It’s been 18 years since Le French Festival made its debut and in that time it has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Malaysian calendar. It has grown from humble beginnings, with only a small collection of films, to a comprehensive cultural exchange that doubles as a platform for expression between Malaysia and France.
Le French Festival is now the largest foreign cultural festival in Malaysia and the 2019 edition is set to once again immerse the capital in all things French via an eclectic programme that takes in cinema, performing arts, music, visual arts, gastronomy and so much more. As it did last year, the Festival will also travel to Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu with an abridged programme in each city.
H.E. Frédéric Laplanche made clear the importance Le French Festival has had in establishing connections between France and Malaysia
Organisers Alliance Francaise (AF) and the Embassy of France in Malaysia have worked hard this year to establish deeper connections with Malaysian artistes. “It’s not only about showing French art and culture, it’s about trying to make sure there is a dialogue going on between the two sides,” says H.E. Frédéric Laplanche, French Ambassador to Malaysia.
These thoughts are echoed by AF Director Jacques Bounin, who states that such a platform without cultural boundaries is essential for relations between the two countries to thrive. With that said, the organisers have curated some very special events this year, including a collaboration with the widely acclaimed KL Shakespeare Players.
The KL Shakespeare Players present The Story Cyrano de Bergerac
Festival Within A Festival
As is tradition, the film component of Le French Festival – in partnership with Golden Screen Cinemas – returns this year with a diverse mix of upfront movies that truly reflect today’s French cinema.
From comedy and animation to drama and historical tales, all genres are called upon to offer a selection of films that have enchanted millions. A highlight is Crystal Award winner at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Funan, a powerful tale which follows a young Cambodian mother whose four-year-old son is kidnapped by the Khemer Rouge.
A still from the movie Funan
Elsewhere, Edmond brings historical comedy at its finest, with Thomas Solivérès taking the role of French poet and dramatist Edmond Rostand. Here you’ll discover the story behind the creation of beloved French play Cyrano de Bergerac – which also makes an appearance in the Theatre portion of this year’s Festival.
In The Limelight
The KL Shakespeare Players, who have a long history of bringing to life the great bard’s plays, join the Festival for the first time this year to present a unique French-Malaysian version of Cyrano de Bergerac. Written in 1897, the French theatrical masterpiece is about an uber-suave poet, swordsman and skilled linguist whose only problem is his bulbous nose – something which stops him from scoring his love interest.
Lorànt Deutsch presents Paris – A Journey Along The River Seine
Meanwhile, take a fascinating tour through the City of Lights with actor and writer Lorànt Deutsch, who will show you Paris and many of its secrets from the stage. This play is presented in French with English surtitles.
La Musique & La Danse
Classical enthusiasts will be happy to know that this year the Festival is offering two shows that pay tribute to French master composers. First up at No Black Tie, Malaysian pianist Mei Lin Hii puts together a special edition of her Ivory Series, which combines classical music with visual arts, dance and poetry.
Dubbed Echoes from the Boulevard, baroque composers like François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau compliment work from 20th century impressionists Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Audiences will also have the chance to bask in the lush sounds of French chamber music from iconic orchestra Kamerata Kuala Lumpur, which will play works from the likes of Ravel, Saint-Saëns and Fauré.
From classic to contemporary, ExiT is a dance show grounded in hip hop and performed by Russian breaker Artem Orlov, the expressive Jackson N’Tcharm and clownish choreographer Mehdi Ouachek. The three dancers explore their desire to break free of the humdrum of life and push those boundaries through movement.
ExiT by Art Move Concept
Enrich Your Life
If art is your thing, make sure to check out Brave New World, an exhibition from artist Argadol that draws inspiration from current global challenges through the lens of pop and street art. His unique style is full of flashy colours and a mix of techniques and materials.
Brave New World by Argadol
Celebrating the fairer sex is WOMAN and proud as HELL, with 30 works by three French contemporary artists. Together they deliver a powerful message on women’s status in modern society.
If you feel like engaging in a bit of artwork yourself, head to the Alliance Francaise for Brew N Brush Social Painting, where you’ll be taught how to paint while mingling with others and enjoying a cup of coffee.
What would Le French Festival be without food, and this year the spread is astounding, from an artisan bread baking workshop led by the master bakers at renowned French bakery Paul, to three special dinners by Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille – one a Parisian bistro-styled affair, the other a culinary tour of France with a tasting tapas-style menu, and the third a Cine-Dinner where you can watch French film Le Chef while feasting on a menu inspired by the culinary comedy.
A still from Le Chef, which will be playing at the Cine-Dinner by Nathalie Gourmet Studio
There’s a lot more on the carte du jour, on the stage, in the cinema halls and at various venues, so make sure to visit the website to get the full programme. Amusez-vous bien at Le French Festival!
Win Tickets! **CONTEST HAS ENDED**
We’re giving away 20 pairs of tickets to this year’s Film Festival, so scroll to the bottom to see how you could win them!
Le French Festival
WHERE Various locations in Malaysia
WHEN 4 Apr-12 May
ADMISSION Various prices
TEL 03 2694 7880
WIN MOVIE TICKETS HERE!
To be in the running to win two (2) tickets valid at any movie playing at this year’s Le French Festival except for Funan and Sink Or Swim, simply perform the following steps:
Answer the three questions below, and submit your answers, along with your full name, IC number, mobile number and email address.
This contest runs from 19 March to 1 April 2019. Winners will be notified through email.