An interactive audiovisual tour [flash, audio] of the student protests in Paris in May 1968. Part of a larger look at 1968. [Previously]
The hippest of today's French youth can't get enough of Tecktonik--a dance (YT), cultural movement and apparent marketing ploy (in French), Tecktonic is a style of dance characterized by its lack of footwork and embrace of various ridiculous arm gestures. Coupled with a strong fashion sense (in French) involving copious amounts of neon, pseudo (or full-on) mullet haircuts and jeans that could be painted on, Tecktonik is a dance craze that, since its birth in 2000 at a Parisian nightclub, has only increased in popularity. [more inside]
Mark Boyle should either take language lessons, read some Peter Jenkins, or wear a better jacket...and yet he blames it on the French!! [more inside]
Pardon my French: after (allegedly) showing up drunk at the G8 (Mefi), walking out from 60 minutes, and almost getting in a fight with angry fishermen (translation), French President Sarkozy, while visiting the Paris International Agricultural Show, snaps at a man who refused to shake his hand "Casse-toi pauvre con". But what exactly does this mean in English? He hasn't (yet) slapped a kid, unlike his presidential rival Bayrou, but he's still not in the same league as De Gaulle, who answered to a heckler shouting "Mort aux cons!" ("Death to the idiots!") the sublime "Vaste programme, en effet" ("Tall order, indeed").
Some time this month, French wine will once again be transported by sail. As the Guardian reports today, French vineyards concerned about climate change are about to make life much easier for oenophiles wishing to reduce their carbon footprint. Later this month, the Belem, a 19th century barque will sail from Languedoc to Dublin with 60,000 bottles of Bordeaux. [more inside]
Flirting with the Forbidden, for centuries, Romans and French have enjoyed the pleasures of a unique songbird. Once caught, this tiny bunting is kept in a small cage, where its eyes are poked out. It is then force fed oats, millet, and figs until it's plumped up to four times its size. It is subsequently drowned alive in cognac, roasted at high heat, then served as an exquisite - and illegal - meal. Traditionally the diner enjoys this delicacy - approximately the size of a human thumb - underneath an embroidered napkin. The head is bitten off, the entire body eaten in one crunchy bite. Said to embody the "soul of France," it was, reportedly, the last meal of Francois Mitterrand. Writer Michael Paterniti recreates the experience of dining on l'ortolan, superbly told in an episode of "This American Life."
Alain Robbe-Grillet, French author, member of the Académie française and subject of this recent Mefi post, has passed away at age 85.
YouTube user lightning49 has 160 of videos of French singers which she has subtitled with her translations. Her biggest collection is of Jacques Brel videos but there are also songs performed by George Brassens, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf as well as a smattering of other stuff. To start you off with a few songs here are three of my favorite songs by Brel, Je suis un soir d'éte, Le moribond and La valse à mille temp along with Charles Aznavour's La boheme, Edith Piaf's Milord and Georges Brassens' Les passantes.
Head over to Cheikha Rimitti's MySpace page and listen to the first tune up on her player (starts when you open the page), called Saida. Whoa! Is that badass or what? Well, there's 5 other tunes of hers there for your listening pleasure, covering a wide swath of stylistic territory within the Algerian music tradition she was such an important part of. Yet another MySpace page pays tribute (with 4 more songs!) to this powerful singer, and you can also learn more about her at the Cheikha Rimitti website, which is in French, but with links like "Musique" and "Vidéos", you shouldn't have too much trouble with it. There's an informative English-language video biography of this "Mother of Raï", not to mention this performance footage (with those fantastic flutes!) of Saida. [more inside]
Popcards.fr is a collection of kitschy French postcards from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Kitschy barely does justice to this collection. Categories abound, including pets, humor (and I use the term loosely), lovers, cuisine and perhaps the two most interesting sections, guys and gals. [via I like via sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy]
September 11, 2001. It's 10:15 am and the South Tower just went down. Millions of French people are watching the live coverage of the events on TF1, France's major TV channel, with star anchorman Poivre d'Arvor doing a running commentary. Then, for a split second, a character from a famous movie happily tells us (in French subtitles) that he "did it" (18 s in the video) (Dailymotion video). [more inside]
The late-fifteenth/early-sixteenth century French publisher Simon Vostre was renowned for his Books of Hours. [more inside]
Agence Eureka is a French language image-blog with hundreds or even thousands of scanned illustrations, mostly from mid-20th century French schoolbooks, educational material, magazines, and ephemera. The current front page is slightly NSFW. Some of the categories include anatomy 1 & 2 (mildly NSFW); chocolate wrappers/trading cards; bricolage; decoupage (cut-outs); math education; playing cards; books and magazines; cars; cinema; orientalisme; sport; mild pin-ups; and many others (scroll all the way down the right to see the tags). [more inside]
The Roma Journeys - contemporary photographs of Roma life in Hungary, India, Greece, Romania, France, Russia, and Finland by Joakim Eskildsen. For more photo essays and info on the Roma, see two superb prior posts by plep and taz.
Four scanned pictures of the French nuclear test codenamed Canopus, which was fired on 24th August 1968 in the Fangataufa Atoll. The photographs are amazing.
Sarko l'Americain addresses US Congress. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told the US Congress it can count on France's support against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear plan. [Full Text here PDF]. Here also, is a recent take on Franco-American relations [more inside]
Thanatorama [flash] You died this morning. Are you interested in what comes next? Webdocumentaire.
So, apparently some of those Sudanese orphans were neither Sudanese nor orphans. The organization Zoe's Ark may have fucked the fuck up.
"I've hidden myself and covered myself for too long. Now I want to show myself fearlessly, even though I know my body arouses repugnance. I want to recover because I love life and the riches of the universe. I want to show young people how dangerous this illness is." French Comedienne Isabelle Caro, 27, an anorexic who weighs just 68 pounds, was displayed on Milan billboards (NSFW) for fashion designer Nolita as the city celebrated fashion week. The prevalence of eating disorders within the fashion industry have only recently been addressed officially, however Georgio Armani has complained that since Caro isn't a model herself it proves "even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic."
The Theatre de la Mode exhibition featured scaled down haute couture designs from Paris's top designers on miniature mannequins, and was intended to help revive French fashion after WWII. If you're in the area, you can go see the exhibition where it ended up-- the Maryhill Museum, established by a rather unique guy named Sam Hill (who also built a full-scale poured-concrete replica of Stonehenge nearby) in a small town in south-central Washington state.Or you can just look at some flickr pictures (hey, look, it's "Metafilter's own" Harvey Girls!) Or get the viewmaster disk.
Flamenco clearly belongs to spain. But so many immigrants came to France to find work or escape from the civil war that there is a small community of guitarists in southern France who are playing it with original voices. Bernardo Sandoval was the subject of a post in mefi music some time ago. Antonio "kiko" ruiz is about to come to the United States with Renaud-Garcia-Fons : their work can be seen here. Serge Lopez is another great guitarist who puts some guitar parts on his website. Salvador Paterna adds to the traditional sound of flamenco both the 'oud and the violin. They are all from or nearby Toulouse.
Lessons from Past Western Incursions in the Middle East. A speech by Juan Cole at the New America Foundation in which he discusses his new book, Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East, and the relevance and lessons of Napoleon's expedition in Egypt to the current American occupation of Iraq. A shorter version, covering many of the same points, is in this article: Pitching the Imperial Republic.
Deyrolle: The Strangest Shop in All of Paris. "Paris has many unusual shops, but one of the most unusual has to be Deyrolle."
newsfilter!! more inside Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy wins France's presidential election.
Stephane Halleux is a French sculpture artist whose work feels like Jules Verne as realized by Tim Burton; the sculptures all share cartoonish steampunk vibe that's really appealing. Sadly, the site is 100% Flash, so no linking to specific favorites, but at the very least the navigation remains fairly straightforward.
An absolutely terrifying new anti-AIDS campaign has been introduced in France. Not safe for work or arachnophobes.
Goodbye Jacques! Today french voters will get rid of Chirac - charmingly called "The Bulldozer". Although he was not as bad as Silvio, France is in dire need of economic reform - something Frau Merkel has already started in Germany. So who will win this important election? Meet the candidates: Royal, Sarkozy and Bayrou.
Word is that the DGSE - the French secret intelligence service - knew in January 2001 that al Queda was planning to hijack a US aircraft and may have given warning. (The original article that appeared in Le Monde 2 days ago)
Remember these? Of course you do! Well, two new videos make for interesting comparison. Not Washington D.C. but Paris France. Not the subway station but the streets. Not classical but pop. Not Joshua Bell but The Shins. Begin armchair comparative cultural criticism.....NOW!
The volcano Piton de la Fournaise on the island of Réunion has erupted. Réunion, 800km from Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, is technically part of the EU as an overseas département of France. The latest eruption (BBC video, requires Realplayer) of Piton de la Fournaise has resulted in some beautiful photos Top right - Voir le diaporama.
France's Centre National d'Études Spatiales has unleashed its UFO archives on the internet. (And the internet has been unleashed on CNES' UFO archives). The CNES version of the now trendy UFO-archive-release stunt is a little flashier and a little more romantic than its brethren with a host of pictures, drawings, video and audio and a guaranteed 28% unexplained content. Even the explained phenomenon are interesting in their own way. The AP write-up cites a report where "Experts initially concluded that [a burning object dropping into a field] was part of the propulsion device of a recently launched satellite. Eventually they realized it was a piece of German World War II ordnance that spontaneously exploded four decades after the war." As the archives become more explorable, they promise to reveal strange things that may have visited us, or in the very least, the strange things we and our own habitat are capable of creating.
Like most boys, I grew up dreaming of a life filled with action and adventure. Unlike most men, I was able to live out those boyhood dreams during my five years in the French Foreign Legion. Previously.
Redefining Avogadro's Number. A mole is the number of molecules in a gram of water: ~6.022 x 1023. Unfortunately "a gram" is defined by a chunk of metal in a vault in France, the last of the seven SI units still defined by a physical artifact. Since the reference mass (known as "Le Gran K") is actually changing over time (due to cleaning, handling, etc), the definition of a gram is currently temporally unstable. Now a new proposal has been put forward to explicitly define the number to be a known integer: 602,214,141,070,409,084,099,072, which would fundamentally change the way we define a gram. Le Gran K could become a historical curiosity like the original platinum meter stick.
French Jewish writer Irène Némirovsky's claim to fame rests on Suite Française, a novel that she wrote about the German occupation of France while awaiting death in Auschwitz but which was not published until 2004. Irène may also provoke interest because her early fiction was steeped in anti-semitic stereotypes and serialized in right-wing newspapers. [More Inside]
Ce n'est pas une cigarette France is the latest to ban smoking in public, joining Spain, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Ukraine, and the U.S. among others. This short article from The Atlantic shows the long history of countries attempting to ban smoking, from Pope Urban VIII to Hitler. Somehow I think these bans are here to stay.
1956. France is losing Algeria. It’s lost Indochina. Sure, it’s culturally very productive, with Nouvelle Vague cinema at its height and existential philosophy gaining ground in the world at large. But to the nation of Napoléon and to one that preferred to emphasise the Résistance in its more recent history, that wasn't enough. What to do? Why, propose political union with Britain, of course.
Memoirs of Phillipe de Commynes. A first-hand account of the 15th-century military and diplomatic struggle between Louis XI of France, a master of intrigue, and his most powerful rival, Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. "At that time the subjects of the house of Burgundy were very rich because of the long peace which they had enjoyed and the great moderation of the prince under whom they lived, who taxed his subjects little. It seems to me that then his territories could well have been described as the Promised Land, more so than any others on earth. They were overflowing with wealth and they had a peace which they have not since experienced during the last twenty-three years. ... But today I do not know in this world a people so desolate, and I fear that the sins of the time of their prosperity have brought them their present adversity; most of all because they did not recognize that all these favours came from God who distributes them as it pleases him."
This time-lapse video of an oil-painting being created by Pablo Picasso is brief, but captivating. The clip is a scene taken from the 1955 French documentary "The Mystery of Picasso," in which director Henri-Georges Clouzot filmed the artist painting 20 different pieces. Bizarrely enough, almost all the art created for the film had to be destroyed upon close of production due to contractual obligation. Via