The cream of the French and Thai art and cultural worlds gather in
The generous servings of dance, music, theatre, film and visual arts at indoor and outdoor venues all over town boosted spectator numbers at the 2008 edition of
Remarkably, the 2008 cultural extravaganza kicked off just four months into the posting of the new cultural attaché to French Embassy, yet Stéphane Négrin and his efficient team still managed to beat earlier attendance records while learning some valuable lessons for this year's event.
"Living here is different from visiting as a tourist, and I found that I needed to find new ways to communicate with the audience," says Négrin.
"Thais are very open-minded. Last year's closing event [“Rameau’s Bossa Fataka” by Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu] was very interesting for them, but of course I cannot present that kind of show every year. I understand that they like modernity and appreciate discovering new talent. I've also discovered that it's not true that they only like classical music; nor is it correct to say that they only listen to Thai music."
Despite the current economic and political situation, all 21 events planned for
"From October through February, I worked on fundraising while simultaneously organising the programme. It’s not chance, just a lot of work. In the end, you can see that in our program brochure we have the total of 83 logos [of companies and government agencies]. It’s good to see that we have new partners especially in this difficult period.”
As a result, we're seeing
Noticeably, for the first time, the event is being described as a "French Thai cultural festival", rather than a purely French fete. Negrin says this is more than mere diplomacy, "It better reflects the true nature of the festival. If I count the number of participating artists from both countries, then the Thais far exceed their French counterparts.”
In the end, Négrin says, "
The festival’s opening event the visual theatre “La fin des terres” (“Land’s End”) by the world-renowned Compagnie Phillippe Genty is set to be the most wondrous performance to have graced the stage of Thailand Cultural Centre in recent years.
Critically acclaimed films like “Séraphine”, “Il y a longtemps que je ta’aime” (“I’ve Loved You So Long”), and “Le premier jour du reste de ta vie” (“The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”) will fully satisfy film buffs at SF World Cinema.
Along with Michael Shaowanasai and Pascal Blondeau’s portrait photography exhibition “Nice to Meet You” at Bangkok Art and Culture Center, in addition the Thai heritage exhibition curated by Guimet Museum “Dvaravati: To the Origins of Buddhism in Thailand” at the National Museum, these are indeed some of the definite must-sees.
Négrin makes special notes of three other events that may get overlooked by the media and the public in the long program line-up.
“There is a small part of the festival we call ‘Sacrés Francais’, comprising two programs. One is Pierre Rigal and Compagnie Dernière Minute’s ‘Press’, it’s a dance performance, and very, very modern."
"The other is Compagnie Aie Aie Aie’s ‘Hyppotheatron’, a very contemporary kind of puppet theatre, which we call object theatre in
Another program is “Dîner dans le nois” or “Dinner in the Dark” at Pullman Hotel, which Négrin calls, “one of the most creative ways to promote French cuisine.”
He adds, “I tried this kind of restaurant in
As always for “
Performance tickets are available at Thaiticketmajor, and movie tickets at SF World Cinema.
The official website is www.lafete-bangkok.com. For extra fun, join “
Special thanks to the Embassy of
written by Pawit Mahasarinand
published in THE NATION on Sunday, May 24, 2009
photos courtesy of the Embassy of France in Thailand
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