Culture vultures are in for a treat this month as the city takes a plunge into all things Gallic with the return of Le French Festival. The 19th edition of the event says bonjour from 19 March until 26 April this year, and is packed with another colourful programme of cinema, art, music, theatre, gastronomy and more. In that time it travels to four cities, including the capital as well as Penang, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu.
Having grown from humble beginnings with only a handful of films on its line-up, Le French Festival has become a key cultural exchange between Malaysia and France, drawing thousands each year with its captivating selection. There’s something for everyone here, be they movie buffs, foodies, music lovers or art enthusiasts.
Organisers Alliance Française and the Embassy of France in Malaysia have worked hard to deliver an immersive festival that will serve to strengthen ties between the two countries.
H.E. Frédéric Laplanche, French ambassador to Malaysia, invites visitors on a fascinating journey: “This year’s Le French Festival will make you travel all around the world,” citing the many flavours that come packed in the largest foreign cultural festival in Malaysia.
Julie Loffi, Coordinator of Le French Festival; Shirley Low, Chief Marketing Officer of Golden Screen Cinemas; H. E. Frederic Laplanche, Ambassador of France to Malaysia; Roger Kasparian, a renowned mid-sixties French photographer whose artwork will be featured in an exhibition with LFF 2020 and Jacques Bounin, Director of Alliance Francaise photographed together at the press conference of Le French Festival 2020
Meanwhile, Director of Alliance Française Kuala Lumpur Jacques Bounin shares his thoughts on this year’s event, saying: “Along with our collaborators, we are determined to bring the appreciation of all that the French culture has to offer to greater heights here in Malaysia through this festival. It will make you travel through its selection of 17 recent movies showing the diversity of French creation in all genres: from Norway to Kyrgyzstan, with stops along the way in Venice, Tunis and, of course, France.”
So what’s on the menu this year?
In the past, the festival has brought down a raft of international headliners and this year the organisers have outdone themselves by securing the award-winning, multilingual artiste Manu Chao. A French musician of Spanish descent, Chao began his career as a busker on the streets of Paris, before fronting the band Mano Negra until its breakup in 1995. From there, he would embark on a highly successful solo career.
His music is a patchwork of genres, drawing on influences from reggae, ska, punk, rock, French chanson and Ibero-American salsa, and he sings in multiple languages including French, Spanish, English, Italian, Arabic, Catalan, Galician and Greek. His Malaysian debut will see him perform in an intimate, acoustic setting, playing some of his biggest hits over the decades.
Also gracing the festival this year will be classically trained French harpist Maia Darmé to present Solstice Lunaire, a piece written especially for the show by Columbian composer Carlos Mejia. Together with Malaysia’s acclaimed string ensemble Kamerata KL, they will be taking Malaysian audiences on an enlightening harp discovery tour, showing what makes this instrument so alluring.
Darmé has studied under some of the world’s most renowned harpists and strives to expand the possibilities of her instrument, often experimenting with jazz and other genres, including electronic music. This special collaboration between her and Kamerata KL is bound to capture the imagination in more ways than one.
Naturally, the film component of the festival is back in full force with an upfront selection which features some of the best that French cinema has to currently offer. From comedy and animation to drama and historical tales, numerous genres are called upon this year.
Not-to-be-missed is Deux Moi (Someone, Somewhere), a dramedy that adds a unique twist to the classic story of strangers who fall for each other despite the obstacles they encounter, and Selfie, which takes on the over-bearing digital world we live in with often hilarious results.
Promising a show filled with humour and excitement is Gasp by Companie Circoncentrique, a spectacular new circus that has been touring internationally and leaving behind glowing reviews. Meanwhile, the world premiere of photography exhibition The Eyes of the Sixties will showcase a stunning body of work by Roger Kasparian who captured the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg and many more in fascinating ways.
Finally, famous French bakery PAUL will be hosting another round of artisan bread making workshops this year, led by its master bakers. Learn how to make delicious baguettes, brioche, croissants and a few other types of mouth-watering baked goods from these experts.
We’re giving away 30 pairs of tickets to this year’s Film Festival – here’s how you could win!
To be in the running to win two (2) tickets valid at any movie playing at this year’s Le French Festival except for The Specials, 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 6 March to 20 April 2020. Winners will be notified through email.
Le French Festival
WHERE Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu
WHEN 19 Mar-25 Apr
ADMISSION Check website for ticket prices
TEL 03 2694 7880