Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
posted by Trurl
on Apr 16, 2012 -
French hospitals have rooms where medical students (internes
) can rest, lunch and vent off steam between calls, but these salles de garde
are not your usual staff room. They are brightly decorated with lively mural paintings showing the current internes
, the doctors and other hospital staff engaging in very (very) explicit sex acts. The frescos are done by the students themselves or commissioned from local artists, and are replaced on a regular basis. Here are some choice examples (sorted by hospital):
, Louis Mourier
, Institut Gustave Roussy
, Robert Debré
Many other images can be seen on the website of an association of former internes
. [Totally NSFW unless you're a medical student training in France
] [more inside]
posted by elgilito
on Mar 19, 2012 -
This stealthy undertaking was not an act of robbery or espionage but rather a crucial operation in what would become an association called UX, for “Urban eXperiment.” UX is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.” The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris. - Wired.com "The New French Hacker-Artist Underground
posted by The Whelk
on Jan 24, 2012 -
In one of the strangest new bids to get tourism dollars, Yves Jégo
, the current veep of France's Radical party and the former Overseas Secretary of State, has announced plans to start raising funds for a new theme park dedicated to Napoleon
. [more inside]
posted by suburbanbeatnik
on Jan 22, 2012 -
Back in Town
is a song by Izia
, a French rock band fronted by and named for Izïa Higelin. Even though she comes from a showbiz family, the band initially found little favor on French radio. But after a string of blistering live performances
all over France, the self-titled first album became a hit and won a couple of awards at the prestigious Victoire de la Musique ceremony, where Izia performed the song Let Me Alone
. There are a bunch of live performances online, including of Life is Going Down
, a cover of AC/DC's Touch Too Much
and a duet with Iggy Pop
. This past November, sophomore album So Much Trouble was released, featuring such songs as the title track
, On Top of the World
, and my favorite, Baby
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 16, 2011 -
Hanover Historical Texts Project
is a collection of primary source texts from ancient times to the modern era in English translation. There is a great number of interesting texts, for instance accounts of Zeno
, he of the paradoxes, the diary of Lady Sarashina
, a lady-in-waiting in Heian era Japan, a letter from Count Stephen of Blois and Chartres
, a crusader writing to his wife, Arthur Young's travels in France
before and during the Revolution, a report by the American ambassador in St. Petersburg on March 20th, 1917
, immediately after the February Revolution, and finally Petrarch's letter about his graphomania
. That last one is from what is perhaps my favorite part of the website, a trove of Petrarch's Familiar Letters
. But there's much more in the Hanover Historical Texts Projects besides what I've mentioned.
posted by Kattullus
on Oct 24, 2011 -
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience.
- Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Sep 16, 2011 -
is a modern artist who shares her time in France and Spain. She says of her collection Sleepdrunk Vademecum
, "The body is made up of a large set of rounded painting formats. Medical instruments, high precision technology, scientific devices, anatomical models, clandestine laboratories and human representation become the object of study and thought. The bizarre represented objects reflect a mixture of past and future, and an ambiguous clinical atmosphere
flows in them. On many of these painted surfaces, a soft cool-cold gradient isolates the represented elements and gives a non-gravitational character
to the compositions." [via
posted by netbros
on Sep 11, 2011 -
Starting last month, the French daily Le Monde
has been publishing an economic thriller in series, called Terminus pour L' Euro
(in French) (The End of the Line for the Euro). The series is behind a subscription wall, but Presseurope has started republishing the series in ten languages, including English
The story narrates the events of summer 2012, as Germany decides to leave the Euro and what follows. It has caused a stir in France, as rumors about the true identity of the author (who signs the series as Philae
, after an island in Egypt apparently) continue to circulate, and some think he is the French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire
. Some say
that the rumors that led to the precipitous fall
in French banks' stock a few days ago, were due to misunderstanding the fictional character of the story...
that Germany threatened to leave the Euro last year, were dismissed by its Chancellor
, yet as the eurozone crisis develops, no one is certain any more that the series is simply fiction and not a possible, real scenario, advocated
posted by talos
on Aug 13, 2011 -
Evan Osnos joins a tour group from China as they traverse Europe. In the front row of the bus, Li stood facing the group with a microphone in hand, a posture he would retain for most of our waking hours in the days ahead. In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. “Everyone, our watches should be synchronized,” he said. “It is now 7:16 P.M.” He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. “We flew all the way here,” he said. “Let’s make the most of it.” [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty
on Jul 28, 2011 -
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?!
That's right. The Late Late Show
's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer
-- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences
(including the iconic animal puppets
by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance"
by Irene Cara, "On the Floor"
by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka"
by Shakira, "Men in Black"
by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant"
by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
by Wham!, "It's Raining Men"
by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)"
by Tino Rossi.
Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious
-- he responded to Arthur's "homáge
" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 11, 2011 -
is a French-made Matrix fan film, released on the 21st of May 2011, which has been noted for the high quality of its special effects. The entire 55-minute film is now available to stream for free from its site. [more inside]
posted by chmmr
on May 27, 2011 -
WANTED: Known as 'La Bête' but kills under three aliases. Reddish brown with dark ridged stripe down the back. Resembles wolf/hyena but big as a donkey. Long gaping jaw, 6 claws, pointy upright ears and supple furry tail - mobile like a cat's and can knock you over. Cry: more like horse neighing than wolf howling. Last seen by people mostly now dead.
Wolf, werewolf, hyena, baboon or mesonychid: In many respects the beast of Gévaudan was like other creatures in the annals of cryptozoology - but for one: historical records indicate that, over a 4 year span, it (or 'they') killed around 100 people - eating most of them
. [more inside]
posted by rongorongo
on Apr 5, 2011 -
The Légion Étrangère
is a French special forces unit comprised mostly of foreign nationals who wish to fight for France, and the promise of a French citizenship. They are today considered an elite unit, on par with or superior to the British SAS or Russian Spetsnaz, and have in their long history served in campaigns as far-flung as Mexico
, but are most famous for their image as colonial shock-troops in North Africa and the Middle East. Legionnaire fought Legionnaire in the Second World War during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign
, as the Vichy's 6e Régiment Étrangère d'Infanterie lined up against the Allied 13e Demi-Brigade de Légion Étrangère in a critical, yet unsung battle for North Africa. Their first campaign was in Algeria
- will their latest be in Libya?
posted by Slap*Happy
on Mar 19, 2011 -
, the rest of your life
: "The life and times of Barney Wilen
, the legendary jazz musician who at age 18 was already playing with Miles Davis, and whom many called the “greatest European saxophonist.” Exiled to Zanzibar in the 70s, hero of Loustal's
cult comic strip, The Blue Note
, Wilen was as famous for his brilliant appearances as for his inexplicable disappearances. This film essay reconstitutes his rich, mysterious life even as it attempts to distinguish the man from the myth." (French, subtitled, 54 min) Barney Wilen & Bud Powell - Autumn In New York
:: Cannes Film Festival 1958
:: The Shadow of Your Smile
:: Mary Moor - Pretty Day
posted by puny human
on Feb 3, 2011 -