January 3, 2017

'FRENCHLATION' SHOWS WAY TO FATHOM FRENCH FILMS

For movie fans who don’t speak French, going to the cinema in Paris can be a limiting experience. Do you stick to films made in English, with French subtitles, or do you brave the screening of a French film, with no English subtitles – hoping you’ll at least get some of the dialogue?

Happily, there’s another choice: you can go to the special events of Lost in Frenchlation – a company that presents recently released French films with English subtitles, and which now has a partnership with WICE.

Matthew Bryan and Manon Kerjean,
the co-founders of Lost in Frenchlation.
At these screenings, spectators not only get to watch the films, but they also have the opportunity to meet other movie-goers in a convivial atmosphere. That’s because Lost in Frenchlation provides an added social component, enabling ex-pats living in Paris to meet over cocktails after the movie.

Started in 2015 by French and Australian friends, Manon Kerjean and Matthew Bryan, the initiative was born from the wish to be able to see the same films together.

November 29, 2016

A BRIEF AUTUMN TALE OF WICE AND GOOD WINE, IN PARIS

It was a brisk, dark evening in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, but from inside a shop with wooden floors and beams on the ceiling, lights beckoned.

The lights … were in the shape of wine bottles. And so began the introduction to Thierry Givone’s “Wine Tasting in Paris”, a company that partners with WICE to offer courses in appreciating and recognizing different kinds of wine.

Thierry Givone pours a Beaujolais.
On this particular night, Nov. 18, Givone focused on the Beaujolais region for a course that comprised tasting seven very different wines, including two types of Beaujolais Nouveau. This is of course the most known wine from the area located just south of Burgundy, and the course took place a day after its official release and national fete, with people filling cafés for a glass or two.

November 17, 2016

THEATRE DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES: MUSIC AND A PARIS SAGA

It’s the theatre where American icon Josephine Baker performed in a variety of revues and where Russian dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky caused an uproar in 1913 with Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), a ballet set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. The story goes that the reaction to the ballet was so intense that spectators came to blows – a battle between those who adored the show and those who despised its “avant-gardeness”.

The concert hall at the theatre.
Such sensational times may now be the stuff of legend, but the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is still putting on exciting and thrilling concerts, with internationally renowned artists.

The current season features recitals, concerts by resident and visiting orchestras, chamber music performances, dance, and famous opera productions, among other events. Earlier in November, the illustrious Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra played to a packed house, with the musicians and French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet receiving enthusiastic applause for their virtuosity.

October 27, 2016

PARIS COMPANY HELPS THOSE LOST IN INCOMPREHENSION

“It’s probably more entertaining when you can understand what’s going on.”

This thought has doubtlessly occurred to many theatre-goers, especially if they've had to sit blankly through the uproarious laughter of other audience members and deal with the frustration of having completely missed the joke.

A scene from Anything You Want.
(Copyright Emmanuel Murat)
But missing out because of the language barrier is not an inevitable experience – translation, if done well, can make a big difference between enjoyment and befuddlement at the theatre. One just has to attend a show in Paris of the hit comedy Tout Ce Que Vous Voulez (Anything You Want) to understand how elevating subtitling, or "surtitling", can be.

As the play unfolds in French, the dialogue is projected in English on the horizontal bar high above the stage, with French colloquialisms and idioms transformed into the equivalent expressions. This is of great assistance to English-speakers, as could be seen from the reactions of a group of New Yorkers on one particular night. The visitors were able to chortle right along with the Francophone viewers and to clap with real enthusiasm at the end, because the brilliance of the play wasn’t lost in translation, or incomprehension.