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CCF Events June July 2011
CCF Events June July 2011

Enjoy and relax yourself with the French Cultural Center

(Dp-News Exclusive )

Damascus, during those coming two months and despite political turmoil, The CCF presents quiet few interesting stuff.
Since the 80s, in order to promote music, France decided to celebrate it on the 21st of June, the longest day. All musicians, amateurs or professionals can hang around on streets and just play their music. Now, this event just becomes a major musical event in France and goes beyond the classical music festivals.

In order to bring this cultural spirit in Syria, the CCF invited two major music performers:

Les Blerots de Ravel: All starts out in 1996 when the group is a troupe of street theater that was supposed to last only for a summer. But, Envy does not leave, the experience is renewed following the 3 summers.

Sewing up, street cafes, music takes precedence over the game and band mates made his debut, especially in the first part of Billy Bauer.
In 15 years they released 5 albums. But it is immutable in Blérots Ravel's music is as much to do to hear and they do not deprive more than 700 concerts at the counter in France, Belgium but also in Switzerland, Germany and around the world (Russia, Asia, Middle East ...). The Blérots present a new boarding environments where Funck marries with electric riffs, songs flirt with Appliances samples, and brass with blues. The spirit is to snatch and take the audience far from the daily weigh-bands with their songs of life of many colors. It is a happiness of playing Blérots of RAVEL, and they give as much to laugh than to move with them.

''Kulna Sawa'': In 1995, a group of young musicians gathered to form a band that produces melodic songs reflecting their cultural backgrounds and the concerns and ideas of the young generation. The band started re-arranging several folkloric songs, and produced them again in a contemporary way to meet the needs of the young people and make them appreciate their heritage and culture. "Kulna Sawa" (Meaning "all of us together") became increasingly serious about their music and their widely spread popularity, they embarked on a series of concerts and TV appearances, culminating in several concerts in October 1999 in Damascus and Aleppo. The concerts were so successful that they lasted three nights and were attended by over than 5000 people, which is a quiet performance in Syria. KulnaSawa released two international albums starting June 2001 including the hugely, crossover singles "Nezlen Ala El Bustan" and "Wain A Ramallah" and other line favorites including "Almaya", "Koul Shi Esmoh Jadid" and "Noujmah Kutbiah". The album got Golden Record. In the midst of the current tensions and conflict between East and West, the virtuoso musicians of Together/KulnaSawa which are made up of highly accomplished young Christian and Muslim musicians from Syria used music, the universal language, as a way to build understanding and trust between the people of the West and those of the Middle East.

Celebrating Music, Damascus Citadel, Thursday, June 23th 2011

Manu Codija Trio

Present on the jazz scene since his youngest age, Manu Codjia has long been considered as a guitarist in the shade. Demonstrating an ability to adapt to different musical backgrounds, he has often been asked to perform as a "sideman" alongside the great names of French jazz artists like Eric Truffaz, Daniel Humair, Henri Texier and Elisabeth Kontomanou.

Elected by the Golden Django Awards as the best jazz guitarist of the year 2007, he was also nominated to the Victories of Jazz 2008 in the category " French instrumental Revelation " .
He is one of the most innovative guitar players and a rising star of the European jazz scene.

Codjia will be accompanied by the members of his trio, Jérôme Regard on bass and Philippe Garcia on drums. Those two complete his performance and the spectator will enjoy a soft and melodious Jazz rhythm.

A must see performance.

Damascus Citadel, Tuesday July 12th , hour to be confirmed
After, the cartoon festival, the CCF launched during July the French Arabic film festival.

I will focus on two of them:

Des Hommes et des dieux (Men and gods): Should I stay or should I go? That’s the dilemma facing the eight French Cistercian monks in French writer-director Xavier Beauvois’s ‘Of Gods and Men’, which imagines life in an Algerian monastery in the mid-1990s as its inhabitants face a threat of violence from Islamic fundamentalists in their serene corner of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a true story, the outcome of which would have been familiar to many, if not most, of the three million filmgoers who have flocked to see this quiet, thoughtful film since it opened in France in September. Outside France, there will be more of an element of surprise as these monks deliberate their future, negotiate with authorities, discuss their situation with villagers and maintain tense relations with members of the Islamist militia, all the while praying, singing, gardening, keeping bees and staying friendly with their rural neighbors. ‘Of Gods and Men’ deals in peril and danger and maintains a friendly grip on you over two hours as a thriller in a very minor key, but mostly this is a film about the journey, not the destination, as confirmed by Beauvois’s final, open image of the monks walking in the snow. It’s about ageing French men, removed from home, in a strange and comforting landscape, going about their rituals and trying to find a common response to a common problem. The way it dramatises anxieties, expressed and unexpressed, is enthralling and quietly provocative, and although the film mostly operates within a strictly realist framework, it offers the odd hint of greater powers at work such as when we see a monk praying by a lakeside and a flock of birds sweeping above him or a threatening army helicopter disappearing as the monks resolutely sing indoors, as if, somehow, repelling the chopper above with their strength and faith. Lambert Wilson heads a largely grey-haired and finally very endearing ensemble cast as Christian, the monks’ practical, strong leader. The group’s singing and praying punctuate the film, yet Beauvois and co-writer and producer Etienne Comar make strong efforts to sketch a portrait of each monk. Among them, there’s Luc (Michael Lonsdale), a doctor who holds surgeries for villagers and has a wry, sensitive manner; Christopher (Olivier Rabourdin), the youngest of the bunch and the least sure of his faith; and Amédée (Jacques Herlin), the oldest and a gentle, fragile presence. So sober, so measured is most of the film, similar in its meditative air to Philip Gröning’s documentary ‘Into Great Silence’, his 2005 portrait of a French Carthusian monastery, that you feel as decadent as the monks when, near the film’s end, they enjoy wine and listen to a tape of the Dying Swan from ‘Swan Lake’. Beauvois, too, lets his hair down for this scene, indulging in a series of close-ups of the monks’ faces, some smiling, some tearful. It’s a curious scene. Inevitably, we think of the Last Supper, but it’s also striking that the monks combat their fear with the secular pleasures of wine and music alongside prayer and song. It stresses that Beauvois and Comar want to show these monks as men, with human fears and desires. They’re neither sages nor heroes. They waver, they worry, they have pragmatic, as well as spiritual, reasons for staying in Algeria, and one or two may even hide under the bed when danger comes knocking. The wine-and-music scene is also the final stage in the film’s portrait of the coming together of these monks whose main struggle, the film suggests, is finding a way of agreeing and collaborating in the face of danger. ‘Of Gods and Men’ is a parable that has as much to say about life within a community as it does about relations with those outside it, such as the Muslim villagers, the fundamentalists and the authorities with whom the monks try to find an accord. Beauvois and Comar have made a realist piece, with documentary stylings and spiritual leanings, and one which hints at a wider relevance without laying on thick its message of brotherhood and reconciliation.

Femmes du Caire (women in Cairo) In Egypt, this film is called Scheherazade. Scheherazade told stories to save his life. Hebba (Mona Zaki), the heroine of Women in Cairo, said to earn hers. She hosts a talk show on a television commercial, yet under strict government control.

The first sequences of the film show the full and elegant in western affluence. She scolded her guests on the topics of the moment, going for a rebellious and give cold sweats to her husband, Karim, a rising star of the press, whose career would be jeopardized if Hebba continues with her taste for provocation.

The epiphany came one day when Hebba is shopping in a store cosmetic Cairo. A saleswoman accuses her of not speaking of real life and offers the facilitator to make him a bit of driving up real life. And so Hebba decided to dedicate multiple numbers of issue with the fates of ordinary women. It's a trick scenario, of course. That of women in Cairo is due to Waheed Hamed, who had adapted in 2006 The Yacoubian Building, Alaa's novel El-Aswany. We find here the ambition to make the portrait of an entire society. Finally, three stories stand out: a woman interned in a psychiatric clinic , a former prisoner and a lone protester.

Women of Cairo is also a beautiful movie, and for two reasons. First, because Yousry Nasrallah deliberately plays with the codes of popular fiction without sacrificing the strength of its expression as a filmmaker - it's true throughout the film, particularly in the central story. This is the only one to be located in a popular medium, and it features three orphaned sisters that social rules prevent them from living in peace. Heirs of the hardware shop of their father, they are forced to leave the management to a man, and cannot remain eternally single.

Their desperate efforts to get out of this trap are the fabric of a very dark story, a Mediterranean version of a novel by James M. Cain, where patriarchy replace the rule of money. The interpretation of this segment is more intense than it is in the rest of the film, and Yousry Nasrallah is a rhythm fuller, more sensual to stage this drama as intense as brief.

A final word on the modern Scheherazade. The character is only sketched, and Mona Zaki has mastered all the arts of seduction television. She is also a tragic figure, condemned not only by her womanhood in a country where it is seen constantly challenge its place in public life, but also by her condition - much more universal - instant star. Women of Cairo is also a study of the forms taken on the banks of the Nile, the perverse relationship between television and reality.

Also, the CCF is a main partner at the European Film Festival 2011 when Damascenes are invited to watch 13 movies from 13 European countries

Austria: The White Ribbon 2009

Belgium: Si le vent souleve les sables (Sounds of Sands) 2006

Denmark: Head Hunter 2009

Finland: Forbidden Fruit 2009

France: Potiche 2010

Germany: Run if you can 2010

Greece: Slaves in their bonds 2009

Italy: Welcome to the south 2010

The Netherlands: the silent Army 2008

Poland: Tatarak 2009

Spain: Cell 211 2009

Sweden: Everlasting moments 2008

United Kingdom: Moon 2008

Cinema AL Kindi from July 16th till 25th.

Le CCF has invited the Classical French theater band, called '' les 5 clous''. The 5 members all originally from the west will perform the theater of Moliere, the classical author-comedian during the reign of Louis XIV. Like Shakespeare, Moliere is still played in various French theaters and all his plays have reached universality of mankind. Even if Shakespeare is a tragedian and Moliere a comedian, they reached the essence of mankind. We should enjoy this life play.


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