Archive for the ‘French Culture’ Category

To pirate or not to pirate–that is the question   Leave a comment

Series 7 of Un Village Français aired last year.  France 3 divided it into two parts the same way they did series 6, which is really annoying on several fronts.
UVF 5a
The first being that we find out what happens at the end of Series 5, which ends with an outdoor production of a play being raided by the Gestapo. It is safe to assume that things didn’t work out too well for our thespian members of the Maquis who decided that the show must go on from the picture to the left below.

I imagine Mueller having his troops give them a standing ovation before machinegunning them on the spot.UVF1

But, it’s taken a couple of series to learn their fate.  Not to mention find out what happens to the rest of the inhabitants of Villeneuve.

But there is a big drawback in that it seems this series is hard to find.  Although I did come up with a pirated copy of Series 7. And the subtitles are available at http://www.addic7ed.com.  I don’t feel right buying the pirated copy, but I also don’t like having to pay as much as the “official” English releases can cost, which really haven’t kept up with where the show is.

I can only imagine that France 3 will again release all of Series 7 on DVD after all the episodes have aired.  That will be sometime this autumn.

Not sure I can hold out that long.

(Actually, this is available on a couple of streaming services which specialise in the type of non-US, furren language programming I like: e.g., mhzchoice.com. and Amazon. I’ve signed up for a couple of these services since I don’t watch broadcast TV. I prefer to be my own programming director)

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-GeorgesI want to push my fav character from black history, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, since this is black history month.

OK, I want to push my fav character from black history, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, since this is black history month, and I just posted that MTV video on the subject.

A short and abbreviated summary of is accomplishments focusing on his musical talents:

Born in Guadeloupe, he was the son of George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy planter, and Nanon, his African slave. Among his many accomplishments he was a champion fencer, a virtuoso violinist and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. During the French Revolution, Saint-Georges was colonel of the Légion St.-Georges, the first all-black regiment in Europe, fighting on the side of the Republic.
Not sure how much about him is factual and how much his reputation has been fictionalised. He has been called the “black Mozart”, which kind of denigrates his abilities as a musician to be compared to Mozart. His musical abilities were eclipsed by his swordsmanship until François Gossec dedicated a set of six Trios to Saint Georges in 1766 that led to the revealation that the famous swordsman also played the violin. Some of the most important musicians in Europe contributed and respected the Chevlier’s musical abilities.  Dedications in Gossec’s and violinist Antonio Lolli concertis that were also dedicated to the Chevalier suggest that Lolli polished his violin technique and Gossec was his composition teacher. There is no basis to the not always reliable François-Joseph Fétis’ claim that Saint-Georges studied violin with Jean-Marie Leclair, however similar traits in technique indicate Pierre Gaviniès as one of his mentors.
In 1769, the Parisian public was amazed to see Saint-Georges, the great fencer, among the violins of Gossec’s new orchestra, Le Concert des Amateurs. Two years later he became its concertmaster, and in 1772 he created a sensation with his debut as a soloist, playing his first two violin concertos, Op. II, with Gossec conducting the orchestra. “These concertos were performed last winter at a concert of the Amateurs by the author himself, who received great applause as much for their performance as for their composition.”
According to another source, “The celebrated Saint-Georges, mulatto fencer [and] violinist, created a sensation in Paris … [when] two years later … at the Concert Spirituel, he was appreciated not as much for his compositions as for his performances, enrapturing especially the feminine members of his audience.”

In 1773, when Gossec took over the direction of the prestigious but troubled Concert Spirituel, he designated Saint-Georges as his successor as director of the Concert des Amateurs. Less than two years under his direction, “Performing with great precision and delicate nuances [the Amateurs] became the best orchestra for symphonies in Paris, and perhaps in all of Europe.

In 1781, due to the massive financial losses incurred by its patrons in shipping arms to the American Revolution, Saint Georges’s Concert des Amateurs had to be disbanded. Not one to let it go without a fight, Saint-Georges turned to his friend and admirer, Philippe D’Orléans, duc de Chartres, for help. In 1773 at age 26, Philippe was elected Grand Master of the ‘Grand Orient de France’ after uniting all the Masonic organizations in France. Responding to Saint-Georges’s plea, Philippe revived the orchestra as part of the Loge Olympique, an exclusive Freemason Lodge. Renamed Le Concert Olympique, with practically the same personnel, it performed in the grand salon of the Palais Royal. In 1785, Count D’Ogny, grandmaster of the Lodge and member of its cello section, authorized Saint-Georges to commission Haydn to compose six new symphonies for the “Concert Olympique.” Conducted by Saint-Georges, Haydn’s “Paris” symphonies were first performed at the Salle des Gardes-Suisses of the Tuileries, a much larger hall, in order to accommodate the huge public demand to hear Haydn’s new works.

 He has been portrayed in fiction. I thought I had posted about him being in the Nicolas Le Floch book/episode, Le dîner de Gueux (Beggars Banquet) where he is the champion of Louis XV in a fencing match. Not sure if some of his life has been “enhanced” by Roger de Beauvoir’s 1840 romantic novel about him called, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, or if it is truly as incredible without needing embellishments.  His musical talents are quite impressive, but he was more than just a musician.  The Chevalier was a man of his times in reality the way Nicolas Le Floch is in the fictional series.
Not sure why he is not better known other than he is “French”, but that shouldn’t detract on his reputation in modern times. It sure didn’t when he was alive.
The wikipedia article on him is quite impressive.

 

Who needs guns?

Ok, I know people in the US like to knock the French, but they did resist the Germans.  I’m not sure how similar other resistance and partisan groups armed themselves, but this turned up while doing research to learn more about the Maquis and FFI after watching Un Village Française

The following is from this page

 Everyday tools, turned weapons

PictureAmerican OSS and British SOE agents familiar with popular british weapons like the sten, helped train the french forces of interieur (more organized french offensive), as well as the parisians of the french resistance. Fast learners, the french took their battle to the streets no official contact just some slam bam and run attacks here in their, lowering the enemy moral, and making them more hesitant. Guns weren’t the only weapons the maquis used everyday people took up what they knew, wood axes, kitchen knives and even walking sticks became weapons. The ruthless Vichy helped Germans track down more jewish and communist citizens, so you can say they was a little extra incentive to band together and take back what was rightfully theirs. Brothers, Sisters, husbands and wives, neighbour v. neighbour, everyone with reason to pick up arms didn’t there was as much bloodshed in the city as german v. FFI as there was French v. French, weapons the same tools used just months before for hunting game and birds, used for freedom and liberation, the same used for murder and oppression. Weapons of vichy was there hope that one day this will as be over, that you will just wake up and all it was, was a bad bad dream, one word Hope, hope in their hearts, and a rifle in his hand, and a man or woman, is undefeatable, for no task big or small will stop him(or her), or his(her) dream from becoming a reality

Anyway, despite what gun nuts would like to promote, resistance was not limited by a lack of weaponry.  And having weapons also didn’t guarantee success.

Just ask the Germans!

laresistancegrundtumblr_mr80fcqH7d1spwf52o1_1280

Just curious about Geoffroy Thiebaut’s character in Braquo.

tve96082-2853-20091019-0Was the Braquo character Roland VogelJal001 modelled after the character Jal (in On the Frontiers) from The Christin-Mézières series Valérian: Agent Spatio-Temporel? I’ve got to admit that Geoffroy Thiebaut looks a hell of a lot like Jal prior to the third series of Braquo. I seriously wonder if somebody is a Christin-Mézières fan sneaking in a reference here.

Est-que le caractère  Roland Vogel a Braquo été modelé d’après le personnage de Jal (dans Sur le Fonrtiers) de la série Valérian: Spatio-Temporel Agent par Christin et Mézières? Je dois admettre que Geoffroy Thiebaut ressemble comme Jal avant la troisième saison de Braquo. Je me demande sérieusement si quelqu’un est un fan de Christin et Mézières placer  une référence ici.

I did send a message to Geoffroy Thiebaut’s official site asking about the similarity–will post any response.

See also:

Molly Shattuck should have taken the kid to France…

"Look at that interesting painting over there...!

“Oh, look at that interesting painting over there…!”

I still don’t think she did it, but the more I think she should have taken the kid to France when I think about what is alleged to have happened.  This is a riff on my previous post where I said:

 Hell, thinking about it, she could have afforded to fly her and the kid over to Paris on the Concorde and stay at a 5 star hotel in the day for a naughty weekend (15 is the age of consent in France according to Code Penale, Article 227-25): why would she snog him in a parking lot?

Seriously, she could have been as outrageous as she is alleged to have been but have gotten away with it.  Well, she would have to make it look as if they had a chance encounter to not run afoul of US law, but she could meet him at the Musée d’Orsay and steer him up to Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde.
She could say something erudite about it such as: “the ample, sensual brushstrokes and the use of colour recall Venetian painting. I find his use of sepia tones quite masterful. Don’t you?

Then, she could say “Tu peux me baiser si te veux…”  She could explain that she meant he could kiss her if there are any untoward (or unwanted) assumptions which come from that request since the word “baiser” can be taken a couple of ways. This was a malentendu caused by her ignorance of the French language (Oh, I should have said “Tu peux m’embrasser si te veux…” silly me.).

Tant pis if he declined the propositions since she could head to a clothing optional beach where she would receive what would appear to be a red carpet greeting until she realised it was men’s tongues hanging out since she is a canon (super nana?).

She would also have the option of picking up a local if the kid rebuffed her offer as well.  She could also have gone to Portugal (AOC is 14) or Spain (AOC is 13) if she was really intent on young talent.

If the kid had taken her up on her proposition and she brought her sprogs, the noises could be explained by her saying she was trying to get the proper French pronunciation of the number one. She was very happy when finally she got it right (un, un, un, un AHHHHHHHHH). [1]

Vive la France!

[1] An alternative explanation could be that they were discussing 20th Century music. The topic of authorship and female voices in electrovocal music came up.  Ms. Shattuck was merely performing Berio’s Visage as an example of that genre. (Yes, although this piece was composed as a radio programme, it can also be performed as a stage work. It is the musical setting of a ‘drama’ that has never been written.)

Another option would be to say they were doing an impression of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg.

I’m realising I’ve spent way too much time in Pays Francophone

Since I can catch that this is (a very good) parody of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin (amongst other French cultural references lately). And, this seems appropriate given that ‘Allo ‘Allo was a soft porn parody of Secret Army (I’ll confess that I watched episodes of ‘Allo Allo after watching Secret Army since SA is pretty heavy stuff).

Anyway, here is the original, which sounds like the soundtrack to a porn film (and if you are at all familiar with Serge Gainsbourg, you know he did some seriously weird shit).

With that, I’ll leave you to enjoy steak frites and a glass of vin rouge.