There are things the French do that can get on British nerves, but la Fondation de l'Abbé Pierre is never one of these. L'Abbé Pierre was not only a résistant, but also helped set up one of the most important and active charities in France.
In the context of this charity, a series of web-documentaries were made on the topic of different sorts of what France calls "mal-logements" (dodgy, or bad, housing). In 2010, 3.6 million French people were living in substandard conditions.
This series approaches the issue from a number of angles ranging from evictions, unhealthy or unsafe conditions to issues relating to social housing.
Director Samuel Bollendorf, uses an innovative narrative technique in order to get the message across, combining photos, videos and 360° interactive viewing of the houses with a faceless, factual voice-over from the residents, thereby managing to avoid personal or emotional voyeurism.
The documentaries are in French, with French subtitles.
As a continuation of this Short Film festival, here are a few links to some good French short films online that have links to the short films currently on Culturethèque.
The International Partnerships in Business Schools, on how international partnerships in business schools help improve graduate profiles for the future job market, has been uploaded onto Culturethèque's Vimeo account so that it can be watched from abroad.
If you're in the UK, you can watch the conference on Culturethèque.
I can't get over how generous people are on Vimeo. The quality of content is often professional, but vimeo also has a strong sense of community, keeping it friendly and lo-fi. Comments are never offensive (unlike youtube!) and there is a great deal of respect among users for each others' work.
This is a link for a group on vimeo called Courts Métrages Français.
Below are three videos I picked out this morning.
Ina.fr's Dailymotion channel is, as Charlie Sheen has been saying, "winning." Anissa enthusiastically told me about it this morning, because they just made a chunky new playlist to welcome Le Salon du Livre (the one in Paris).
This is what she told me:
"The "Institut national de l'audiovisuel" offers, during the whole session of the Salon du Livre and until the end of the month of March, free and integral viewing of the programmes led by Bernard Pivot between 1975 and 1990, i.e. 724 programmes.
Internet users can view free of charge interviews of French and international thinkers such as Sojenitsyne, Nabokov, Yourcenar, Levi-Strauss, Bernard-Henri Lévy etc."
Yes, you can go and watch Milan Kundera and a man obsessed with spelling (Bernard Pivot) talk about Kafka and Orwell. I know you had a dream about it back when you were sixteen. Or was that just me? Oh.
Today was a big day for me. I had no idea what to write on the blog. Imagine! Blog block! It's awful. The big blank box. The lack of a doodle. I don't want to talk about it.
I asked around, and Camille said, "what about Spiral?"
"What is Spiral?" you may wonder - as I did.
So I've got two links for you:
ONE - the iPlayer page for Spiral, so you can watch it in the UK, in French, with English subtitles, for free and online (iPlayer is almost as good as Culturethèque).
TWO - a really positive review of it.They say it's "a French cop show almost as good as The Wire." Rien que ça!
I have watched, rewatched and analysed this film. Please take my word for it: it's a good'un. Among the best in fact.
Zéro de Conduite is about revolution. It inspired another one of my favourite films, If....
It is online for free, legally I think. You absolutely have to watch it before you die.
So here we have:
ONE a link to the internet archive page that allows you to download the film
TWO a link to the Google video if you prefer to stream it (less good quality).
THREE a link to the wikipedia page.
If you click on the title of this blog post, you can watch the Google video version below.
I have friends who make fun of me. One of them is a dinosaur-enthusiast who reads this blog. He wrote me a little message on my facebook wall making fun of a blog post. Here is our facebook wall conversation:
The dinosaur-enthusiast: "I've discovered a great resource for watching out-of-copyright movies, oh wait, it's Youtube."
Read on for links to films (click on the title of this blogpost).
Before I go into the whole story, I'll get to the point. There used to be a squat called La Suite in south Paris, and it closed down in October 2010. Every Thursday, they'd have a sort of open mic night where people would pay 1 euros and defy all health and safety laws by quasi-vacuum-packing themselves into a fairy-lit basement.
I found a blog post announcing that Arte +7 were putting up documentaries for free on Youtube, so I typed "arte +7" into Youtube and found loads of entire Arte produced documentaries in over seven parts.
In French: Michel Foucault (to get to part 2, just type Michel Foucault - French Documentary - arte-france (2/7) into the Youtube search, and the same up to 7), Lully (similarly, Lully-Arte-Documentaire 2/10 up to 10) and an old school documentary on Aerosmith.
In English: The History of the Talmud.
MSF is a French NGO that provides medical and health infrastructure to war zones. I've been told a number of times that it is among the most efficient NGOs. They have lots of documentary pieces in English and in French on their two Youtube channels. This is their wikipedia page, and this is their Nobel Peace Prize page.
This New Zealand comedy duo are not French.
I showed this video, "Foux de Fafa," to my work mates and they found the stereotype accurate.
It is quite an old video, and I was surprised that my colleagues had not seen it yet, so I took it upon myself to show it to them.
In case you have not seen Foux de Fafa, click on the title of the blogpost to see the video.
...Well, not quite. It’s a pretty cool video though.
Conceived by BDDP Unlimited and Clément Beauvais, French director, illustrator, musician and photographer extraordinaire, the video is part of a campaign by Solidarités International to raise awareness about unhygienic water.
The video’s simple but moving ink-play reveals the ‘silent, invisible danger’ that dirty water poses us. It’s also good for your listening, too.
Give it a watch here then visit and sign the petition. World Water Day might have been four months ago (who knew?), but it’s never too late to help out, so, you know, do it.
I recently received this message in my inbox about this iPlayer documentary. A small yet significant portion of my days is spent on iPlayer, so I felt it was my duty to relay the information.
"Further to your recent blog post (no need to credit me by the way, I'm happy being your anonymous friend in the know), just watched this excellent Waldemar Januzsack programme on the impressionists."
(Click on the title of the blogpost to read on).
What is Kerguelen? Well, put it in your google map, and you'll see that it is in sub-Antarctica. It is part of the TAAF, the Terres Australes Antartiques Françaises. My mum was lucky enough to be on the ArchaeObs expediition (this link is trilingual). So I was watching the excellent Ker 12 documentary on Culturethèque (don't forget to log on to watch the full thing) and wanted to know even more. That's how I came across the CERIMES website. Some of their documentaries are fee-paying, and some are free. They've put stuff up on a dailymotion channel, too.
"René Laloux (1929 – 2004) was a French animator and film director," writes Wikipedia. His career involved working in advertising, working in psychiatric institutions, and working on films. You can find his three feature length animations on Youtube (click on the title of this blogpost). But who is the enigmatic Topor, mentioned in the title of this post?
Below is a picture of a Planète Sauvage film night at my house.
Back in the CD era, I would enjoy buying albums and compilations for anything under a euro (the CD era was not that long ago). Usually, it was music I'd never heard of. Usually, the music was awful. Occasionally, however, I'd get really into something. It was a solitary technique of discovering music. The end result was that I'd know all the words to music no one had ever heard of.
One such album was Agnès Bihl's, "Merci Maman, Merci Papa," which a part from having the obvious advantage of blaming all of one's shortfalls on one's parents, also had some incredible puns. Read on for links and examples of puns by clicking on the title of this blogpost.
Take a walk around the square des Deux-Nèthes in Paris’s eighteenth arrondissement and you might come across a mural depicting Henri Marie Joseph Grouès, who goes by the slightly catchier alias of Abbé Pierre. Take a look (things start getting really impressive around the 1.52 mark).
Abbé Pierre probably sounds like someone from ‘Allo 'Allo, but he was actually very real. This is sort of what he looked like:
I like cinema. Especially when it’s good. But I don’t like to read Télérama. It bores me. No, what I like best is for you to take my hand and tell me about movies that I haven’t seen, or remind me of those I loved. Add a bit of music and you have my full attention.
Should the need to look cultured or worldly arise, anyone – francophile, cinephile, nailphile, whoever – can throw in a reference to Godard, Truffaut or even Klapisch with enough confidence to suggest they know what they're talking about. Get to talking about Pinoteau or Sattouf, though, and you might be met with a few blank looks.
I had a hard time finding any Giono texts on the internet. I did, however, find the whole lit flick, The Horseman On the Roof, an adaptation of Giono's Le Hussard sur le Toit, in French and subtitled on Youtube.
Imdb gives it 5.5. Click on the title of this blogpost to find the embedded videos.
I watched a lot of bad TV when I was at school. I'd watch sitcoms about pre-teens, and my dad would catch me and say, oh that looks really challenging. But then at 19h30 he would reclaim the television set to watch Les Guignols de l'Info, France's version of Spitting Image. There are a lot of bad things on French TV, but the brief window when all of France has access to the paying Canal + channel supplies among the best shows.
Two favourites: Les Guignols de l'Info, and Zapping, a medley of TV clips cut in a way to highlight television's idiocy. The only downside of watching these shows on the Canal+ website is you have to sit through an advert before every show.
La Nuit Americaine [Francois Truffaut, 1973]
Not only did this film-within-a-film almost certainly influence Irma Vep (see Intermission), but it could well be Truffaut’s most ingenious work…
La Nuit Americaine refers to the cinematographic trick of simultaneously under-exposing and avoiding sky so that nighttime scenes can be shot during the day. Hence the film’s US and UK distribution title, Day for Night.
Here we have a film review reposted from Paul Scott's blog.
Isn't it better if you think about your mother, not on mother's day, but say, on an arbitrary day, say, today, and post her a little letter, wouldn't she appreciate it more than if you sent her a letter on mother's day?
I'm trying to draw a parallel with Truffaut's birthday. Sure, Google remembered. Sure, none of the Culturethèque bloggers did. So I'm reporting on a little complaint we received.
But, you see, it's always Truffaut day on Culturethèque.
Source documents, overleaf.
The National Film Board of Canada is Canada's twelve-time Academy Award-winning public film producer and distributor.
It seems to have had a period in the 60's-80's when it created beautiful short animations. It has an English language and a French language arm, so I'll focus on the French language ones, this being Culturethèque, but I recommend you get sucked into a youtube hole of watching animation after animation.
They have a website, where theoretically, you should be able to watch films for free, but they take a long time to load, so I recommend you go straight to Youtube.
Videos below. This is the ONF's suitably retro logo:
Following on from my last post about free animation online, another youtube channel you might want to have a look at is the one for the prestigious "école de l'image" in Paris called Les Gobelins. They also have a pretty retro looking logo, but not quite as retro.
I put a video below, but once again, recommend diving down the youtube hole.
I still prefer the Canadian National Film Board, so if you haven't already looked at it, start with my other post.
My flatmates told me about this hilarious video by the Franco-American rock group produced in France called Hold Your Horses. The song's title is 70 Million.
A little game: how many paintings can you identify? Just the name of the artists will do, but you get brownie points if you know the title of the paintings, too.
Watch the music video on this blogpost, then leave your guesses in the comment box below.
London does not have: the Musée du Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée Picasso, the Centre Pompidou, the Musée Rodin, the Musée Carnavalet or the Musée de Cluny.
What do I do for Carolingian artefacts when I'm stuck in England? How do I get my fill of Boltanski when all I've got is the Gilbert & George championning from the Tate? There's no replacement for a casual stroll (especially in the gardens of the Musée Rodin in summer) but there is the internet.
Here is a selection of online virtual tours of museums in Paris.
There is, perhaps, a contradiction here: I like hearing that crinkly noise over the top of recordings, and I like my music to be digitalised. Some say that it's "new age fun" with a "vintage feel." So be it, I'm a hipster. And I should tell you about those French bands that add the vinyl crinkle-crinkle sound to what could be a crisp little studiorecording, about musician-engineers who like their sound to be special and old, like a boot-legged Brel track, or like rust paint on stainless steel.
But in this post, I want to explore vinyl versions of classical music online.
I've been building up the music section on Culturethèque with the help of some brilliant videos from the French Archives. I wanted to mention three things to do with Françoise Hardy, but couldn't fit them gracefully on to the page.
NUMBER ONE: The series of videos with Françoise Hardy in London, all on Youtube.
NUMBER TWO: Tous les Garçons et Les Filles - a lovely yéyé song. I should also balance that out with Sylvie Vartan's Pour Aller Danser, and France Gall's Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son (written by Gainsbourg, no less).
NUMBER THREE: This shockingly awesome picture of Hardy:
I was researching links for the Institut français reading group this evening, which is on Bel-Ami (tonight at seven in South Kensington).
And I came across an entire film on youtube. In reference to my previous blog, I will pass on the information.
The Private Affairs of Bel-Ami (1947), 112m, USA.
It's got the lady from Bedknobs and Broomsticks in it.
Here's the link to watch it on youtube.
6.8/10 on imdb.
I've embedded the 8 parts below (click on the title of the blog post to see them).
There are a number of clues that indicate that fashionable Parisians like Japan. It is more debateable whether or not hipsters exist in Paris (according to various sources, hipsters do not exist in Paris, at least not in the typical "we all play synth" way).
The first indication came from my sister, who told me a friend of hers was on this website called Konbini. I was showing my friends this, and a Japanese-speaking friend told me Konbini meant "convenience store." Click on the title on this blogpost to see the video embedded.
A moment ago (and this is the second indication), I received an email from a friend suggesting I blog about a song, "the band are manged by Kitsune which is a French record label/ fashion house. Although I don't know if Culturetheque readers would be into it. I think the animation is excellent."
The video is the second one embedded below.
It turns out that dying about five hundred years ago does not exclude being all over the internet. We could say, "Yo, François, you're on Librivox, Dailymotion and Youtube," and he'd probably say, "what? that's awesome, I love user-generated content."
Below are links to a film, some podcast, an audiobook, a conference, all of which you can get online for free.
There has been a number of films dealing with the death penalty. Le pull-over rouge, based on the book of the same name, tells the story of Christian Ranucci, among the very last people to be executed in France, in July 1976. The book helped to promote the abolition of the death penalty and to shift public opinion in its favour. The author of the book, Gilles Perrault, said at the time “I defy anyone to be convinced of Ranucci's guilt after reading my book”. The death penalty was finally abolished in October 1981, thirty years ago.
Four blogs that talk about French films (among others):
Left-field cinema: "not film criticism, it's film recommendation and analysis"
Cellophane tears: from a film fan who is "trying to watch at least two films a week "
World Cinema: pretty thorough in the number of films it touches on, but not a lot of depth.
Criterion: does a lot of analysis. It's not so much a blog, as a shop, but this essay by good ol' Slavoj is entertaining.
Did you apply to Yale, get in, but then realise the course fees were $40 000/ year above your budget? Even if you didn't, you may be interested to hear about Academic Earth., a kind of online lecture hall, where you can attend any lecture series at any time.
Here's a link to a Yale course on the History of France since 1871.
Their wikipedia page.
The Parisian underground has sewers, dead people, a metro, and, being Parisian, artists. I read about this when I was at school in the early 2000s in Paris. A friend sent me an article from Wired magazine on the topic, though I should add that this is by no means "new."
I know, I know, comparing an era with an individual, it’s against the convention right? Well, that is this week’s theme: the un-conventional. From the forward-thinking Chaplin to the Nouvelle Vague “au naturel” we explore the rejection of tradition which ironically created the trend. Grab your dickie bow ties and moody face at the ready..3..2..1..surf’s up!
On the one hand, we have a surrealist lady-goth who wears silver cowboy boots. On the other hand, we have a jazz pianist who plays forty faces per minute. On the other other hand, we enter the world of the weird and wonderful where a third hand is essential…
Noel Fielding and Louis de Funès use anything but salt and pepper to season the comedy world. As we explore the mechanics of their minds, we find a plethora of unexpected juxtapositions which confuse reality with dreams. Come with me now on a journey through time and space…to the planet of hibernatus