Performances, Screenings, and Talks at the
French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)
(New York, NY, January 8, 2020) — Performances by world renowned artists, special screenings, talks by influential figures, and the US premiere of a digital museum highlighting French culture will be presented this winter at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF).
As New York’s premier French cultural and language center, FIAF is dedicated to presenting innovative and inspiring artists as well as thinkers from the Francophone world. The next several months offer engaging programs in Florence Gould Hall, its first-floor gallery, and the intimate Skyroom.
This season sees performances by actor Patrick Timsit, who follows his sold-out 2017 show at FIAF with Book of My Mother, a stage adaptation of Albert Cohen’s best-selling memoir set during World War II (Jan 29 & 30). Acclaimed dancer Olivier Dubois presents his interactive My Body, which allows the audience to guide the show through pieces by noted choreographers (Feb 18 & 19). A performance by cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton anchors a weekend dedicated to Chantal Akerman that includes screenings of her films alongside panels considering her legacy (Mar 6 & 7).
FIAF’s HD screenings of The Paris Opera and Balletcontinue with a special presentation of 2019’s Les Indes galantes, introduced by director Clément Cogitore (Feb 2). An encore showing of the film Mon Chien Stupide (Jan 13) will be followed by a Q&A with stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Yvan Attal, who also directed the film.
This season of FIAF:Talkspresents cross-cultural conversations with leading figures on pressing subjects: contemporary art with Christo(Mar 2); masculinity after #MeToo with author Raphaël Liogier (Feb 24); and the state of philanthropy with experts Rob Reich of Stanford University, Axelle Davezac of Fondation de France, and Hilary Penningtonof the Ford Foundation (Mar 26).
From January 14 to March, the FIAF Gallery will be the site of the first US presentation of Micro-Folie, a digital platform that transports artworks and performances from France to galleries and classrooms around the world. At FIAF New York audiences will be able to view performances of the Paris Philharmonic, see Monet’s Water Lilies, visit the Palace of Versailles, and learn about many other icons of French culture in the space.
A chronological list of events follows.
Screening: My Dog Stupid(Mon Chien Stupide)
Following its sold-out US premiere at Florence Gould Hall last fall, FIAF is pleased to present an encore screening of My Dog Stupid. Based on a novel by the American writer John Fante, it introduces Henri Mohen (Yvan Attal), a bitter has-been novelist who blames all his problems on his wife Cécile (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and their four live-in children. When an enormous dog with a tendency for inappropriate pawing takes up residence in the family home, tensions rise to the surface, and Henri is forced to reckon with his failings. Gainsbourg lets her comedic instincts shine in this riotous comedy of family life, her latest film with her real-life partner, actor-director Attal.
Micro-Folie is a digital museum that brings France’s finest artworks, spectacular performances, and dazzling cultural heritage to audiences around the world. FIAF is proud to host the US debut of this interactive technology developed by cultural institution La Villette with the support of the French Ministry of Culture. This presentation will cycle through hundreds of slides depicting art, architecture, and performances from more than a dozen French institutions including Centre Pompidou, Chàteau de Versailles, Philharmonie de Paris, Festival d’Avignon, Institut du Monde Arabe, and The Paris Opera. Visitors will be able to further explore each artwork by using interactive tablets available throughout the gallery. Micro-Folie will be on view to the public through March.
Following his triumph at FIAF in 2017, acclaimed actor and humorist Patrick Timsit returns with a moving theatrical adaptation of Albert Cohen’s Book of My Mother. Cohen's masterpiece was written following the death of his mother in Nazi-occupied France while he was in exile in England. The powerful tribute to "the mothers of the world" stayed with Timsit for more than 30 years. His resulting solo performance, weaves together an intimate portrait between mother and son; an achingly honest testament to grief and guilt, as well as love and compassion.
The Paris Opera and Ballet HD Screening: Les Indes galantes
Visionary artist and filmmaker Clément Cogitore breathes new life into Jean-Philippe Rameau's first opera-ballet in this audacious reimagining of the Baroque masterpiece. With choreography by French hip-hop trailblazer Bintou Dembélé, this acclaimed production— chosen as one of the 10 best classical music performances of 2019 by The New York Times—resets Rameau's musical delights within an urban and political space that both honors the opera while challenging the Eurocentric views of the "other." Cogitore, who made his Paris Opera debut directing Les Indes galantes, will introduce the screening.
In a playful participatory celebration of contemporary dance, choreographer Oliver Dubois lets the audience steer this hour-long program of excerpts by renowned dance companies and choreographers, including Sasha Waltz, Angelin Preljocaj, and Jan Fabre. This sampling of the world’s best works performed by Dubois, voted one of the 25 best dancers in the world by Dance Europe magazine, compiles his favorite roles from his illustrious 20-year career. The audience is invited to choose from the works as Dubois reveals the beauty of his unique body through movement on an intimate stage.
FIAF:Talks Heart of Maleness — Masculinity After #MeToo
Raphaël Liogier, sociologist, philosopher, and author of Heart of Maleness: An Explorationexamines the roots of gender inequality and its many manifestations. In his book, Liogier demonstrates with candor and clarity that the archetypal Prince Charming and a monstrous predator such as Harvey Weinstein are two sides of the same coin—products of a worldview that not only places a man's desires above a woman's, but also doubts whether women are fundamentally capable of knowing what they want. Recent years have witnessed significant progress toward gender equality, from the ousting of prominent men accused of sexual misconduct to the unprecedented popularity of the 2019 Women's World Cup. Heart of Maleness maps out the crucial work still to be done. A book signing follows.
FIAF:Talks Visionary Leaders — Conversation with Christo
In advance of a major exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Christo, one of the most influential artists of his generation, reflects on his career creating remarkable environmental works of art. At FIAF, he will revisit many of his projects—including 2005’s The Gates in which he installed saffron colored panels in Central Park—and talk about the preparations for his upcoming project, Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, which will be installed at the eponymous monument in September 2020.
FIAF devotes a weekend to the rich output of Chantal Akerman, with screenings of the auteur’s films, panel discussions, and a special performance by her former partner, cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton. On Friday, FIAF will present Akerman’s last fiction film Almayer’s Folly (La Folie Almayer) followed by Q&A with Stanislas Merhar, who plays the title character in the 2011 film. Saturday’s program includes two additional screenings, panels co-conceived by French journalist Laure Adler, and Wieder-Atherton’s performance Chantal?, which melds live music with Akerman’s taped words and her short film "Blow Up My City" ("Saute ma ville").
FIAF:Talks Philanthropy Today — Private Wealth, Public Actions
Rob Reich, a professor of political science at Stanford University and author of Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better, joins Axelle Davezac, CEO of Fondation de France, and Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President for Program at the Ford Foundation, for a cross-cultural conversation on the relationship of philanthropy to government.