The French Democracy
is a short film on the recent riots in France. It was made by Alex Chan
, Parisan-born but of Chinese parents, to "to correct what was being said in the media, especially in the United States" about the riots. He used a techinique
--using a video game engine to make his movie.
posted by LarryC
on Dec 16, 2005 -
Joblessness is a major motivating force of these riots, which is why the politicians and the press turn endlessly around the question of job creation in the banlieues. [...] An injection of vigorous enterprise, a big deregulating kick, and racial discrimination would evaporate in the tremendous, creative release of market forces. No race riots in an untrammelled market economy: that’s what Sarkozy really means. It’s an ingenious, high-pressure sales pitch for the ‘Anglo-Saxon model’ – indeed, it’s bordering on blackmail.
Jeremy Harding in the London Review of Books
goes among the arsonists in Paris and offers some insights on the economic factors and political consequences of the riots.
posted by funambulist
on Dec 3, 2005 -
Asterix gets political.
After over four decades of defending his lone holdout village from Roman attack, French children's book icon Asterix
is taking on America in the latest novel. The village is besieged by an alien army whose leader is named Hubs, (a thinly veiled anagram of the U.S. President). The aliens invade seeking non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
posted by jonson
on Nov 25, 2005 -
Quitting France: French Jews are leaving the country in ever-growing numbers, fleeing a wave of anti-Semitism. They are moving to Israel, the United States, and increasingly, Montreal -- where the mostly English-speaking Jewish community is preparing for its greatest demographic change in decades.
An interesting if slightly anecdotal look at the situation for Jewish people in France from Canada's National Post.
- Barricaded in Paris, Part 2
- Taking leave of 'the fear', Part 3 tomorrow deals with the impact of the influx of French Jews in Montreal.
posted by loquax
on Nov 21, 2005 -
Why Paris Is Burning
Officially, the French state doesn't recognize minorities, only citizens of France, all of them equal under the law. But that republican ideal has seemed especially hollow over the past week as the children of impoverished, largely Muslim immigrants from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa fought running battles with police throughout the banlieues, or suburbs, to the east and north of the French capital...
posted by Postroad
on Nov 5, 2005 -
Rioting continues in the suburbs of Paris. In Clichy-Sous-Bois
, a predominantly (80%) North African muslim banlieu of about 28,000 people, night battles have been raging
(video) between youths and the police after two muslim youths died by electrocution while they thought the police were chasing them, a charge the police denies. That was 5 nights ago. Since then, 27 people have been arrested, 3 convicted, numerous cars destroyed and property damaged, and 23 police officers wounded in street battles involving "up to several hundred" participants. The muslim community now accuses the police of firing tear gas into a mosque
, and things look far from calming down. These tensions are hardly confined to Paris, however - In Lyon, 800 cars have been burned
in "low level" violence this year; Across France, 9,000 police cars have been "stoned" this year, and 20-40 cars are destroyed a night
(!!!), according to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy
. I knew that relations between "the French" and the "Beurs
" were somewhat less than pleasant, but am I the only one that was unaware that France has been in a state of low-level but direct civil and religious war
for the last few years?
posted by loquax
on Nov 1, 2005 -
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail.
Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château
, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere
. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail
and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code
Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code
. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont
on Sep 16, 2005 -
Solutions For Grandeur Nicolas Sarkozy has become the most popular French politician by diving headfirst into the country’s most explosive political issues. If he has his way, this hyperactive, pro-American, Gaullist, free marketer will transform French politics for good. via
posted by Kwantsar
on Sep 9, 2005 -
Le Viaduc de Millau
on the A75
between Clermont-Ferrand and Béziers in France is the world's tallest and most technologically advanced bridge. At 2,460m long and 343m tall, its multi-stayed spans are suspepended from seven pylons.
It is not only an engineering marvel, but a work of art
. It took 14 years of preparation, but the bridge was built in only 3 years. This film
shows how it was built. Here
is a live view from the webcam. Previous Metafilter discussion in August 2004 before the bridge opened in January 2005 here.
posted by three blind mice
on Sep 1, 2005 -
Flaubert on Structural Unity.
"I’ve just read 'Pickwick' by Dickens. Do you know it? Some bits are magnificent; but what a defective structure! All English writers are like that. Walter Scott apart, they lack composition. This is intolerable for us Latins". Extracts from the letters of Flaubert (via the very awesome book coolie)
posted by matteo
on Jul 29, 2005 -
The French experience of counter-terrorism
(PDF): from the "sanctuary doctrine" to active prevention, a detailed history of how France learned counter-terrorism the hard way. Since
[the French revolution] France has been on the bleeding edge of terrorism, confronting terrorism in all its guises, from bomb-throwing anarchists to transnational networks. In the last 20 years, France suffered repeated waves of terrorism of both domestic and foreign origin, each which spawned a variety of reforms to an already complex system for combating terrorism. As a result, France has developed, largely by costly trial and error, a fairly effective, although controversial system for fighting terrorism at home.
posted by elgilito
on Jul 9, 2005 -
the Algerian novelist
and filmmaker was elected to fill the only vacancy at the Académie Française
, the august French institution that watches over the French language. Ms. Djebar, 68, is the first North African to join the 40-member academy.
Most interesting in light of recent discussions here on Dutch/Muslim relations. Comments from those who've read her books or know her from her work at LSU
or elsewhere would no doubt be appreciated
posted by IndigoJones
on Jun 17, 2005 -
Red State/Blue state France
. Les résultats département par département
. Remarkable that the U.S. isn't the only country that's split down the geographic middle. No translation, but the picture speaks for itself.
posted by jfuller
on May 30, 2005 -
It's exactly one week to The Referendum
. Will there be a Europe this year or won't there? The European Union was more France's project than anyone else's; if the French suddenly say Non there's going to be lots of polyglot arm-waving and excitement. The media
are all a-twitter, all the European ministers
are breathing heavily, Libération
, in the person of Jean Baudrillard, sees state fascism approaching (but then Libération always sees fascism approaching, it's their gig.)
My magic 8 ball points to Oui
. Oh wait, it changed its mind, now it says "reply hazy, ask again later."
posted by jfuller
on May 22, 2005 -
French police on Sunday ended their practice of hiding plastic explosives in air passengers' luggage to train bomb-sniffing dogs after one such bag got lost, possibly ending up on a flight out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
WTF were they thinking? Isn't there a better way to train the dogs without making innocent people unwittingly carry plastique?
posted by Vidiot
on Dec 5, 2004 -
Detailing the impossible. Louis Feuillade
made more than 800 films
covering almost every contemporary genre
: historical drama, comedy, realist drama, melodrama, religious films. However, he was most famous, or infamous, for his crime serials: Fantômas
(1913-14), Les Vampires
, Judex (1916), La Nouvelle Mission de Judex (1917), Tih-Minh
(1918) and Barrabas (1919).
Critics panned his crime films
, often savagely, because the preoccupation of French critics and film-makers in the 1910s and 20s was to elevate cinema -– and, ironically, back then the French saw their own films as lacking the artistry and sophistication of American ones, by Griffith or DeMille – to the level of art. It was years before Feuillade's films
escaped the label of aesthetic backwardness. Now, critics have realized
that what Feuillade has done is to offer us an alternative cinematic mode to Griffiths', one that continues in updated variants throughout cinema. It is predicated on a principle of uncertainty, that questions our understanding of the real. It is as fluid and elusive
a tradition as a cat burglar
, dressed in black on a night-time rooftop
posted by matteo
on Nov 8, 2004 -
It all comes down do one question: Must France stay in Algeria? “If the answer is yes,” he says, “then you must accept the consequences.” Gillo Pontecorvo
's "The Battle of Algiers
", now out
on a Criterion dvd
, is a film of quiet
power. The mix of subjective and documentary techniques
holds the viewer's trust so authoritatively that many scenes come close to sneaking out of the mental "movies I saw" box to mix with the viewer's own memories. No matter how complicated or fragmented the action becomes, Pontecorvo gets the pace, tone and rhythm exactly right, filling the screen with eloquent details.
(Last year, Pontecorvo's masterpiece was discussed here, too. More inside)
posted by matteo
on Nov 3, 2004 -
French TV Gets Gay Channel (Guardian link, reg. req.)
From the story, "Pink TV, which launched last night, promises viewers a mixture of Wonder Woman repeats, prime-time opera and gay and lesbian porn. A daily cultural review will look at issues like tourism, health, poetry and clubbing from a gay perspective, in a style which aims to be 'more cosy than cheeky'."
So does it mean I'm gay if I watch Wonder Woman repeats?
posted by fenriq
on Oct 26, 2004 -