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Books

Comedy, Pathos, and Bibliophilia Merge in Jean Giono's Wartime Journal

In addition to its literary significance, Jean Giono's newly translated Occupation Journal is also an important reminder of the value of pacifism in a world where over-eager partisanship is once more merging with the enthusiastic violence of political dogma.

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Music

Johnny Hallyday Was More Than Just a Kitschy Gallic Misreading of Rock

It's hard to think of another male pop singer who could hold his own alongside exceptional female vocalists like Céline Dion.

Film

Ethnofiction and the Films of Jean Rouch

The African "dialogues" with Western culture, as twisted here to suit the purposes of those exposed to it, reflects the wider idea of "dialectics" between filmmakers and subjects.

Books

Metatextual Games Stamp Out Thriller Conventions in 'Based on a True Story'

French author Delphine de Vigan is very successful at setting up an original mystery, but she gets bogged down in overly literary reflections.

Books

'The Bonjour Effect' Bids Au Revoir to French Language and Mores

The Bonjour Effect is too closely tailored to North American sensitivities to properly connect with French conversation culture.

Culture

Football in the Age of Late Capitalism: Field Notes From the 2016 Euro

Behind a veneer of youthful glamour, the Euro all but groaned under the weight of excess global capital, merciless media scrutiny, hyperprofessionalization, domestic French anxieties, and geopolitics.

Books

Modiano's 'Villa Triste' and the Dull Flâneur

The protagonist in Patrick Modiano's Villa Triste is a monomaniacal flâneur in world shrunk to a few predictable details.

Film

'The Connection' Makes Familiar Paths Exciting Again

Although there's not much new in its' story, the way that director Cédric Jimenez balances formal style and emotional substance makes The Connection a worthwhile watch.

Television

In France They Kiss on Netflix

What does the French version of Netflix look like? How much gratuitous nudity can you expect to find in the French Netflix catalogue? Isn’t “French movie” code for “mild erotica”, anyway?

Music

Trio Chemirani: Dawâr

Iranian-French trio makes ancient Persian music new.

Reviews

In 'Magic in the Moonlight', Ideas Trump Characters

The fundamentalist atheism and myopic intellectualism of Woody Allen's latest depiction of an older man/younger woman dynamic makes it a pale imitation of his best work.

Books

Another Kind of Horror: 'When Paris Went Dark'

When Paris Went Dark is a penetrating history of the anxiety, confusion, claustrophobia, and uncertainty experienced by a city in the grip of an unpredictable menace.

Music

The Toxic Avenger - "Romance and Cigarettes" (album stream) (Premiere)

The French electronic project helmed by Simon Delacroix, the Toxic Avenger, has a new LP out on June 10th entitled Romance and Cigarettes.

Film

'Blue is the Warmest Color' Is Truly a Feast for All the Senses

What Blue is the Warmest Color demands of its viewers is to stop looking and start sensing, start engaging with cinema with all five senses.

Reviews

Une Énigme Politique: ‘A Taste for Intrigue: The Many Lives of François Mitterrand'

Philip Short's book is a masterfully written, sweeping narrative of Mitterrand’s life with decisive, revealing anecdotes and a meticulous chronicling of fact that is remarkable enough to be fiction.

Music

Beat Mark: Howls of Joy

Howls of Joy is celebratory in tone but there's a dark undercurrent that suggests an awareness of tough times both behind and ahead.

Reviews

The Problems of the Human Conscious in Albert Camus' 'Algerian Chronicles'

Algerian Chronicles is a stirring and lasting work of moral conviction. Camus illustrates the impossible challenge of pursuing justice in a conflict marked by heinous crimes.

Reviews

A Wolf Leashed Upon the World: 'The Borgias: The Second Season'

One of television's most beautiful shows -- like Game of Thrones but with 100% more Popes -- explores the idea of historical fiction in its occasionally stunning second season, with a finalé for the ages.

Music

Blut Aus Nord: 777-Cosmosophy

Enigmatic French black metal pioneers Blut Aus Nord conclude their 777 trilogy with its most daring release yet, the deep and diverse Cosmosophy.

Music

Various Artists: Putumayo Presents Vintage France

You are in a Paris café, your bun is a brioche, here is "La Javannaise" sung by Madeleine Peyroux, whom you may remember from Putumayo presents Women of Jazz.

Television

I Shall Be 'Bref': France's New Empire, the Shortcom

The best show on French TV is only three minutes long. And it only aired for one year.

Music

Nouvelle Vague: Acoustic

This live album captures Nouvelle Vague in a reflective and entertaining mood, in front of a very enthusiastic Portuguese crowd.

Music

Jack of Heart: In Yer Mouth

Garage-rock wannabe is more annoying than great.

David Maine
Books

There's a Lot of Teeth Gnashing in Elisabeth Badinter's 'The Conflict'

Are women forgoing motherhood because they're afraid they'll fall short of the ideal of the "good mother"? Badinter makes an occasionally convincing if myopic case for that, but frankly, I hope not.

Film

'A Moveable Feast' in 'Midnight in Paris'

Ernest Hemingway compared Paris to a moveable feast because no matter what time it is, Paris is always the magnificent city of lights. Woody Allen expands upon Hemingway's testimony in the magical Midnight in Paris.

Music

All Cannibals: Black Shark Shake-A-Lake

French rock trio offers carefree rock.

Reviews

'Cave of Forgotten Dreams': Is an Uneven, but Intriguing Tale

Werner Herzog finds a way to speculate on spiritual matters and remain genuine while making theoretical leaps.

Music

Mamani Keita: Gagner L'Argent Français

The Malian singer stays steady and firm at the centre while the Frenchman roams baroque around her, fascinated by her ringing treelike isolation.

Books

'French Cinema' Is a Tangled, Rumpled Jumble of a History

French Cinema is a popular history that makes its own eccentric claims on what that history should be.

Music

Les Nubians: Nü Revolution

Mild Afro-European R&B with weightless feelgood lyrics about liking the planet and loving your womanhood, and, if you are African, being happy that you have hair.

Music

Les Chauds Lapins: Amourettes

Love, in these songs, is aware of its own delirious state and willing to share the details.

Music

Donso: Donso

Donso has a happy-kora feel -- golden and intricate.

Books

Physical and Emotional Boundaries Crumble in 'Trespass'

In Rose Tremain's new novel about two pairs of siblings battling over past injustices and a stone farmhouse in the south of France, misery loves company to a fault.

Reviews

'Dimanche and Other Stories': An Entomologist of Evil

In these stories about the French before and during WWII, Némirovsky abjures commentary and merely observes the way that human beings go about their petty and ever-disappointing daily business. Thus, her writing is especially cruel.

Reviews

Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution

Within the rural French countryside depicted here is a stubborn, quite heartening, uniquely Gallic iconoclasm.


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