C’est formidable!The line-up for the French festival, “Rendez-vous de Seoul,” which opens tonight at the Dongsoong Art Center, offers a plethore of French culture.
First off, there is Anggun, one of the hottest chanteuses to come out France in recent memory. Then there’s the Gotan Project, a Latin American music-meets-techno trio. There are also plenty of movies, with guest appearances by some of the filmmakers.
Everything, it seems, but the most French of France’s cultural exports ― food.
Every year, the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise promote a cultural series. This third festival features expanded events, including performances by French and Korean musical groups, including the Korean alternative-rock bands Delispice and Bulldog Mansion.
Angun is opening the festivities with a performance at 9 tonight. Originally from Bali, Angun has a sensual, romantic ambiance that mixes Asian and Gallic influences. She sings in both French and English.
Gotan Project stages its concert at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Just last winter, it was impossible to buy the group’s albums, even from Amazon.com.
But at press time, Purple Record in the Hongdae University area was selling the group’s “La Revencha del Tango.” The trio creates a distinctive sound by mixing hip-hop and dance influences with everything from classic Argentinean songs by Astor Piazzolla to the late underground king Frank Zappa.
The Compagnie Michel Kelemenis also takes a world view on dance. In 1999, its choreographer, Michel Kelemenis, spent a month in Japan working on a project with Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe and Takeshi Yazaki. The collaboration resulted in “Traduction Simultanee,” performed in Johannesburg, France and Tunisia.
Mr. Kelemenis studied under Merce Cunningham in New York. Today, many leading dancers list Mr. Kelemenis as their instructor. The Compagnie Michel Kelemenis performs at 8 p.m. tomorrow.
And of course, what’s a French festival without French films?
Normally, the Rendez-vous de Seoul’s film festival includes a dozen new releases. This year, there will be 23 movies.
The film fest gets underway at 4 p.m. Sunday with the screening of “Pagui” (Demolition), a Korean picture directed by Jeon Soo-il, and starring Choo Sang-mee, Jung Bo-seok, Jang Hyun-sung and Choi Sung-ho. The film was partly financed by RG Prince Films, a French production company.
Director Gerard Krawczyk’s “Fanfan La Tulip,” which showed out of competition at the recent Cannes Film Festival, will be screened at 7 p.m. Monday. The comic adventure, inspired by an 18th century novel by Paul Meurice, stars Vincent Perez and Penelope Cruz.
Krawczyk and Perez, one of France’s leading actors, will be attending the picture’s screening.
All movies are being shown in their original language. French movies will have Korean subtitles.
The Korean designer Ji Haye will be showing her haute couture Paris collection at 4 p.m. Monday at the Shilla Hotel.
Bernard Bilis, one of the world’s top card magicians, will be staging a show at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Shilla Hotel.
“Les Poubelles Boys,” which translates as “The Garbage Boys,” is known for its singing, dancing and comedy. The trio will perform African music, swing, funk and reggae with household items like a dustbin, cake pans and a broom. This show closes the festival at 9 p.m. June 23.
by Joe Yong-hee
For more information, visit the Rendez-vous de Seoul Web site at www.rendez-vous.or.kr.