« Who owns culture ? – On appreciation, adaptation and appropriation »

Open to everyone interested in discussing philosophical issues in an informal setting, the Institut’s Café Philo meets every Saturday. 
Send an email to books@institutfrancais.org.uk if you wish to take part in this philosophical Zoom session, and details will be sent to you. 

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© LSDM Meshri

Cross Channel Theatre is thrilled to introduce this rehearsed staged reading of Fists, by the established French writer Pauline Peyrade, translated and directed by Keziah Serreau, read by Alex Austin, Akiya Henry and Kandaka Moore.

Translated and directed by Keziah Serreau, Pauline Peyrade’s play takes us through five moments of an abusive relationship, from the first meeting to the break up. Highly rhythmic and partly written like an electro score, Fists was originally conceived for a musician, an actor and a circus performer. Each moment is an attempt to flee from obsession and dependence and to fight to reclaim one's self. To exhaust oneself in order to reawaken, to destroy to rebuild, to reinvent to understand and to distance in order to get closer to oneself. Each experience explores a heightened state that reveals the relentless strength of refusal and resistance that we carry deep within us, like an eye that never lowers its gaze, like a strongly clasped fist.

Directed by Keziah Serreau

Akiya Henry will read ME
Kandaka Moore will read YOU
Alex Austin will read HIM

As part of Cross Channel Theatre - The Best of French New Writing

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Pauline Peyrade

© J. Foley

On 8 March 2008, the Italian artist Pippa Bacca undertook an unusual and symbolic journey: her aim was to promote the cause of peace by hitchhiking from Milan to Jerusalem, wearing a white wedding dress.  In telling the young woman’s story, which overwhelms her and inexorably draws her in, Nathalie Léger recounts the different stages of her research and strikes upon something fundamental within Bacca’s performance: the desire to remedy the unfathomable nature of violence and war.

Nathalie Léger on the strong female figures that inspire her:

Writer and critic Jonathan Gibbs reviews The White Dress:

Reading of The White Dress by Natasha Lehrer:

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Related / Latest Publication:
The White dress (Les Fugitives, 2020)

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Nathalie Léger Jonathan Gibbs Natasha Lehrer

Calling all comic books fans, drawing dilettantes and budding artists to celebrate #BD2020! Join us for an online Drink & Draw Live Session with graphic novel illustrator Sébastien Vassant and drown your lockdown sorrows with pens, paper and a drink on the side. Known primarily for his non-fiction comic books, Sébastien will give a brief presentation of his work then will ask participants to draw on three subjects of his choice, with the best drawings published on our social networks. All welcome.

£7, conc. £5 | 1h | In English
To get the link, send an e-mail to : library@institutfrancais.org.uk

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Related / Latest Publications:
Les heures passées à contempler la mère (Futuropolis, 2019)
Mai 68: la veille du grand soir (Seuil Delcourt, 2018)
Histoire dessinée de la Guerre d'Algérie (Seuil, 2016)

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Sébastien Vassant

2020 is the Year or the French comics in France. Why not extend it to the UK? French and British do share a common love for comics. Let’s follow young Rachel Cohen who had to hide under the name of Catherine Colin during WWII in Julia Billet's heart-wrenching story or embark on an environmentalist ego-trip to the countryside with Henry David Thoreau and Cédric Taling – both journeys happening under the patronage of critic Paul Gravett, who will share his reviews of their books. 

Cédric Taling on Thoreau and Me:

Thoreau and Me: Video Review by Paul Gravett:

Catherine’s War Reviewed by Paul Gravett:

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Related / Latest Publications:
Catherine’s War translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger (Harper Collins, 2020) 
Thoreau and me (SelfMadeHero, 2020)

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Paul Gravett Cédric Taling

Roland Barthes was a central figure in the thought of his time, but he was also something of an outsider. Forty years after his death, Brian Dillon will explain why he, who « didn’t bother to be modern » can now and maybe more than ever speak to us, readers of the 21st century. 

Related / Latest Publication:
Essayism (Fitzcarraldo)

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Brian Dillon Roland Barthes

© Philippe Matsas

In his novel, Tram 83, Mujila shows a war-torn African city-state where tourists, students, ex-pats and locals have only one desire: to make a fortune by exploiting the wealth of the country. As soon as night falls, they go out to get drunk in Tram 83, the only club of the city. A gold rush as cynical as it is comical.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila Exclusive Interview:

Fiston Mwanza Mujila and Translator Roland Glasser read an excerpt of Tram 83:

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Related / Latest Publication:
Tram 83, translated by Roland Glasser (Jacaranda, 2015)

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Fiston Mwanza Mujila Roland Glasser

Writer and poet Nii Ayikwei Parkes will talk about Alain Mabanckou’s latest novel to be published in English: The Death of Comrade President. Starting as a tender, wry portrait of an ordinary Congolese family, Alain Mabanckou quickly expands the scope of his story into a powerful examination of colonialism, decolonisation and dead ends of the African continent.

Reading in English by David Mildon:

Reading in French by David Mildon:

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Related / Latest Publication:
The Death of Comrade President, translated by Helen Stevenson (Serpent’s Tail, 2020)

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Nii Ayikwei Parkes Alain Mabanckou David Mildon 

© Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

USA | 2019 | 120 mins | dir. dir. Timothy Greenfield- Sanders | doc | in English   

Offering an artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the legendary writer and Nobel prize-winner Toni Morrison, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s documentary draws back from her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio to 1970s-era book tours with Muhammad Ali, from the front lines with Angela Davis to her own riverfront writing room, on an exploration of race, America, history and the human condition.

Watch now on modernfilms.com and part of the proceeds will go to an indie cinema of your choice. Choose Ciné Lumière from the drop down menu while purchasing, and support our cinema during this difficult time!

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Our Monthly reading group will discuss Notre-Dame du Nil (Our Lady of the Nile, translated by Melanie Mauthner at Archipelago Books) and other works by Scholastique Mukasonga.

Scholastique Mukasonga's novel Our Lady of the Nile, adapted for the screen by Goncourt Prize-winning author and filmmaker, Atiq Rahimi, immerses you into an elite Catholic boarding school for young women perched on the ridge of the Nile, fifteen years before the Rwandan genocide. And share your reading impressions and thoughts about Scholastique Mukasonga’s books in an online discussion with other literature’s lovers. 


Related / Latest Publication:
Our Lady of the Nile (Archipelago Books, 2014)

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Scholastique Mukasonga