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ICI FINIT LA CVLTVRE ALLEMANDE

On this day one hundred years ago, Imperial German soldiers who had peacefully arrived in the Belgian city of Leuven (Fr: Louvain), having taken hostages and accepted the parole of its mayor on behalf of its citizens, without warning set fire to the city and massacred its inhabitants forever altering the city, its university's library, and the course of the war.
  • Belgian Judicial Report on the Sacking of Louvain in August 1914
  • The destruction and rebuilding of the Louvain Library: claim and counterclaim
  • [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Aug 25, 2014 - 13 comments

    Heavy Metal Be Bop Part 1

    In the imagination of a young Parisian named Pablo Padovani there’s a land called Moo. It’s a fantastical place that celebrates nature, the elements, romanticism and sweets [NSFW]. “I think you may like it if you like childhood, sex, dreams and surrealism,” Padovani [says]. “It’s a pornographic episode of Teletubbies mixed with Lord of the Rings.[...]The disc (Le Monde Möö by MOODOÏD) is a walk in the world Möö. This is a soft world made of cream hills and Turkish delight mountains. There are also Camembert mattresses and waterfalls of wine. This is a great, epic adventure."
    posted by Potomac Avenue on Aug 22, 2014 - 11 comments

    L'École des Facteurs

    The School for Postmen is a 16 minute short film from 1947 by French director and physical comedian Jacques Tati. It's being shown on The Guardian's website and is introduced by their film critic Peter Bradshaw. The film is about a postman in rural southern France trying to finish his round on time.
    posted by Kattullus on Aug 6, 2014 - 8 comments

    The three Chicken Wars, and their (less than) lasting impacts

    In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men. The third Chicken War was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States. [more inside]
    posted by filthy light thief on Aug 4, 2014 - 15 comments

    The other movie Jerry Lewis don't want you to see

    Featuring Jerry Lewis, Gladiator's Connie Nielsen and a score by The Avengers' Alan Silvestri, Par où t'es rentré on t'as pas vu sortir (How did you get in? We didn't see you leave) - available with subtitles on YouTube in its blurry VHS glory (poster 1 2) - is one of the two movies starred by Lewis during his one-year (1984) French career (the other is Retenez-moi ou je fais un malheur also known as the The defective detective). In the early 1980s, after several failures, a bypass surgery and nothwithstanding Scorsese's King of Comedy, Lewis tried to revive his career in the country where he was supposedly beloved: France. Alas, he chose the two worst French directors of the time, Michel Gérard and Philippe Clair, the latter known for cinematic jewels such as the Nazi-themed comedy Le Führer en folie (The crazy Führer), a Warner production that can actually make clowns cry. (all links below potentially and blurrily NSFW) [more inside]
    posted by elgilito on Aug 2, 2014 - 11 comments

    Veto bunnies

    Who uses their veto in the UN Security Council the most, and what for?
    posted by tavegyl on Jul 31, 2014 - 16 comments

    The most important battle you've probably never heard of

    The Battle of Bouvines was fought 800 years ago on July 27, 1214 and its outcome directly led to the Magna Carta and also to the national identities of both England and France. Some historians claim this date should be remembered after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 as one of the defining moments in English history. King John attempted to retake lands in Normandy employing an alliance army including Otto of Germany. John attacked from the south, but more importantly Otto was decisively defeated at Bouvines. Humiliated in defeat John was forced to consent to the Magna Carta, and the Anglo-Norman realm came to a final end allowing both England and France to develop their separate national identities. More background.
    posted by caddis on Jul 26, 2014 - 14 comments

    Black France

    A three-part series looking at the history of France's black community and their long struggle for recognition. French President Francois Hollande ran on a platform promising to eliminate the word 'race' from France’s constitution. But critics were quick to point out the disparity between constitutional reform and actual practice. [more inside]
    posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jul 16, 2014 - 6 comments

    Aux armes, et cætera

    From the album of the same name recorded in Jamaica in 1979, Serge Gainsbourg smokes, samples and sings "La Marseillaise" to a loping reggae beat, leaves out some words and titles it "Aux armes, et cætera", thereby deeply offending some of his co-citoyens. I was recently discussing the Marseillaise with a French person, who linked me to Gainsbourg's version. My friend agreed that musically his country's national anthem was wonderful, but said the violence of the lyrics disgusted him. It's interesting to consider a nation's official anthem in the cultural and political setting of its birth, and then contrast with the present day. [more inside]
    posted by valetta on Jul 2, 2014 - 13 comments

    2014 FIFA World Cup: From the Round of 16 to the Winner

    With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting, alternative commentary, mood swings, (allegedly) sulky England players, exciting matches, the USA vs Ronaldo, Europeans taking early return flights, deep analysis, a fantasy league and many goals - but who will finally lift the trophy in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
    posted by Wordshore on Jun 26, 2014 - 1838 comments

    The First Goal Of Its Kind In History

    Footballing History was made last night when France striker Karim Benzema scored against Honduras. Due to the position of the Honduran Goalkeeper, it was impossible to tell if the ball had crossed the line, and the goal line technology was called into action and controversially gave a goal.
    posted by marienbad on Jun 16, 2014 - 113 comments

    70ème anniversaire de la libération de Paris

    50 photos de la Libération de Paris se fondent dans le présent. [Via] [more inside]
    posted by homunculus on Jun 6, 2014 - 16 comments

    Forty-three Werner Herzog films that can be streamed

    Inside, please find a list of forty-three movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Werner Herzog, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. One or two of the films are in German without subtitles; this is noted in the description. [more inside]
    posted by Going To Maine on May 4, 2014 - 65 comments

    "Everybody dies someday - At least I saw Provence first"

    "For most of my life my everyday choices were based on the assumption that I could not trust other people. I thought it was my job to foresee and prevent all harms from befalling me. [...] My life has been better since I've accepted two simple facts. ONE: everybody dies (sorry). TWO: I would like to live a little first." -- Don't let fear stop you from traveling, a cautionary comic by Natalie Nourigat, part of her webcomic/travel blog about living in France for a year. You may know Nourigat from her Oregon Book Award nominated autobio college comic Between Gears.
    posted by MartinWisse on Apr 22, 2014 - 58 comments

    Not your traditional tree house

    “Just as leaves in a tree are naturally arranged to get the maximum sun, we’ve mathematically arranged these balconies and cantilevers to catch and shade the sun.”
    posted by bswinburn on Mar 30, 2014 - 29 comments

    Congress examines single-payer healthcare EEK SOCIALISM!!!

    Six years ago, PBS's feature documentary program, Frontline, aired Sick Around the World, a documentary examining health care systems around the world -- and specifically how all those featured were generally superior to the American system. (2008 MeFi post) Today, the American Senate subcommittee on primary health and aging brought the debate over single-payer care to Washington. C-SPAN has a fine video of the hearing, which features seven witness representing health care systems and think tanks from around the US and the world. [more inside]
    posted by greatgefilte on Mar 12, 2014 - 57 comments

    Le Skate Moderne

    Farmboys skateboarding in rural France. A film directed by Antoine Besse in the style of Depardon.
    posted by Lezzles on Feb 1, 2014 - 17 comments

    In Velox Libertas!

    In May 2008, while excavating around the castle, the archaeologists of Bristol University made a surprising discovery. They have unearthed two graves side by side. In both of them they have found the rests of the body of an armored knight, and above it in one grave the well preserved skeleton of a horse, while in the other the fragments of iron objects which, seen from above, resembled… a bicycle.
    [more inside]
    posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 28, 2014 - 52 comments

    The Dark Side of the Truffle Trade

    Inside the high-stakes pursuit of the world's most-prized fungus. [more inside]
    posted by elizardbits on Jan 24, 2014 - 35 comments

    Fly through the air with the greatest of ease

    Paragliding Circus [more inside]
    posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 16, 2014 - 4 comments

    Monitoring the raindrops that keep falling on your head from space

    The successor to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) spacecraft is preparing for launch at the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center. GPM will be the newest international Precipitation Measurement Mission and will be the core observatory of the GPM Constellation. The two sensors on-board GPM are the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). The GPM/DPR team has produced a fantastic anime about the DPR instrument. [more inside]
    posted by Rob Rockets on Jan 8, 2014 - 6 comments

    Across Europe, a Growing Sense That Legalized Prostitution Isn't Working

    Don't believe France's reputation as a country where sexual peccadillos are always overlooked. After a vote by the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, it has just joined a growing group of European nations where buying sex is now illegal. France is not alone in its fresh efforts to curb prostitution. The move follows similar bans in Sweden and Norway, while other European countries are also scaling back laissez-faire prostitution policies. Germany is poised to change its liberal sex trade laws, while Ireland is also debating a measure similar to France's. Is the end of legal prostitution in Europe in sight?
    (Don't miss the deep and interesting links found within the article.)
    [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Dec 8, 2013 - 87 comments

    "Caje, take the point"

    TV's longest-running World War II drama, Combat! aired on ABC between 1962 and 1967. "It was really a collection of complex 50-minute movies. Salted with battle sequences, they follow [US Army King Company's travails during the invasion of France, starting with the landing at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day. It's] a gritty, ground-eye view of infantrymen trying to salvage their humanity and survive." [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Dec 2, 2013 - 33 comments

    Mirrors on the ceiling

    That Intoxicating Pink
    Rose champagne is the intoxicant of choice for courtesans and kings. Beautiful, expensive, and rare, it was beloved by the grandest of the grandes horizontales of nineteenth-century Paris—and the men who could afford to love them. In Second Empire France, the Countess Henkel von Donnersmarck—known to historians of the libido as La Païva, and earlier as Esther Lachmann, late of the Moscow ghetto—demanded magnums of it as a “gratuity” while entertaining clients in the boudoir of her ill-begotten Hotel de la Païva on the Champs-Élysées.
    [more inside]
    posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 19, 2013 - 18 comments

    "How to be awkward."

    The best of Jerome Jarre, a hilarious young Frenchman who delights in singing on subways, violating personal boundaries, and grinning like a loon on Vine. Previously on MetaFilter.
    posted by Rory Marinich on Nov 17, 2013 - 46 comments

    FDA Cheese Ban: Mite vs. Right

    Despite the cries of "Save the Mimolette!", the FDA has decided to ban the sale of the French cheese Mimolette over mites used in the rind. [more inside]
    posted by Room 641-A on Nov 6, 2013 - 50 comments

    WWI in Color

    World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

    France in the NSA's crosshairs

    Using documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Le Monde reports that the NSA has been intercepting French telephone communications on a massive scale. Under a programme called 'US-985D', the NSA is collecting not only metadata but recordings of telephone calls: From 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013, 70.3 million French telephone calls were recorded.
    These revelations came just as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on a pre-scheduled visit. Francois Hollande is not pleased.
    posted by anemone of the state on Oct 21, 2013 - 166 comments

    Sleeping with the enemy

    When German soldiers arrived in Paris in the summer of 1940, there were so few of them that they had to win hearts and minds. The untold story of one young couple.
    posted by gaspode on Sep 27, 2013 - 7 comments

    FIP Radio

    In 1971 Jean Garetto and Pierre Codou began to dream of a radio station that could calm even the drivers stuck on the Paris Périphérique. It would play wonderful, unexpected music chosen by people who knew their onions. The tracks would be drawn from diverse genres and chosen to seque enchantingly. There would be no jingles, commercials or self-aggrandising DJs - not even defined programs - just some announcers chosen for their mellifluous voices but paid to mostly stay quiet. The result was - and is - FipRadio. Fans have included residents of Brighton in the UK who enjoyed an illegal re-transmission of the station for many years - and journalist David Hepworth who describes the thrill of hearing "a voice you want to marry whispering words you can't understand". Listen! [more inside]
    posted by rongorongo on Sep 26, 2013 - 29 comments

    We are not here to lead a battle between the sexes

    France's upper house of parliament, the Sénat has passed a women's equality bill, which aims to redress some of the persistent inequalities between men and women, in the sphere of pay, jobs and parental leave. [more inside]
    posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 18, 2013 - 38 comments

    "...Japan does not have a vigorous tradition of satire."

    France has made Japan angry again, this time with insensitive political cartoons about Fukushima. With radiation levels still spiking, and the government only reticently admitting to constant leaks, some are questioning the legitimacy of PM Abe's insistence that Tokyo is safe. With decisions not to prosecute anyone involved in the disaster, it seems that amakudari is, in Japan as in most other countries, still alive and well.
    posted by GoingToShopping on Sep 13, 2013 - 43 comments

    說奶酪!

    China's Embarrassing Childhood Photos. Bonus: François Hollande goes full Streisand effect
    posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 4, 2013 - 24 comments

    Why the UK went to war when France and Germany didn't: satellites

    "We’ve suspected for some time that the French and German governments’ refusal to take part in the Iraq war had something to do with their access to independent overhead imagery satellites. Briefly, France and Germany did (with the HELIOS and SAR Lupe programs respectively), and didn’t take part at all. Spain and Italy had some access to French imagery and had advanced plans to get their own. They made a limited commitment. The UK, Australia, Denmark, and the ROK relied on the United States and were, in a phrase that should be better known outside Australia, all the way with LBJ." -- Alex Harrowell explains how the absence of independent satellite intelligence may have helped the UK into the War on Iraq [more inside]
    posted by MartinWisse on Aug 19, 2013 - 13 comments

    Born and Left/Dust

    A beautiful animated music video for Born and Left by Joachim Pastor [more inside]
    posted by memebake on Aug 12, 2013 - 1 comment

    What I want, what I really really want.

    Frenchmen dance a Spice Girls medley ...in high heels.
    posted by The Whelk on Jul 25, 2013 - 21 comments

    "Oddly enough, ...in most of my dreams, I'm not disabled."

    Seeking Sexual Surrogates is a short (5:28) documentary by NYT's Stefania Rousselle looking at sexual surrogacy for the disabled in France, where the practice is illegal. And continues, regardless. [more inside]
    posted by 2N2222 on Jul 11, 2013 - 13 comments

    Five Essays on Literature by Novelist Adam Thirlwell

    Adam Thirlwell has written five essays in as many years for The New Republic. They all concern themselves with literature, especially French, though the first one was about Charles Dickens and how he was the most avant-garde writer of the 19th Century. The second was about Roland Barthes' plans to write a novel which came to nothing when he died. In Visionary Materialism, Thirlwell explores Rimbaud's Illuminations from several angles. Genocide and the Fine Arts is about Claude Lanzmann, the director of Shoah, and his complicated relationship with his famous work. The latest one, Baudelaire's Humiliation as a Way of Life, is about Baudelaire's place at the crux of the 19th Century revolution in letters.
    posted by Kattullus on Jul 8, 2013 - 8 comments

    The Underpants Revolution and other stories from the past...

    "Whereas yesterday's Cora Pearl was eccentric, charming and a little cold-hearted, today's Victorian courtesan, La Païva, is straight-up eerie. Like, so eerie that a lot of people thought she was a vampire. My hand to Baby Jesus, people actually believed she was a supernatural being. " Bizarre Victoria shares (what else) bizarre, scandalous, and noteworthy stories form the Victorian era (and more). What do you serve at a country club for fat men? Devil's footprints! Lola Montez: servant whipper, de facto ruler of Bavaria. Empress Sissi and her No Good Very Bad Life. Aristocratic marriage at gunpoint. Public pubic hair trimming. Specialties of the Victorian Brothel. Curing hiccups by setting your shirt on fire. Gilded Age Arranged Marriages.
    posted by The Whelk on Jul 3, 2013 - 8 comments

    Haunted by the Future

    Enki Bilal: Haunted by the Future -Paul Gravett on the Yugoslavian/French comics superstar.
    posted by Artw on Jun 16, 2013 - 9 comments

    France's symbolic fight over same-sex marriage

    The French Right Marches against Gay Marriage. Last month, France became the thirteenth nation to recognize same-sex marriage. A large religious and political movement continues to protest loudly against the Socialist government's "Mariage Pour Tous" (Marriage For All) law. [more inside]
    posted by mbrubeck on Jun 7, 2013 - 44 comments

    Time flies by when you're the driver of a train

    You may remember the 7.5 hour documentary released in 2009 which allowed you to travel the journey between Bergen to Oslo from the comfort of your home. If your wanderlust was fired up watching that video, then you may enjoy some of the other trips you can take. Switzerland: [more inside]
    posted by jontyjago on May 25, 2013 - 28 comments

    A Century of Proust

    In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Swann's Way, the New York Times is publishing a series of blog posts on In Search of Lost Time. (via) [more inside]
    posted by Rustic Etruscan on May 13, 2013 - 11 comments

    "Not for the weak of stomach"

    The Siege of Paris, during the Franco-Prussian War, lasted from September 1870 to January 1871. As the Prussian army blockaded the city, Parisians turned to ever more desperate food sources. Like the zoo animals. And other animals not normally eaten.
    posted by the man of twists and turns on May 11, 2013 - 18 comments

    Never fear quarrels, but seek adventures. Julie d’Aubigny or d'Artagnan?

    Shortly thereafter, one of the nuns died. La Maupin disinterred the body of the deceased nun and, placing it in the bed of her beloved, set the room afire so that the two could flee in the ensuing confusion. Julie d’Aubigny a.k.a. La Maupin or Mademoiselle Maupin was a 17th century fencer and opera singer of the Paris Opera. In detail. [more inside]
    posted by ersatz on Apr 29, 2013 - 7 comments

    The Sacred and the Profane, under one roof! (But not for the first time)

    A French auction house has gone ahead with a planned sale of Hopi katsinam. Such a sale would have been illegal in the United States. A depiction of the Crow mother sold for more than $200,000. [more inside]
    posted by anewnadir on Apr 12, 2013 - 233 comments

    Operation Overlord

    PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
    posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

    The track to nowhere

    Travellers passing through the Beauce region in France may have noticed this strange, lonely concrete structure raised on pillars over the fields. This is the 18-km long elevated track built in the 1960s for testing the Aérotrain (WP, video compilation turn off your speakers unless you love Queen), a propeller or jet-and-rocket driven high-speed (400 km/h) monorail that was supposed to revolutionize train travel (a visit by Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell). However, the French government preferred the less expensive and less futuristic TGV and the project was mothballed in 1975. The Aérotrain's inventor, Jean Bertin, died a few months later. All Aérotrain prototypes were destroyed except one.
    posted by elgilito on Mar 11, 2013 - 32 comments

    Flash Friday: Second Empire Artistic Demimonde Edition

    In the new game Avant-Garde, you play an up-and-coming artist in 19th century Paris, a contemporary of Manet and Bouguereau. Carve and sell allegorical statue groups! Get snubbed by Napoleon III! Subsidize Gustave Courbet's drinking! Compose and promulgate your own aesthetic manifesto!
    posted by Iridic on Mar 8, 2013 - 56 comments

    L’ÉTRANGER - Gérard Depardieu and France part ways.

    In America, a politician should not appear too literate; in France, he should not appear overly interested in sums. A sort of spiritual innumeracy is required to prove that he is a serious person. “Economics is considered an obstacle to ideology, a constraint politicians prefer to avoid if they can,” Chamboredon said. Politicians in France speak to “citizens,” not to “taxpayers.” - The New Yorker: France’s anxiety about the budget crisis has fuelled resentment of the country’s most renowned tax exile.
    posted by beisny on Feb 27, 2013 - 31 comments

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