Your Frenchy Events in NYC

Mem of War posterSet in 1944 Paris, “Memoir of War” resonates now

Novelist Marguerite Duras’s Hiroshima Mon Amour scenario, directed by Alain Resnais (1959), was the first French film to leave a permanent mark on my psyche. Many years later, Duras authored a semi-autobiographical story of the German occupation of Paris, La Douleur (1985) that seems to have had a similarly durable effect on director Emmanuel Finkiel. An effect he tried and – fortunately – failed to resist. “I remember telling myself: I will never dare to adapt La Douleur!” he told an interviewer.* I saw Finkiel’s film version of La Douleur (2017) at a Paris premiere, and now, titled Memoir of War, you can see it at either of two top NYC film venues.


In a haunting adaptation of her semi-autobiographical novel, already famous author Marguerite Duras (consummately interpreted by Mélanie Thierry) must navigate the Resistance and the Gestapo to find her imprisoned husband. His deportation to Dachau propels her into a desperate high-risk game of psychological cat and mouse with a Nazi collaborator (Benoît Magimel is beyond duplicitous). But as the months wear on without word, Marguerite must begin the process of confronting the unimaginable. Using subtly expressionistic images and voiceover passages of Duras’s writing, director Emmanuel Finkiel evokes the inner world of one of France’s most cherished contemporary writers. READ MORE

Shell Shocked movie posterHear author Gérôme Truc on Shell-shocked: The Social Response to Terrorist Attacks

Whenever they occur, terrorist attacks elicit expressions of grief and solidarity from millions of people around the world. Why do so many feel intimately connected to events they may not have experienced personally? Sociologist Gérôme Truc draws from his field work in cities targeted by terrorism to better understand the impact of terrorism on contemporary societies. READ MORE



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Artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002)

Artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) grew up partly in New York City, I was surprised to learn while researching her Nana sculptures. The beautiful Frenchie teenager attended some of my native city’s toniest private schools . . . but not for long; too rebellious. As her art evolved, success was quick to catch up. In the spring of 1968, a party of Niki’s monumental fiberglass Nanas took up residence in the Conservatory Garden of Central Park. Sharing the formal greenspace with the Nanas — seeming to tease them, according to some observers — were bristly metal “machines” constructed by Niki’s partner in art, Jean Tinguely. After six or so months, the dazzling Nanas would abandon Central Park — but they stayed with me. I’m a sentimental fan of the Paris Nanas, that (once again, with husband Tinguely’s works) adorn the Stravinsky Fountain adjacent to the Centre Pompidou museum. A wintry photo pilgrimage to the fountain pool by GallicFever master photographer Nathalie Prébende produced this satisfyingly brash Nana shot for our GF slide show.

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