38 articles

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Lapin Wants Ice Cream

11 Aug 20123 stars

Puppets on the beach à la Française

With a pre-schooler’s brain bearing a remarkable resemblance to a sponge, it’s the perfect time to introduce a foreign language to them. Tania Czajka knows this, and has created a cast of fun characters to deliver the message. Holidaying on the beach…

Simplicity is key at Le Bistrot de l'Institut francais d'Ecosse

22 Jun 2012

Lovely Gallic quality and simplicity at the Institut français' new restaurant

If you look carefully there’s now a menu attached to the railings of the French Institute, just off Queensferry Road. Walking down slightly scruffy, institute-yellow stairs to the basement feels like heading to a school canteen, but it's a fortunate…

Vive la Tapisserie! 3 at The French Institute

26 Apr 2012

Exhibition of miniature tapestries from Edinburgh's STAR* collective

For the third year running STAR* returns to the French Institute with an exhibition of miniature tapestries - Vive la Tapisserie!3. This follows on from their successful retrospective That was Then: This is Now at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh, at the…

Rendez-vous with French Cinema preview

26 Mar 2012

The chance to see upcoming French films before they hit cinemas later this year

Now that The Artist has cleaned up at the Oscars, attention can turn to other French films that will be released in the UK during 2012. The Rendez-vous with French Cinema event, which runs in London until Sat 24 Mar and at Edinburgh's Filmhouse from Fri…

Un Fou noir au pays des Blancs

29 Feb 2012

French language show details tumultuous arrival in Europe from Congo

Having already toured extensively since 2001, taking his intriguing personal show from France to Guadalupe, Martinique and Canada, writer, storyteller, psychotherapist and professor of humanities Pie Tshibanda gives his debut performance in the UK at…

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Five Reasons To Go See: Phoenix

15 Oct 2009

Under-rated alt-rock French sorts comed to Glasgow

1. They’re fashionably unfashionable Throughout the course of four staggeringly brief but perfectly formed albums Phoenix have proved themselves masters of a studied laissez-faire and baffling nuanced lyrics rendering them thus far impervious to the…


2 Oct 20093 stars

A rare French gorefest

During the filming of Inside, Béatrice Dalle would hide herself under a hoodie, so upset was she that people would deign to look at her when not looking her best. OK, the character she plays (‘The Woman’) has just had half her face blasted away during…

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (l’Instinct de Mort)

30 Jul 20094 stars

Tracing a line from Mesrine’s disillusioning military service during the Algerian war to the beginning of his notoriety in 1972 (when he graduated to murder), the first instalment of this epic crime tale is derivative, energetic and hugely…

Food For Thought - Patrick Bardoulet

9 Jul 2009

I am from Paris, the focus of many of the celebrations associated with Bastille Day, 14 July. It’s a national holiday, so there’s the chance to enjoy breakfast – in Paris this will be a baguette and coffee or chocolate. It sounds disgusting to the…

Gardens in Autumn

11 Jun 20094 stars

Anyone who’s seen Monday Morning by the Georgian Otar Iosseliani will know he is a filmmaker with a great sense of drift. He’s not interested in plot, but great on spatial texture, ably explored by the great cameraman William Lubtchansky. In Monday…

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Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

14 May 20094 stars

Phoenix are really rather brilliant, it’s just a shame more people don’t know it. Criminally underrated for most of their career, the French quartet return with this fourth effort; which, cringey title aside, is by far their most accomplished and…

Yann Tiersen

30 Apr 2009

French avant garde musician and composer Yann Tiersen is famed for composing the score to the movie Amélie. Favouring the piano, accordion and violin, he’s also been known to have a tinkle on the typewriter when it takes his fancy. The 38-year-old has…

Charles Burns - Fear(s) of the Dark

16 Oct 2008

The wildly imaginative and scary animated French portmanteau horror movie Fear(s) of the Dark was made by six European and American cartoonists working with professional animators. The most notable of those cartoonists is Charles Burns, who is a legend…

Fear(s) of the Dark

16 Oct 20084 stars

ANIMATION/MYSTERY The Gallic term ‘outre’, meaning beyond or excessive, perfectly describes this imaginatively conceived and immaculately executed French language portmanteau horror. Much of its impact is derived from its unique nature: the…

Giffnock Ivy

7 Aug 2008

For the price of a £5 train ticket, Glaswegians can enjoy a dining experience to rival those found in the stylish restaurants of Paris. Well, according to the new management of the Giffnock Ivy, that is, which aims to ‘bring the tastes, smells and…

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A Comedy of Power

31 Jul 20083 stars

THRILLER (PG) 110min (ICA DVD retail) Veteran French filmmaker Claude Chabrol takes on the story of magistrate Eva Joly’s ceaseless investigation into France’s leading oil company Elf Aquitaine. The inquiry led to a national scandal in 1994 which The…

Summer Hours

17 Jul 20083 stars

DRAMA (12A) 102min In summer sunshine in the countryside north of Paris it’s the 75th birthday of widowed matriarch Helene (Edith Scob), and attending the celebrations are her three children, university economist Frédéric (Charles Berling)…

Intimate Enemies

3 Jul 20083 stars

WAR (15) 100min (Contender DVD retail) Will the Algerian war turn the humanist lieutenant at the centre of Florent Emilio Siri’s film into a monstrous shadow of his former self? After being posted to Algeria, Terrien (Benoît Magimel), the…

Jules et Jim

3 Jul 20085 stars

French New Wave filmmaker Francois Truffaut’s third film, made in 1962, was undoubtedly his masterpiece. Set in the 1910s and 20s it is the story of a freewheeling love triangle between alpha female Catherine (Jeanne Moreau), Austrian Jules (Oskar…

Mes amis, mes amours

3 Jul 20082 stars

Mes Amis, Mes Amours resembles a Gallic version of a Richard Curtis movie, set in an affluent, quarter of London and peopled by French expats: it’s less a romantic comedy than a sentimental fantasy of city living among an ultra-friendly community of…

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Paris Lockdown

3 Jul 20083 stars

GANGSTER (18) 143min (Momentum DVD retail/rental) This brutally efficient, thoroughly gratuitous French gangster film from Frédéric Schoendorffer, director of Scene de Crime and Spy Bound, explores the lives of various gangsters on the make.

Couscous (La Graine et le mulet)

19 Jun 20084 stars

DRAMA (15) 154min Filmmaker Abdel Kechiche builds on the promise that he displayed with 2003’s L’Esquive by creating a drama similar in style and spirit to Vittorio De Sica’s 1951 neorealist fantasy Miracle in Milan. The man in need of a miracle in…

Female Agents (Les Femmes Des Ombres)

19 Jun 20083 stars

WAR/THRILLER (15) 116min Spring 1944, the lead up to the Normandy landings, and the technical planning and manufacture of a floating dock has been going on since January. When a British geologist ends up in a French hospital, the plan is thrown into…

Un Secret

5 Jun 20083 stars

DRAMA (15) 106min Veteran French writer-director Claude Miller (Garde à Vue, La Petite Voleuse) revisits France’s traumatic experiences under German Occupation during World War II in this polished and suspenseful melodrama. Adapted from Philippe…

Chez Pierre

5 Jun 2008

Sometimes we get a bit too serious about food. But then it is a serious business, it’s what keeps us upright, but like any realm of human interest some folk, among them food journalists and chefs, become just a bit too earnest about the whole subject.