We can no longer count the number of postponed shows, depressed artists, prevented troops who waited for the end of the spring confinement to restart their activities. A short-term respite since many artists are now trembling at the end of the year 2021 in the face of variants that could cancel many cultural events to come. A year of pain for culture or a year in weightlessness where everyone holds their breath and enjoys the pleasure of reading, going to the cinema or the theater, hoping that the epidemic will finally settle down.
A popular and demanding 2021 selection
With the drafting of Français.press we have decided to offer you a panorama of the best of culture in 2021, by opting for artists who live or work abroad or who are celebrated there by French or foreign cultural institutions. Very popular artists or artists whose reputation is more confidential and that we offer you to discover.
Hats off to our French cultural network around the world
This selection is also intended as a tribute to all forms of culture and to our French cultural network which, through the French Institutes or the Alliances, promotes the diversity of French or French-speaking artists and creations throughout the world. The real heroes and heroines of culture are our diplomats and aid workers, the staff of these structures who resisted the crisis and to whom we take our hat off. Because they simply bring culture to life on a daily basis.
A French from Los Angeles in the spotlight: Omar Sy in Lupine
He has lived in Los Angeles since 2012. Since the incredible success of “Intouchables”, this successful film which made him pass from the category of troublemaker of the TV to a film actor with an international reputation. In this year 2021 it has established itself among the youngest thanks to Lupine, the television update of the literary series created by Maurice Leblanc. All parents who have seen their children claim the purchase of one of the detective books featuring the famous gentleman burglar are grateful to him. Just like the commune of Etretat which shelters the scene of the final of the second season and which sees French and foreign tourists flocking thanks to the actor who provides a very convincing Lupine. The series has established itself in the top 10 of the most viewed series in the world, proof that a typically French hero can also reach a more universal audience. Omar Sy gathered in France more than 76 million spectators for the first season broadcast in January. The second has gathered such a large audience and we hope for the third season soon. The opportunity to finally know who killed Assane Diop’s father and provoked his desire for revenge? The suspense remains.
A great French-speaking Goncourt: “The most secret memory of men” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr
The 31-year-old Senegalese writer who studied in France at EHESS fully deserved to be included in this ranking. We can sometimes comment on the commercial reasons that justify the awarding of a prize. But “The most secret memory of men” fully deserves the homage paid by the jury at Drouant. This is his 4th novel that the Goncourt Academy celebrates and it is the first writer in sub-Saharan Africa to receive this honor.
The writing first of all attracts attention by its mixture of preciousness in the choice of vocabulary and frankly Rabelaisian and funny passages. A happy marriage of erudition and nimble spirit. The plot is set in the middle of the African literary diaspora, the narrator being fascinated by “The labyrinth of the inhuman” a fascinating book by TC Elimane, an African author assimilated to a real “Negro Rimbaud” and of which everyone lost track. It is therefore a literary quest that the narrator engages for more than 400 pages with tasty twists. We never get bored, we rejoice in front of the expressions chosen by the author and in front of the meetings which punctuate the story and make it bounce back. A young French-speaking author to follow more than ever!
Spotlight on the Hong Kong French Film Festival
53 films showing to celebrate 50 years of French cinema in Hong Kong in October ! This is the nice surprise the local Alliance Française team gave to the French-speaking public of Port Parfumé. If the festival has existed since 1972 in this form, the very first edition dates back to 1953 with, at the time, a projection of Monsieur Hulot’s Holidays showing the face of a fanciful and amusing French cinema. For the 2021 edition which succeeded in being held in theaters despite the strong sanitary constraints, two films were in particular in the spotlight at the opening: Titane, the last controversial gold palm from Julia Ducournau, and Aline by Valérie Lemercier, charming biopic devoted to the life of Celine Dion.
If the festival was the opportunity to review great classics of popular cinema, such as the Boom and the mischievous allures of teenage Sophie Marceau, the marriage between elitist films or those falling under the Arts and Essays category and opuses intended for a more large public will have made it possible to offer an intelligent retrospective of what can make the French strike force in film: an aesthetic research coupled with original modes of narration, a quest for entertainment combined with a more reflective ambition. Long live French cinema in times of crisis!
A biennial against all odds
The 17th International Exhibition of Art and Architecture in Venice, canceled last year because of the health crisis, was held this year to the delight of contemporary art lovers. The French pavilion questioned the notion of living together, a capital subject in these times of withdrawal into oneself and collective doubt. The pavilion was designed by the architect Christophe Hutin to present “Communities at work” through several films made on site in a South African township, a South American building, in particular. The video recordings are all available online to highlight the exchange between artists and inhabitants who indicate how art and creation allow them to forge social ties despite local poverty or the epidemic period which distends human relations. . The videos which were shot on four continents reveal the universality of the challenges specific to the communities filmed (renovating the habitat, animating the spaces, cultivating even in urban areas, getting supplies) and the singularity of the subjects (this young woman who says his happiness at having taken the plane for the first time but also the return to the realities of the township after the end of the project).
Art in the service of humans and as a link, this is a message that we wanted to celebrate through our cultural retrospective.
“The young woman and the sea”, a Frenchwoman at Japon
The France-Japan cross-season did not take place this year. The event that was to be held in the two countries has been canceled due to the epidemic. We can here measure the damage and the frustrations that the Covid can generate, which has hit hard a cultural sector heavily tested in the world by cancellations and postponements.
But as a symbol of a culture of resistance, we wanted to highlight the work of Catherine Meurisse in the field of comics. “The young woman and the sea” is the fruit of several stays in Japan of the artist who found in the local culture and in particular in the observation of nature a source of renewal of his art. The artist was able to reside for several months at Villa Kujoyama, an artists’ residence managed by France and located in Kyoto, a city considered to be the cultural capital of the country. When she arrived in Japan, the designer had already solid work, had worked for Charlie Hebdo and had to her credit several dozen albums marked by a style made of cultural references and humor. “The young woman and the sea” is a true ode to nature which features a double of the artist in his first steps in Japan in the face of a very codified culture. Catherine Meurisse experienced the recent consecration of being introduced to the Academy of Fine Arts as the first woman cartoonist. A refined and funny comic book to discover or give away for the holidays.
A punchy essay: David Di Nota and the counter-investigation into the assassination of Samuel Paty
To end this retrospective we wanted to evoke a Frenchman from London who has been living in the British capital for three years. This novelist and translator is like many of our compatriots living in the London megalopolis: a cosmopolitan and polyglot spirit.
The author recently wrote a book devoted to the professor murdered by an Islamist fanatic one year ago. This counter-investigation brings a committed point of view and shows the stages which led to the tragedy.
With this essay entitled “I executed a hell dog”, we wanted to highlight the French people around the world who are committed to the service of freedom of expression by taking the pen or turning camera in hand. .
Because culture allows women and men to be entertained but also gives material to stimulate their thinking.
Happy Holidays to all and may the year 2022 be rich both culturally and globally.umain.
We want to thank the writer of this short article for this remarkable content
A cultural retrospective to celebrate a year of the epidemic, yes it is possible!