Formerly known as the French Art & Film Festival, this extravaganza has thrilled fans for 14 years. It returns with a new name this year as Le French Festival 2016 and promises a French inter-cultural experience that’s larger than life.
To be held from 6 May to 19 June 2016, the festival will once again offer residents in the Klang Valley and Penang a host of amazing events. This year, Le French Festival is extending its presence to first-time participating cities Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu. Local and international festival-goers in Malaysia can look forward to an exciting programme including usual offerings such as the French Film Festival (within the larger festival), live music performances and events with visiting French artists, as well as gastronomic events. This year will also see the introduction of new events such as educational talks.
Organised by the Alliance Française and the Embassy of France in Malaysia, and supported by the Institut Français, Le French Festival is heavily supported by a number of French and local partners and sponsors, including Martell, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), Chateau de Lafont, BNP, Intermovers, Air France, AGS, DCNS, Aesop, Brandt, Tempting Places, MaTiC, klpac, FINAS and Publika KL.
Previous editions of the festival consistently attracted a uniquely diverse audience including French and international locally based communities, tourists visiting Malaysia during the festival period, college students, children, mature adults, as well as art enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. With an ever-growing fan base, last year’s festival recorded its highest support ever at an impressive 9,200 spectators including 6,000 for the film festival alone, seeing an increase of 6% in box office goers from the year before.
More information on the 2016 line-up is available on Le French Festival’s official website www.lefrenchfestival.com.my, and those on social media can ‘Like’ the Facebook page at facebook.com/frenchartfilmfestival. Follow or contribute to the festival’s presence on social media with the hashtag #frenchfestivalmy.
Queries can be directed to Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur by calling +603-2694 7880 or emailing [email protected].
What to expect
Among the main attractions this year are over 15 recent releases in French cinema for moviegoers of all ages, as well as 15 main events under its calendar for art enthusiasts, music lovers and foodies alike. Along with the much-anticipated live events such as concerts, this year will also see education events themed in science and literature. Apart from musical and dance performances, there will be a film workshop, a fashion photography exhibition and many other exhilarating programmes.
Expect Le French Festival 2016 to offer something for everyone, a culturally invigorating experience not to be missed! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
French Film Festival with Golden Screen Cinemas
Klang Valley: 12–29 May 2016 at GSC Pavilion KL, GSC Mid Valley Megamall, GSC Nu Sentral, and GSC 1 Utama, Petaling Jaya
Penang: 2–12 June 2016 at GSC Gurney Plaza
A sub-festival within the larger festival, enjoy only the best in French cinema with more than 15 recent releases including comedies, dramas and animated films, to screen at selected GSC outlets. This year will see a special theme: film adaptations of celebrated novels.
Among the titles we can look forward to include the heart-warming family film “The Belier Family” (La Famille Belier), the highly successful children’s animation “The Little Prince” (Le Petit Prince), the romantic comedy “Caprice”, the historical-themed “The Princess of Montpensier” (La Princesse de Montpensier), as well as the spy-spoof “OSS 117, Lost In Rio” (OSS 117, Rio ne Repond Plus).
Tickets will be available for purchase via GSC website or cinema box office. True-blue festival fans and movie buffs can also keep a lookout for ticket giveaways in the media.
The Belier Family (La Famille Belier)
By Eric Lartigau
Release year 2014
With Louane Emera, Karin Viard, François Damiens, Éric Elmosnino, Roxane Duran
Running time 106 min
The Béliers are ordinary people. Well, almost…since three of them are deaf except 16-year-old Paula. And not only can she speak but she also has a gift for singing. Encouraged by her music teacher, she decides to prepare for auditions to enter a vocal elite choir in Paris. Her parents, who rely on her as she is their indispensable interpreter in the daily running of the family farm, take the news badly. Between the idea of betraying her parents and taking her first inevitable step towards adult life, Paula goes through a painful dilemma.
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)
By Mark Osborne
Release year 2015
With Voices of Marion Cotillard,Vincent Cassel, André Dussolier
Running time 108 min
A little girl, intrepid and curious, lives in a very grown-up world with her mother, who tries to prepare her for adult world. Her neighbour, an eccentric and facetious aviator, introduces the girl to an extraordinary world, the world of The Little Prince.
From the director of Kung-Fu Panda, this film is an entertaining performance, full of creativity and beauty that celebrates and expands the universe created by Saint-Exupéry.
The Princess of Montpensier (La Princesse de Montpensier)
Genre History, Romance, Drama
By Bertrand TAVERNIER
Release year 2010
With Mélanie Thierry, Gaspard Ulliel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Lambert Wilson, Raphaël Personnaz
Running time 139 min
Love and war and love as war come together in Bertrand Tavernier’s stunning adaptation of “La Princesse de Montpensier,” a short story by Madame de Lafayette set during the War of Religion in France during the 16th century.
The heiress, Marie de Mézière and Henri de Guise, one of the kingdom’s most intrepid heroes, are passionately in love. Marie’s father’s political ambitions force her into marriage with the Prince of Montpensier whom she has never met. The Prince takes Marie back to his chateau where she is tutored by Chabannes, an aging nobleman with a disdain for warfare, who soon falls in love with the beautiful woman. She becomes exposed to the romantic and political intrigues of court.
OSS117, Lost in Rio (OSS 117, Rio ne Repond Plus)
By HAZANAVICIUS Michel
Release year 2008
With Jean Dujardin
Running time 101 min
This parody of the spy film genre is inspired by the novels written by Jean Bruce in the 50s, a prolific French popular writer.
Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, aka OSS 117, is the French spy considered by his superiors to be the best in the business. Twelve years after his adventures in Cairo (OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies), OSS 117 is back for another mission! Accompanied by a charming Mossad agent, he is sent to Rio de Janeiro, to deliver a blackmail payment to a Nazi who escaped to South America and has a microfilm list of French Nazi sympathizers.
Their tale is by turns an adventure and a love story.
Workshop with director Raphaël Haroche and Screening of his film Revox
18 May 2016 at Pitching Center, KL Sentral
Accomplished artist Raphaël Haroche comes to Kuala Lumpur to share his experience working on his musical short film. A well-known singer and musician, Revox is Raphaël’s first venture into filmmaking where he lends his talents as director, writer and actor.
The film, which also stars Raphaël’s actress wife and long-term partner Mélanie Thierry, features puzzle-piece storytelling about a man who lives in a Paris apartment and can see through the walls the traces left by previous occupants. Revox, which refers to a brand of audio recording equipment, tells the love story of the couple who once inhabited the apartment, stirring questions of love and relationships.
Along with getting to meet Raphaël and Mélanie Thierry in person, get inside the mind of a filmmaker as he answers questions and shares his thoughts on making the film as well as composing the soundtrack.
An Evening with actress Mélanie Thierry and Screening of The Princess of Montpensier
19 May 2016, 7.30 pm at GSC Pavilion KL
A previous Best Actress winner at the 2010 César awards (French equivalent to the Oscars), beloved French actress Mélanie Thierry will grace Le French Festival 2016 with her presence, as she hosts a Q&A session along with a screening of The Princess of Montpensier, one of the feature selections in this year’s film festival.
In town for the festival with her artist husband Raphaël Haroche, the beautiful talent will share her experience playing the title role of the period piece set in 16th century France. Get up close and personal with ‘the princess’ herself, as she shares what it’s like to play a wartime heroine, as well as to be a part of the film that won the Best Costume Design César award in 2010.
Acoustic Concert with French Singer-songwriter Raphaël
20 May 2016, 8.30 pm at MaTiC, Jalan Ampang, KL
On his debut Asian tour, singer-songwriter Raphaël will bring the sounds of his 10th album Sleepwalkers (Somnambules) to a one-night-only acoustic set in Kuala Lumpur.
With the success of his album Caravane, Raphaël reached the top of the French and European charts, selling millions of records with a number of notable hits. With lyrics that touch on both social and political themes, Raphaël’s unique sound was accompanied by the singing of school children from his own neighbourhood on this latest album.
Wanting to emulate his inimitable vision for Sleepwalkers, Raphaël will be accompanied by a local choir of children as he entertains listeners in this special unplugged concert.
Fête de la Musique
18 June 2016, 5.00–11.00 pm at The Square, Publika KL
First taking place in Paris in 1982, Fête de la Musique has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 460 cities in 110 countries.
The festival focuses on two main aims: to promote music via free concerts that will be accessible to the public, as well as to encourage amateur and professional musicians to perform in the streets under the slogan “Faites de la Musique” (a homophone of the festival that translates to “make music”).
A line-up of Malaysian bands and a visiting French band will entertain on The Square’s central stage. Food and beverage stalls will also be set up in the area to create the perfect night for this annual music celebration, offering a truly French atmosphere in Kuala Lumpur.
This special outdoor event will be free and open to anyone who loves music!
An Evening with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra with Guest Soloist Florent Audibert
19 June 2016, 8.00 pm at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, Johor Bahru
The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) makes its long-awaited return to Johor Bahru at this year’s Classical Music Festival 2016 under the Johor Bahru: International Festival City (JB: IFC) event.
Proudly sponsored by the Embassy of France in Kuala Lumpur, guest soloist Florent Audibert will thrill with a Cello concerto in B minor, op. 104, of the Czech composer Antonín Leopold Dvořák.
Tickets are expected to be available via MPO box office and/or ticketing for JB:IFC.
Dance performance Autarcie (…) by Compagnie Par Terre
21 May 2016 at klpac, Sentul
For 50 minutes, four dancers will alternate between forward-facing dance moves and free digression, in which two hip-hop dance specialties — breakdance and popping — are brought into contact.
Autarcie (…) is a game of strategy, with the front of the stage as the rallying point where the four powerful individualities come together and devise a warrior dance directed at the audience. Witness the inner workings of this restless “tribe” with all the power struggles that ensue, thus unfolding on stage, to the pulsating, unbridled rhythms of the percussive organic beat.
Accomplished dancer and choreographer Anne Nguyen founded the Par Terre Company after a string of successful performances as a hip-hop and contemporary dancer for various companies. First and foremost a B-girl, she has competed, choreographed and battled for various titles, while also expressing herself as a poet and contributor to various editorial titles.
Photography exhibition entitled “Yves Saint Laurent, La Naissance d’une Légende”
1–25 June 2016 (Every day except Monday) at Galeri PETRONAS, Suria KLCC
“Fashion fades, style is eternal” — Yves Saint Laurent
The mastery of legendary fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent is retold via a quintessential collection of photographs, captured by lauded photographer Pierre Boulat.
Featuring 49 black and white photographs, Boulat followed the lives of Yves Saint Laurent and his long-time partner Pierre Bergé, taking their pictures on and off for some 30 years. The exhibition offers an insight into the celebrated designer’s life after leaving his role as head designer at Christian Dior.
The images, many of which have never been displayed before, portray Yves Saint Laurent at work and his magical preparation process; adjusting the final details of his show backstage, during drawing sessions or quietly working on his own, giving us the chance to feel his excitement, as well as the quality and originality of his creative practice.
The exhibition is open to the public (free admission).
No cultural experience is complete without a generous serving of authentic cuisine. Le French Festival 2016 will see wider outreach in its calendar of gastronomy events, as various publicly accessible venues will host tastings for authentic French food and drink.
Bonjour France — A Taste of France
6–29 May 2016 at various participating supermarkets including ISETAN, Jaya Grocers, Cold Storage, Village Grocer, Jason’s Food Hall and Mercato
A gastronomic offering to bring a true taste of France to the Malaysian public, Bonjour France is a two-week food fair happening at various participating partner locations in the Klang Valley.
Supported by various French brands of trusted names, expect authentic products from the well-known regions of Bretagne, Aquitaine and Normandy.
Foodies can also expect a number of mouth-watering activities such as a cooking demonstration and ephemeral restaurant by famous French school of culinary arts with 120 years of experience, “Le Cordon Bleu”. There will also be plenty of quality samplings, champagne tastings and lucky draws with numerous gifts and prizes to be won.
This special interactive food fair will be open to the public.
Tastings with Martell
1–9 June 2016 at Neo Tamarind restaurant in Bukit Bintang, Elegantology restaurant in Publika, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Como TREC KL (Mixology Workshop)
Every year, the festival’s sponsor Martell partners with hip restaurants and hotels in Kuala Lumpur to present special tasting sessions and a cooking class.
Martell — being the oldest of the great cognac houses — was founded in 1715 at the height of French Art de Vivre, and has been offering gastronomy, tasting and craftsmanship for over 300 years of its history.
Tasting sessions will be organized to discover more about champagne, cognac and cocktails with mixology workshops that will awaken the senses. A privileged rendezvous for epicureans, discover how to highlight the richness of the cognac and champagne, when to best serve each beverage and more helpful tips for your own future refined evenings.
These tasting events will include a set dinner charge and interested foodies will be able to reserve a space by emailing Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur at [email protected].
Yard Sale — Creative Market & Cabaret Night
11 June 2016, 10.00 am at Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur, 15 Lorong Gurney
There’s nothing quite like a neighbourhood garage sale to encourage friendly exchanges!
Whether an expatriate family moving home who would like to sell their second-hand items, or just a bargain hunter interested to find unique pre-loved items such as equipment or clothes, there is surely treasure to be uncovered at this garage sale.
Held in the cosy garden space around Alliance Française, there will be French food and drink to savour as you browse and relax in the lively and sociable atmosphere.
Additionally, there will be a mini market of French amateur designers. Everyone’s invited to come buy or sell second-hand objects or clothes as well as discover unique artsy creations by talented hobbyists.
The day will be animated by short shows interpreted by the students of the Alliance Française. Visitors are encouraged to come back in the evening at 8.00 pm for a cabaret night with more performances!
Those wishing to put up a stall of their own can reserve a space by emailing [email protected]. Stalls are available for rent at RM40 for the whole day.
For the first time ever, the festival, with focused efforts from the French Embassy, will extend its programme to include educational events themed in science and literature that will be take place at university spaces in the Klang Valley and even Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Immersion France @ Borneo
10–11 May 2016 at Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu
Organized by Malaysia-France University Centre (MFUC) and the Embassy of France, this programme aims to promote higher education in France as well as French as a foreign language. Attending students will get to find out more about student life in France and obtain details on the cost of living, available scholarships, courses offered by universities, etc.
More than just an educational talk, this event will be an innovative and interactive programme that will deliver information in the form of games. 200 students who will form four groups of 50 students will be given two hours to complete the games and collect points at four different thematic stations (Why Choose France, Understand French Higher Education, Prepare Your Stay in France & The Importance of French Language).
This programme will welcome more than 400 students from seven invited schools from around Sabah and Labuan, namely SMK St Michael, SMS Sabah, SMK Sanzac, SMK Elapora, SMS Lahad Datu, SMK Labuan and SMS Labuan.
French Language Symposium
7–8 May 2016 at University Malaya
Titled “Innovative practices in facing the challenges of the teaching of French as a foreign language in the 21st century in Malaysia”, University Malaya and the Education Department of the Embassy of France in Malaysia are jointly organizing a national symposium to contribute to the training of teachers.
Via plenary and workshop sessions, the conference will allow participants to exchange notes over a one-and-a-half-day symposium, on the innovative practices facing the challenges of the teaching of French language in the 21st century.
This unique educational assembly will also gather the French language global television network, TV5monde and the University of Reunion Island with the participation of the TV host of “Destination Francophone” Yvan Kabacoff, as well as the Professor-researcher Christian Ollivier, as guest speakers. Prof Ollivier will be speaking on the topic of “Theatre Practices and Socio-Interactional Approaches: To more authenticity and motivation in language classes”.
The symposium is open to the public with special encouragement for participation from all stakeholders involved in French language in Malaysia.
ICT–Bio Asia Workshop 2016
30–31 May 2016 at IPPP Auditorium, University Malaya
Co-organized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the Malaysia France University Centre, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, University Malaya and UNESCO Jakarta, this scientific workshop will bring together French and Asian scientists, representatives of partner institutions and the public and private sectors, with a view to call for projects related to the regional scientific funding schemes, ICT-Asia and Bio-Asia programmes. The talks will focus on four scientific themes: Biomass and Renewable Energies, Cybersecurity, Green Smart Cities and Health & Well-being.
This event will be open to the general public. More information can be obtained via www.ictbioasia2016.org, www.ambafrance-my.org/Seminaire-Bio-STIC-Asie-2016-Appels-a-communications or by emailing [email protected].
Fauconnier Literature Symposium
20–21 May 2016 at Hotel de Palma, Kuala Selangor
This event is centred around French writer Henri Fauconnier, winner of the Goncourt Prize 1930 (the most esteemed literature prize in France) for his novel Malaisie (The Soul of Malaya), which has now been translated into Bahasa Malaysia by celebrated Malaysian academician and Sasterawan Negara (National Laureate) Muhammad Haji Salleh.
Writers, scholars and language connoisseurs will gather to discover Malaysia through novels written by planters who shared their experiences through writing as well as pantuns.