Feb 28 2012
Jan 25 2012
BONNE ANNEE !!! MEILLEURS VOEUX !!!
Welcome back and best wishes for this new year!
I’d like to include a few different things in this post, starting with a few pictures of the events we had at the end of last semester, and with a couple of announcements regarding this week and this semester.
First, pictures of our CHESTNUT ROASTING and FRENCH DANCE MUSIC NIGHT on Dec 8th!!!
This semester, a French comedy, “Les Fourberies de Scapin”, will be performed by Willamette students on March 1st-4th (8pm March 1st-3rd, 2pm March 4th, duration about an hour, free entrance, in Kaneko Auditorium). The play will be in French but with a lot of mimes and some English narration. We’re working a lot on the visual and we intend to make it very enjoyable for people who do not speak a word of French – and we’re having a lot of fun rehearsing this month. To give you an idea of what it could look like, here are a couple of pictures of the show we had two years ago when I was working on the same play, in New Zealand:
Tomorrow’s movie for the FRENCH MOVIE NIGHTS, after “Le Père Noël est une ordure” last week, will be “MOULIN ROUGE”, in English (let’s take it slow to begin the semester):
Finally, “The Artist”, one of the latest French movies, with Jean Dujardin, has recently won three Golden Globes and has ten nominations for an Oscar next month. It is currently shown at Salem Cinema on Broadway. Here is a link to the Salem Cinema website and the trailer for “The Artist”:
Nov 19 2011
We’re already almost there! Time is flying so fast that it is difficult to keep track of all the events that you might attend before the finals. So here it is: a recap’ of some of the latest French events, and a few announcements for the rest of this semester!
National French Week: November 7th – November 14th
During the whole week, French students and members of the faculty of the College of Liberal Arts could answer questions and earn points: by the end of the week, we had two fantastic winners who could enjoy some free drinks or food at the Bistro! We learnt about French engraving, French architecture, Andorran and French history, and Belgian comics!
On Monday, a round-table event on the Euro-crisis, with Professor Michael Marks and Professor Yan Liang, gathered a great audience of students and faculty members, with questions about economics and politics regarding the current situation in Europe and its possible evolutions.
On Tuesday, “Les Choristes” was shown during our weekly movie night: half of you already loved it before the showing. The other half had not seen it yet but, by the end of the movie, I think that there was a consensus on the film’s awesomeness.
On Wednesday, French table at Goudy: the “coq au vin” was delicious !
On Thursday, French cooking at WISH! As you can see from the pictures, we had a lot of fun and even invented our own “chocolate soupe” (next time, the mousse will work)! On the menu, we had “tapenade” (two bread spreads, with green and dark olives, from the South of France), a modified version of quiche lorraine (from the North East of France), some gratin dauphinois (au gratin potatoes with garlic and crème fraîche, from the Dauphiné, a region close to Lyon which used to belong to the King’s son, who was also known as “le Dauphin” – “the Dolphin”), some crêpes (the famous thin pancakes from Brittany), and a chocolate dessert which was close enough to “mousse au chocolat”. We also had some “sirop de fraise”, a popular non-alcoholic drink, on the table. Yummy!
All the recipes and pictures will be on this brand new website very soon: http://blog.willamette.edu/~llc_international_kitchen/ !
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas: celebrating winter the French way
We only have three weeks between Thanksgiving and the finals, but there is A LOT going on during these three weeks !
Event #1: AUDITIONS FOR THE FRENCH PLAY, “Les Fourberies de Scapin” (November 30th, WLT B21, 4:10pm).
“Les Fourberies” is a comedy by Molière, and we intend to make it as fun as possible, both for the actors and for the audience. We’d like to perform in mimes and in French, with possibly some subtitles as well. We’re thinking of something dynamic, over-the-top, and as ridiculous as possible to make the audience laugh. Elisabeth Maiano and I are working on it together at the moment, and we’re looking forward to meeting a wonderful and extraordinary cast (you?) on November 30th. The performances would take place in the spring, either in mid-February or in early March.
Event #2: INTERNATIONAL KARAOKE NIGHT !!! (December 6th, in Kaneko Commons)
This is your chance to be an international star! You will get an email very soon with more information and French songs on which you can practice (we’ll have a very large choice). There might be some training sessions before the actual karaoke night. The Spanish, German, Chinese and Japanese assistants are also all selecting songs at the moment: we’re looking to make this a big event!
Event #3: FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS ! (December 8th)
December 8th, in Lyon, is the date of the festival of lights! The entire city is illuminated with candles and huge light and sound effects. Crowds come from all over Europe and fill the streets, where some people give away roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. We already have the chestnuts: they will be roasted on the grils located behind Montag Den and given freely to everyone! We won’t give wine, but we can give songs! We’ll have a time before December 8th to learn French Christmas carols and we can share them with the rest of the campus on that day! In the evening, it will be time to relax with some music, soft drinks and snacks in Montag!
Also, don’t forget our last movie night of the semester, this November 30th at 7:30pm in WLT B21: “Huit Femmes” (see previous article for the trailers). The movie nights might come back with a Christmas movie after the winter break, to make the beginning of the Spring semester feel like a continuation of the holiday!
Nov 05 2011
Because of Thanksgiving, we’ll only have three movies this month, but they are GREAT!
We’ll start this TUESDAY, Nov. 8th, with “The Chorus” (“Les Choristes”), one of the cutest and most moving movies I’ve ever seen. To give you an idea, I’d say it’s the same kind of movie as “Amélie”, except much better. It’s not as “different” as “Amélie”, but it is a very powerful feel-good movie. “The Chorus”, starring Gérard Jugnot and Jean-Baptiste Maunier (from Lyon!), tells the story of an inspired music teacher arriving in a strict boarding school for boys in the first half of the twentieth century. Music is going to change the lives of the boys, as the school undergoes drastic changes, and as some characters finally find what they’d been looking for for years. “The Chorus” was incredibly successful on a worldwide scale, it has wonderful music and it was even nominated for an Oscar a few years ago. A must-see ! (trailer at the end of this article)
The week after, on Wednesday, November 16th, I’ll be showing “The American” (“L’Américain”), the story of Francis Farge, a Frenchman who is convinced that he was born in the wrong place. His absolute dream is to become an American citizen but the US authorities do not see that as a good idea. Francis and his lawyer Edouard Barnier (aka “Eddy”) will have to prove to everyone that he is truly more American than French, even if that means transforming a whole neighborhood into “The Almost 51st State”. See the trailer, in French, at the end of the article.
Finally, we’ll skip Thanksgiving’s week and have our last movie of the month on November 30th (Wednesday). “Eight Women” (“Huit Femmes”) is worth being seen because it is an adaptation of the game “Clue” AND a musical at the same time. One man has been murdered. Eight women, trapped inside the house where the crime was committed, become immediate suspects. Who is the killer? And what secrets are they all hiding? See the trailer and a song from the movie below.
ALL THE MOVIES ARE SHOWN AT 7:30pm, IN WLT B21. They all come with subtitles, and FREE DRINKS AND SNACKS!
Nov 05 2011
Last Thursday, five students of Willamette University went up to Portland to attend a seminar on the debate currently shaking the world of French cheese-makers: should raw milk be replaced by pasteurized milk (reputed to be safer but to restrict the variety of cheese tastes) in the making of French cheese?
We left in the afternoon, picking up a van at 4:30 and working our way up Interstate 5 to Portland. Thanks to the wonderful skills of the entire crew, we quickly found a parking lot just one block away from the luxurious Downtown Marriott Hotel, where the seminar was to take place. We entered the lobby, went to the front desk and were directed to “Salons A through C”, where refreshments were freely available as we waited for the other guests to arrive.
After a few minutes, we entered the salon and became a part of “the wonderful cheese community” of Portland: cheese-makers, aficionados, teachers, journalists, etc. The people present were very diverse and came from very different horizons. The event in itself was organized by Oregon State University, who have been revitalizing their local dairy plant for the past few years. As part of this process, and in order to bring an international presence closer to their students, Oregon State asked French cheese maker Sébastien Roustel to become their first “cheese maker in residence”, for the year 2011-2012. For about an hour, Mr Roustel introduced the difficult processes of cheese making to us.
In about an hour, we learnt, among many other things, that:
- about 15% of French cheese is made with raw milk (mainly DPO cheese, which is more expensive because of its particular taste), and as European regulations tend to restrict the use of raw milk, two markets seem to appear: one of “commodity cheese”, with pasteurized cheese, and one of “cheese for specialists or amateurs”, with mostly raw milk;
- “pasteurized” in France is not the same as “pasteurized” in America: when 104°F are enough for a French cheese-maker, you will legally need 160°F if you’re an American cheese-maker…
- in the past ten years, the number of cheese-makers in Oregon has been multiplied by five: it is hoped that the industry of cheese will follow that of wine in the next few years. In 2011, several Oregon cheeses have won the title of “Best Cheese in America”, and some cheese-makers have opened “tasting facilities” for tourists.
After the presentation came the great finale: CHEESE TASTING ! Platters were brought to each table, with pieces of cheese carefully lined up next to little stickers with numbers, and we all acted as testers in a little experiment. We tried four different kinds of cheese (among them, gouda, cheddar and blue cheese), in their pasteurized and non-pasteurized versions, and had to tell which version we preferred. The first show of hands gave a clear advantage to raw cheese, which was confirmed when we all tasted the gouda, in raw and pasteurized versions. But the pasteurized cheddar and blue cheese restaured a balance, and even though there was still a slight advantage for the raw cheese, things were not far from being even. We were left to finish our platters, and were finally given mints (how thoughtful!) before leaving the room. The drive home went well, and we all went back to our lives, stepping out of the surprisingly wide world of Cheese.
Oct 10 2011
Hello everyone !
Halloween is getting closer, and the next four French Movie Nights will gradually take you there !
We’ll start the month with a story full of humour and adventures in Paris in the early 20th century: Adèle Blanc-Sec, who could be described as a French and feminine version of Indiana Jones, will be confronted to the waking up of mummies and dinosaurs that shouldn’t have come back to life !
One week later, we’ll rediscover a fairy-tale that is supposed to take place in France, in a dark forest, in a dark castle, where beauty and monstruosity are sometimes not that different from each other. Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” will also be the first Black & White movie this year !
Right before Halloween, we’ll step back to the present and witness the reunion of two highschool friends in “With a friend like Harry…” If your best friend was a talented writer too busy taking care of his family to use his talent, how far would you be ready to go to get him to write again?
And finally, we’ll celebrate Halloween a bit longer with “Pars Vite et Reviens Tard” (“Have Mercy on Us All”) on November 2nd… People are dying in contemporary Paris, and all the clues tend to suggest the impossible: the return of the Black Plague!
To help you have a better idea of the four movies, here are some trailers:
The last two trailers don’t have subtitles, but of course the movies will have them !
So, to sum it all up:
– When ? On Wednesday evenings, at 7:30PM.
– Where ? WLT 21 (the room with the couch!)
– What ? AWESOME MOVIES, FREE SNACKS AND DRINKS, AND LOTS OF AMAZING PEOPLE !!!
SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY !
Oct 02 2011
This Wednesday, at 7:30PM, in SML B17 (the auditorium in the basement of Smullin), the Departments of French, German and Spanish join forces to present a wonderful movie about international travels and exchange students in Europe !
“L’auberge espagnole”, also known as “The Spanish Apartment”, “Casa de Locos”, “Pot Luck” or “Barcelona für ein Jahr”, is a catchy movie about a French student who goes on an exchange program in Barcelona. Long-distance relationship, discovery of a new culture, elaboration of new friendships, transformation of the self… This movie takes you to Barcelona with the characters, who come from everywhere in Europe, and gets you to experience, for about two hours, the intensity of the life of an exchange student in Europe.
Whether you are planning to travel or not, this is a great opportunity to spend a very good evening with your friends, and to imagine or to recognize all the situations you might (have) encounter(ed) some day. Plus, there will be free snacks and beverages, and probably many people as the three departments are advertising the movie.
The location should be announced some time tomorrow: I’ll update this post and the announcement on WISE.
To help you wait till Wednesday, here is the TRAILER :
I love this movie, even though the French character is not my favorite, and I think it’s really worth seeing it. Really. And the music is so catchy that it’s been stuck in my mind the entire week-end (but I don’t mind it). So, this Wednesday, don’t miss the opportunity of having great time !
Sep 27 2011
“Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” (in English, “Welcome to the Sticks”) is the most successful French comedy so far, with about a quarter of the population in France rushing to movie theatres to enjoy an hour and a half of laughs and tears at the same time.
I will let Julia Frey, in her article entitled “Pang and Ch’tis”, introduce the movie to you:
“Currently, the wildly successful comedy Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis -pronounced sh-tee- (Welcome to the Sticks), has sold more tickets than any French-made film in history, including France’s most expensive film to date, Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques. At this writing, approximately 25 percent of France has been to see this gentil (charming) farce about a postal clerk from sunny Provence forcibly relocated to a small town in France’s far north, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region along the Belgian border. Shot in Bergues (pronounced “berk“-which is also slang for “yuck”-pop. 4,200), not far from Dunkerque, it uses gags about torrential rains starting at the boundary and hard-drinking, unemployed rednecks who eat bread slathered in stinky cheese dipped in chicory-flavored coffee, while speaking an incomprehensible dialect called Ch’timi, whence their nickname, “les Ch’tis“. They replace “s” with “ch” (you know that singer Chtevie Wonder?), call their buddies “biloute” (regularly confused with biroute, slang for the male sex organ) and end every sentence with hein? (huh? pronounced a little like a duck quacking). All this slapstick has an underlying message: le Nord can be a wonderful place. “People arrive in tears”, someone says, “and leave in tears”. ”
An American version of the movie was planned to be shot (the story would have been about a New Yorker being sent to a small town in Texas), and Eddie Murphy was thought of as embodying the main character, but it seems that the project has been abandonned recently. However, I hear that the concept had been exported to Italy and other European countries.
Anyway, here is the trailer:
Once again, this is a feel-good movie, a good way to relax at the end of a long week, and of course there will be free snacks and beverages!!!
See you on Thursday, in WLT 21, at 7:30PM !
Sep 17 2011
This Thursday, come and enjoy a classic French movie: “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain”, also known as “Amélie” !
Released in 2001, “Amélie” takes us to the heart of Montmartre and of its inhabitants, whom we discover through the eyes of young Amélie Poulain. Let your imagination wander with the wonderful music of Yann Tiersen and discover “typical Paris” – except much kinder, some would argue, thanks to the magic operated by Amélie’s good heart. Plunge into your own memories and marvel at the extraordinary things that can happen in one’s life. Solve mysteries, become an anonymous hero, find impossible love and make it possible…
“Amélie” is the kind of movie you’ll want to make the end of the week easier. Just relax in the cosy room WLT 21 (there’s a couch and comfortable chairs), and enjoy the FREE popcorn and soft drinks!
Where: WLT 21, the “secret room” of the Smullin/Walton building (when you pass Smullin’s main entrance, go right and left, to the South-East corner of the building, and take the stairs to the basement).
When: this Thursday, 22nd of September, at 7:30 PM.
Here is a trailer, for those of you who have not seen it yet:
See you on Thursday !
Sep 09 2011
En lisant ce titre, deux questions viennent immédiatement à l’esprit: Qu’est-ce que les Français n’oublieront jamais ? Qui craint que les Français soient frappés d’amnésie collective ?
En réponse à la première question, il suffit de dire que les Français n’oublieront jamais l’aide de leurs amis américains pendant deux guerres mondiales. L’Amérique a en effet consenti d’énormes sacrifices pour libérer la France et le reste de l’Europe du joug nazi. Pour s’en rendre compte, il suffit de visiter les nombreux cimetières militaires américains qui constellent l’hexagone. En Normandie par exemple, 10.000 GI’s reposent au seul cimetière d’Omaha Beach.
La réponse à la seconde question est moins évidente. Pour y répondre, il faut retourner huit ans en arrière. Le 10 février 2003, on pouvait lire à la une du New York Post : « They died for France but France has forgotten » (Ils sont morts pour la France mais la France a oublié). Cette allusion à la soi-disant ingratitude de la France est devenue un leitmotiv dans la bouche de nombreux politiciens, dans les médias et la presse américaine, en particulier la presse conservatrice. Un sentiment anti-français s’est répandu dans tout le pays. On ne mangeait plus de « French fries » mais des « freedom fries », ce qui peut faire sourire aujourd’hui, étant donné que ce sont les Belges et non pas les Français qui ont inventé les frites.
Pourquoi cette vague anti-française a-t-elle déferlé sur l’Amérique ? Tout simplement parce que le gouvernement français de l’époque a refusé de s’engager dans la guerre en Irak comme le souhaitait la Maison Blanche. C’est pour combattre ce sentiment anti-français qu’a été créée en 2003 l’association franco-new yorkaise « The French will never forget ».
Fondée par quatre Français expatriés depuis de longues années aux Etats-Unis, cette association s’est distinguée à plusieurs reprises. Ainsi le 4 juillet 2003, 60.522 roses rouges ont été déposées sur les tombes des soldats américains qui reposent dans les 11 cimetières militaires en France. Quatre ans plus tard, en 2007, l’association a rassemblé 2.500 personnes à Omaha Beach pour former une chaîne humaine épelant sur le sable « France will never forget – Thank you America ». Une de nos anciennes étudiantes qui était en France dans le cadre des échanges d’assistants de langue nous a dit avoir participé à cette chaîne humaine. Elle nous a confié qu’elle n’oublierait jamais cette expérience.
A l’approche du dixième anniversaire des attentats du 11 septembre, l’association franco-new yorkaise a vu grand, comme à son habitude. En hommage aux victimes et aux héros du 11 septembre, une cérémonie du souvenir, qui sera synchronisée sur la cérémonie prévue à New York, débutera à Paris à partir de 14h 46, soit 8h 46, heure du premier impact dans la tour Nord du World Trade Center. Avec la Tour Eiffel pour toile de fond, une reproduction des tours jumelles sera érigée sur la place du Trocadéro, devant le Palais de Chaillot à Paris. La première tour sera couverte des noms des 3000 victimes. La seconde tour sera tapissée de milliers de messages de sympathie envoyés sur Facebook par des Français résidant en France et aux Etats-Unis.
Pendant la cérémonie de commémoration, des discours, des lectures et des vidéos feront revivre la tragédie qui a endeuillé New York il y a dix ans. Une minute de silence sera observée aux heures exactes où les avions détournés ont percuté les tours jumelles et au moment où elles se sont écroulées. La journée se terminera par une veillée du souvenir avec hommage musical sur l’esplanade des Droits de l’Homme.
« Le plus grand événement européen de commémoration des attentats du World Trade Center » (Le Figaro, 30 août, 2011)
De nombreux officiels sont attendus à Paris, parmi lesquels l’Ambassadeur des Etats-Unis en France, le Maire de Paris ainsi qu’un des soldats du feu new yorkais qui sera l’invité d’honneur. Il est à espérer que de nombreux visiteurs américains de passage à Paris auront l’occasion d’assister aux cérémonies et pourront constater que, bien que la France soit parfois un allié difficile, elle reste une amie fidèle.