PARIS, 6 FEBRUARY 1934
I am telephoning you from a besieged fortress. No one can leave the Chamber of Deputies. The whole district on the south side of the river adjoining the Chamber is cordoned off by police, and as I speak thousands of rioters are attempting to break through the barricade of police vans on the Pont de la Concorde and get into the Chamber.
Founded in 1976, on the American model of the Oscars, the Cesar ceremony is designed to reward excellence of French cinema. Each year, film professionals and lovers of the 7th art await the fateful moment for winners, beautiful confirmations as revelations of the new generation.
The history of the César begins in 1974 when Georges Cravenne producer created the Academy of arts and techniques of cinema, commonly referred to as the Academy of Caesar. Consisting of personalities and professionals of the cinema, the Academy is designed to reward accomplishments and French cinematographic work on the model of the American Academy, by awarding a trophy called “César”. A single reproduction of the work created specially for this purpose by the sculptor César of the founding of the Academy.
The first ceremony, so-called “night of César”, therefore held in 1976 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, under the chairmanship of the actor Jean Gabin, a few months before his disappearance.
At this time, 13 statuettes were awarded; Today, they are the number of 20. For years, the César Academy welcomed many confirmed talents of French cinema (Jean Rochefort, Michel Serrault, Alain Delon, Michel Galabru, Gérard Depardieu, Romy Schneider, Simone Signoret, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani,…), but also propelled under the spotlight of the young revelations of the 7th art (Richard Anconina, Mathieu Kassovitz, Yvan Attal, Mathieu Almaric, Tahar Rahim, Sophie Marceau, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Paradis, Audrey Tautou, Julie Depardieu…), welcoming film technical teams and making vibrant tributes to missing celebrities.
This 2011 Edition takes place under the Presidency of the American actress Jodie Foster. Who will succeed the tsunami of “Prophet” of Jean-Jacques Annaud (9 Caesar in 2010) to top this year? Verdict Friday, February 25.
Lino Ventura opens 1977 César ceremony paying tribute to Jean Gabin:
Rock may be on its last legs in the UK, but France is en fête at the release of a new single by the country’s favourite rock’n'roller, a year after a near-death experience.
Johnny Hallyday, whose early career won him the sobriquet the French Elvis, has never found success on the British side of La Manche, but for 50 years he has been the most influential figure in French pop and rock.
Batman has battled many enemies but now has to face the anger of rightwing US bloggers furious that the comic book caped crusader has recruited a Muslim to run his crime-fighting franchise in Paris.
“One can love Céline without being an anti-Semite as one can love Proust without being a homosexual!” French President Nicolas Sarkozy quipped during a visit to India in 2008. While Sarkozy’s reasoning was peculiar, it nonetheless reflected a dilemma that many lovers and caretakers of French literature wrestle with: how, and even whether, to honour the late author Louis-Ferdinand Céline.
The writer of Journey to the End of the Night may the president’s favourite, but Céline’s name will not be included in this year’s liste des célébrations nationales, an annual honour-role marking significant anniversaries linked to France’s cultural heritage.
The writer’s literary genius is not in question. But 50 years after Céline’s death, his brazen anti-Semitism and support for France’s pro-Nazi Vichy government continue to cast a shadow on his groundbreaking body of work.
After a reported two days of calculated consideration, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand announced Friday that Céline would be barred from the list, which honours, among other people and events, the creation of France’s National Centre of Space Research, the first issue of the world-famous comic book series Asterix, and the birth of classical composer Franz Liszt.
“I welcome Frederic Mitterrand’s gesture,” Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), told France24.com. “I find it unthinkable that Céline be evoked as an example to celebrate. When the pen is despicable, so is the writer.”
A running controversy
Louis-Ferdinand Céline, who died on July 1, 1961, is France’s most widely-read author after Marcel Proust. He rose to prominence in the 1930s, but wrote viciously anti-Semitic essays during the rise of Nazi Germany.
He collaborated with the Vichy regime and was exiled after France’s liberation, but returned home in 1951 after being granted amnesty.
In the days before the controversial writer was excluded from the culture tribute, Serge Klarsfeld, the president of the Association of Sons and Daughters of Jews Deported from France (FFDJF), wrote: “Céline’s talent as a writer should not let us to forget the man who appealed for the murder of Jews during the occupation.”
Like the CRIF, the FFDJF also hailed Mitterrand’s decision. Céline’s censure in 2011, however, did not win unanimous praise in France.
Following the statements made by Jewish groups, several academics and writers urged the culture minister not mix Céline “the literary genius” with Céline “the anti-Semitic bastard.”
Henri Godard, one of France’s leading specialists on Céline, told us that the decision, “Looks like censorship, even if Céline is an immensely difficult case.”
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31 December marks the last day of the year and the beginning of an endless night filled with joy and good humour. The feast of “Saint-Sylvestre Eve”, or “eve of the day of the year”, is generally organised between friends, family, eager to make the famous sentence: “good year.”
By France, the day of the year has not always been 1 January. In the sixth and seventh centuries, in many provinces, the day of the year was celebrated on 1st March. During the reign of Charlemagne in the 9th century, the year began on Christmas. Kings capétiens time from the 10th century, year started on Easter day. It is only since 1564 the new year begins January 1. Indeed, in the Roussillon edict of August 9, 1564, King Charles IX decides to fix the beginning of the year 1 January to standardize the calendar of the Kingdom.
But who was Sylvestre?
The Saint celebrated 31 December has no connection with the transition to the new year. This is just a coincidence in the Gregorian calendar. Sylvestre was 33rd Pope. Roman origin, he occupied the throne of Saint Peter for almost twenty years (314-335). It was under his reign the Christianity was recognized as a religion of the Roman Empire, with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine I. Sylvestre thus had the heavy responsibility of organizing the Church finally peaceful society.
A vigil until midnight, then the effusion of joy
Historically, custom wants it celebrates the arrival of the new year with friends, ensuring until midnight for a festive dinner. The twelfth hit midnight day is momentarily suspended time for guests to make wishes for the year that commence… and sometimes complete fort late at night.
The next day, day of the year, families and friends to exchange vows and take good resolutions for the coming year. Unlike many countries, France, it is customary to introduce his vows until the 3rd week of January.
The development of trade in the 17th century to acquire more rare gems and provides any momentum France jewellery. This is however only at the dawn of the French Revolution Chaumet was born, one of the most famous Jewellers for the world. Other also famous signs will follow suit.
Pete Doherty is to star as 19th-century French poet Alfred de Musset.
It could have been the details of his £250-a-day drug addiction, or the pictures of his crack pipe in the tabloids. It could have been the many appearances he made in court, or the ones he failed to make on stage. Whatever the cause, one thing’s for sure: between Britain and Pete Doherty, it’s been over for some time.
But, as he may say now: tant pis. For Doherty has found a new love – and this time the feeling’s mutual. Across the Channel, the shambolic singer is greeted not with snorts of derision but with murmurs of awe. In France, Doherty has found his spiritual home.
Lindsay Lohan is in Paris, France, with her younger sister, Ali. The Mean Girl star was recently in Singapore, where she hosted the F1 Rocks event and apparently had a bit of a scene with the one and only Beyonce.
It is said that Beyonce was upset that LiLo had the larger dressing room and as the “Single Ladies” singer was the bigger star at the event, she felt she deserved the bigger room.
Of course Beyonce got what she wanted (who’s going to say “no way” to Jay-Z?) and now Lindsay is in France for the Ungaro fashion show. So it looks like she’s put the whole dressing room mishap behind her.
Madonna may be about to follow in the steps of Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson and Uma Thurman as the latest face of French luxury brand Louis Vuitton, according to Style.com
The Material Grandma has reportedly signed on as the face of the fashion giant’s Spring 2009 campaign, and a superstar team has been lined-up for the collaboration.
Celebrity fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott have reportedly already shot the advertisements for the Spring 2009 project.