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CULTURE

Lost in Frenchlation’s September screenings in Paris and Biarritz

Cinephiles rejoice - the film club that screens French films with English subtitles returns this week after a summer break - and it has expanded out of Paris.

Lost in Frenchlation's September screenings in Paris and Biarritz
(Photo: Sebastien Bozon / AFP)

Anglophones in Paris have been able to enjoy Lost in Frenchlation’s regular offerings – but, this month, English speakers in Biarritz can also enjoy some French cinematic culture.

Five films are on the docket in Paris in September;

Rodéo, directed by Lola Quivoron, screens on September 2nd, at Publicis Cinema, avenue des Champs-Élysées. Members of the film crew will attend the screening.

Tickets are €13 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions

Jean Eustache’s cult 1973 masterpiece La Maman et la Putain screens on Thursday, September 8th, at L’Entrepôt Cinema, 7 Rue Francis de Pressensé, Paris 14, in the presence of a surprise guest. 

Tickets, available from the cinema, are €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Noémie Merlant’s Mi Iubita Mon Amour follows a woman’s pre-marital romance with a young man she meets during a bachelorette holiday in Romania. 

Tickets for the screening on Thursday, September 15th at Luminor Cinema, Luminor, 20 Rue du Temple, Paris 4, are €10 full price; €8 for students and all other concessions.

Prior to the screening, a two-hour walking tour of Saint Germain des Prés, highlighting influential women writers is available in collaboration with Women of Paris, for an additional €15. Full details for the tour are available here

Dust off your dancing shoes for Lost in Frenchlation’s big event on Friday, September 23rd, comedy Rumba La Vie, directed by and starring Franck Dubosc.

Prior to the film, which starts at 8pm, there’s a toe-tapping performance by and San.TooR dance company. Tickets for the screening – and the dance show preview – at the Club de l’Étoile Cinema, Club de l’Étoile, 14 Rue Troyon, Paris 8, are €15 full price; €13 for students and all other concessions

The final Lost in Frenchlation-ed film of the month is La Dérive des Continents, directed by Lionel Baier, on Thursday, September 29th.

The evening starts with drinks before the screening, followed by a Q&A session with Canadian actor Théodore Pellerin, who plays Albert in the drama. Tickets for the evening at L’Arlequin, 76 Rue de Rennes, Paris 6, are €10 full price; €8 concessions.

In south-west France, the Cinéma Le Royal, in Biarritz, will show Mi Iubita mon amour on September 8th, and Rodéo on September 22nd.

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CULTURE

French foie gras shortage forces farmers to take radical step: Using lady geese

Foie gras pate, the consummate delicacy of French holiday tables, might be harder to find this year and certainly pricier due to a bird flu outbreak that ravaged farms across the west and south last winter.

French foie gras shortage forces farmers to take radical step: Using lady geese

After millions of ducks and geese were culled to halt the epidemic, some farmers say they are having to take an unprecedented step — using females to produce the luxury treat.

The taste is the same, but female livers are much smaller and harder to work with, and the impact on a producer’s bottom line is inescapable.

“It was double or nothing, but either we just sat and waited — which is not in our nature — or we try to offer a product that respects our consumers,” said Benjamin Constant in Samatan, southwest France.

President of the foie gras marketing board for the Gers department, Constant warned that it was only a stop-gap measure, especially for higher-quality fresh foie gras.

Most livers have veins that must be removed, but those of female livers are much bigger and require more effort to extract, which puts off clients seeking the smooth texture of fresh foie gras that is either seared in a pan, or used to make pate.

“A significant amount cannot be sold fresh, which penalises the producers who sell at public markets,” Constant said.

Jacques Candelon, who has been raising ducks in the rolling plains of nearby Sarrant since 1998, said this is the first year the majority of his 26,000 birds are females, which are usually reserved to produce meat for export.

“80 percent are females — it was either that or nothing,” the 52-year-old told AFP at his farm, dressed head to toe in protective gear to prevent any contamination of his animals.

Bigger stretch

Animal rights activists have long denounced the force-feeding of ducks and geese to make foie gras, calling it an unnecessary cruelty despite producers’ claims of introducing measures to make the process more humane.

France remains the world’s largest producer and consumer, usually raising some 30 million ducks alone each year, even though some French cities have banned it from official functions.

But two brutal bird flu outbreaks in recent years decimated flocks as authorities imposed culls, with just 21 million ducks raised in 2021, a number expected to plunge to 15 million for 2022, according to the CIFOG producers’ association.

More problematic was the impact on breeding farms, which found themselves with only scant numbers of male chicks to offer producers this year.

Labeyrie, the brand that dominates sales among mass retailers, expects a shortage of 30 to 40 percent this holiday season, by far the most important time of the year for the sector.

Spiralling energy and feed prices, fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will also make foie gras more of a stretch for family budgets.

“There will be enough for the holidays but in limited quantities,” CIFOG director Marie-Pierre Pe told AFP in September. “We’re hoping that people are going to be reasonable and will share what little there is.” 

‘Big effort’

Old habits die hard, however, and at the bustling weekly duck market at Samatan, a foie gras bastion near Toulouse in the heart of Gers, much of the crowd wanted only the pale, plump male livers.

“Females are much, much smaller and after force-feeding, the livers are smaller and less attractive visually,” said Didier Villate, a veterinarian who has overseen the Samatan market for over 40 years.

Next to a tray of glistening male livers, many of the female livers had red blotches with thick dark veins, “which is unfortunately something we find quite often” even though it doesn’t change the taste or texture, Villate said.

“Clients are surprised, so we have to make a big effort to explain to consumers that there is no danger — It’s purely visual, you can buy and eat them just the same,” he said.

But male or female, prices have spiked to between €55 and €60 a kilogramme, or “€15 to €20 more than normal,” said Constant, calling 2022 “catastrophic for the sector.”

For Gilberte Bru, who like dozens of others rushed in at the market’s opening whistle to stock up for the holidays, the decision was easy — she picked the male livers.

“Yes, because they are bigger,” she said.

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