce key directors and artists associated with the genre.

Next she engaged in an étude comparative between two films (Renoir, 1939 and Resnais, 1959) showing very effectively how the cinematic styles differed from one another: inside/outside; large crew/small crew; much/little equipment; famous/unknown lead actors and the differing reliance on character and text.  In a most interesting segment on the Resnais film, Hiroshima Mon Amour, she talked about le cinèma littéraire highlighting the screenplay for the film which had been written by Marguerite Duras.

Solène's talk moved to focus on what for her were les deux plus grands films de la Nouvelle Vague: François Truffaut's Les 400 Coups (1959) and Jean-Luc Godard's À Bout de Souffle (1959).  It was clear from audience comments that many listening considered these to be among their favourite films also.  Solène concluded with a quote from Jean-Luc Godard, "All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl !"  which provoked a lively exchange of questions and answers that probably could have gone on for quite some time, and certainly beyond our appointed finishing time, had our own film enthusiast, Philip, not stepped into director mode with his Lumières ! Caméra ! On tourne ! and brought proceedings to a close with rounds of audience appreciation for an excellent talk.

Solène. Un très grand merci !

02 octobre 2015

Bulletin mensuel: octobre 2015

The next meeting of the Cercle Français de Belfast will be …
on mercredi 7 octobre 2015 à 19h.30
in Dark Horse Coffee House,
30-34, Hill Street Belfast BT1 2LB

Topic: La Nouvelle Vague

Speaker: Solène GUICHARD

Solène Guichard explores the enduring cinematic legacy of the French Nouvelle Vague. Solène's talk will be in French and she has organised English subtitles to assist with important points. During her 45 minute presentation she will consider the Qui, Où et Quand aspects of La Nouvelle Vague and draw comparisons between key films. She will highlight important examples of the genre. It promises to be a blow by blow account that will leave you breathless.

À propos de ….
Note that QFT will be screening Jean-Luc Godard's “Une femme est une femme” this month. For details see 'French Films at QFT' below.

Bal in Belfast.

The monthly Bal organised by Bal Feirste will take place …
on Saturday 10th October 2015
Upstairs in Maddens Bar, Berry St, Belfast.
Following the new formate there will be a 30 minute dance workshop at 5.30pm (a chance to learn the steps) followed by dancing from 6-8pm.

Matisse in Antrim.

Showing in the Oriel Gallery at Antrim Castle Gardens, Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, is a Hayward Touring Exhibition from the Southbank Centre, London and will be on display until Sunday 18 October 2015.
Don't miss the chance to see these wonderful lithographic reproductions of Matisse's work, so full of colour an energy that is hard to believe they were produced by an elderly man in the last years of his life, confined to bed. Click on the link below for further details.

An invitation from the Alliance Française, Dublin
Café Historique: The Martello Tower
on Thursday 8 October – 6.30pm
The Alliance Française Dublin,1 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
A failed assassination attempt links Killiney Bay and Napoleon. This talk will outline the defences of the bay against a French invasion (1793-1815) and the subsequent history and recent restoration of one of the Martello Towers (including display of a scale model).
Talk in English Q&A in French/English
Admission is free but you are asked to RSVP by clicking on this link RSVP

French Films at QFT.

By sheer good luck this month QFT will screen one of the most celebrated Nouvelle Vague films ...
Une femme est une femme

Fri 9 Oct, From 2pm
Godard: Then And Now

To mark the passing of Sam Rohdie earlier this year, the School of Creative Arts at Queen’s University Belfast and QFT have organised a screening and seminar dedicated to the work of Jean-Luc Godard.
In 1999, Sam was appointed as the inaugural Professor of Film Studies, and throughout his tenure at Queen’s the subject first developed its current undergraduate and postgraduate pathways, and initiated a number of important external collaborations.
A compelling, controversial teacher and critic, Sam’s work increasingly concentrated on the cinema of Godard during and after his time at Queen’s. This event is an acknowledgement of Sam’s passionate engagement with arguably the most important figure in postwar European cinema.
The event will include a screening of Une femme est une femme (A Woman is a Woman, 1961), introduced by Professor Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (Queen Mary), and an illustrated talk on Godard’s more recent work – especially, his Histoire(s) du cinéma - given by Professor Rod Stoneman (NUI, Galway).
Tickets £3 (FREE admission for students). For more information contact Des O’Rawe, d.orawe@qub.ac.uk.

Fri 2 – Mon 5 Oct

Fidelio, l’odyssée d’Alice
Fidelio, Alice’s Journey

Dir: Lucie Borleteau • France 2015 • 1 Hr 37 Mins • Subtitled
The life-and-loves of a free spirit at sea.
The ‘journeys’ that Alice (a wonderful Ariane Labed – who also appears in The Lobster) sets off on are physical, sexual and emotional. She has become a sailor – working as a mechanic on freighters – not necessarily to see the world but rather to find herself. When she boards the rickety Fidelio as a last minute replacement for a crew member killed in an accident, she finds the captain is her former lover Gael (Melville Poupaud).

Mon 12 Oct, 6.30pm


Dir: Philippe Faucon • France 2015 • 1 Hr 29 Mins • Subtitled
Mother/daughter relationships are at the centre of this story of North African-born cleaner, Fatima, and her family living in France. Conflict and alienation inside modern French society is exposed through this sharp, insightful and warm slice of life.

And included in CINEMAGIC …....

Sat 24 Oct, 2.00pm

De toutes nos forces
The Finishers

Dir: Nils Tavernier • France/Belgium • 2013 1 Hr 26 Mins • Subtitled • Age: 12+
Wheelchair-bound teenager Julien is the apple of his mother’s eye, but he yearns for the approval of his brooding and bitter father, Paul. With his youth as an Ironman champion behind him, Paul distances himself from his disabled son. When Julien suggests the seemingly crazy idea that they join forces to compete in a triathlon in Nice, an incredible journey of persistence and determination begins. Inspired by a true story, this is an emotionally involving film that will melt the hardest heart.

Sat 24 Oct, 6.30pm

Le dernier coup de marteau
The Last Hammer Blow

Dir: Alix Delaporte • France • 2014 1 Hr 22 Mins • Subtitled • Age: 15+
In this profoundly moving drama, a talented young boy’s ailing mother sends him from their trailer park home to live with her parents. But instead, he decides to seek out his long-absent father, a famous conductor who is visiting a nearby town to present a Mahler symphony. Initially hostile, his father’s feelings slowly shift from an awkward tenderness to possibly love. Winner of the Laterna Magica Prize and the Marcello Mastroianni Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Sun 25 Oct, 2.00pm

Birds Of Passage

Dir: Olivier Ringer • France/Belgium • 2015 1 Hr 14 Mins • Subtitled • Age: 10+
When Cathy’s newly hatched duckling mistakes best friend Margaux as its mother, it’s up to Margaux to live up to the role. But this scenario is at odds with Margaux’s parents who are determined to send the hatchling to the local duck farm. The third film by brothers Yves and Olivier Ringer is about the desire to be normal, and the need to be independent while celebrating family, friendship and responsibility. Winner of Best Film at the Montreal Children’s Film Festival.

Looking forward to seeing you in the Dark Horse Café on Wednesday 7th October.

À bientôt, Philip