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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You can be there for democracy. . . Vive le Festival Albertine 2018!

author against a bookshelf

Journalist Masha Gessen curates provocative 2018 Festival Albertine.

“To be a democracy,” writes courageous and prodigious journalist, Masha Gessen, “a country has to be engaged in the pursuit of imagining a democracy. In times of crisis of democracy . . . we need to be doing the work of imagining.

“The insistence that ‘it can’t happen here,’ betrays a failure of the imagination,” counters Russian-American Gessen. “The experience of seeing a country turn away from democracy trains the imagination to know that ‘it’ can happen anywhere. But the demagogue dangles a carrot for the imagination: he traffics in what the social psychologist Erich Fromm called “the imaginary past.” The antidote for the appeal of the imaginary past is a vision of a glorious future, and this is where we fail… [T]ragically.” As we see – daily.

“. . . Can we come back from tragic failure?” At the behest of the French Embassy Cultural Services and their Albertine bookstore, Gessen imagined six Festival programs to inspire our vital effort.

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