With Covid on the wane, France is bringing its artistic, cultural, educational and scientific showcase, Bonjour India, to 19 cities across the country. Kolkata is one of the venues hosting nine events between March and May.
“The festival celebrates the partnership between the two countries. Almost every kind of art will be represented, from French movies to photography to gastronomy, through 120 events across India,” said Didier Talpain, the consul general of France.
“The fourth edition of the event celebrates 75 years of the establishment of Indo-French diplomatic relations. It also creates opportunities for joy and amity after a long period of pandemic,” said Nicolas Facino, the director of Alliance Francaise du Bengale (AFB).
The first of the Kolkata events, Let’s Dance, is on Thursday. Short films on dance, chosen by the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival will be screened at AFB. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion.
On Saturday, Novotel Hotel and Residences will screen Delicieux, a feature film on the first restaurant that opened in France in 18th century. The hotel will serve a French menu to compliment the cinematic experience in open air.
A wall art festival will take place at the NSHM Design School on April 21, with the artist Skio, who specialises in murals, reaching Kolkata as part of his five-city tour of India.
One of the most interesting acts will be a contemporary circus performance by Compagnie Distil, founded by Romain Timmers and based in Puducherry, that aims to revive the art of juggling. The open-to-all show will take place on April 23 at ICCR.
The Rick-Show project was developed by the multidisciplinary artist Le Gentil Garcon (The Nice Guy) who mixes sculpture, drawing, video, performances and installations. It consists of a mobile cinema that is fitted in a box placed at the back of an autorickshaw. When it is unfolded, all the elements required to screen a film, including public seating, pop up. The idea is to let people without access to the art form experience it on the street. While the date is April 30, the venue has not been decided.
The jazz trio Nunataq, led by progressive jazz pianist Alexandre Herer, will perform on the same day at Skinny Mo's Jazz Club. The trio’s music, open, airy and cold, is partly inspired by icy stretches like Greenland.
Two photography exhibitions in June, at Indian Museum and ICCR, will showcase connections between the two nations, like India through the eyes of French photographers, in 19th century prints and negatives archived at French institutions, and France through the lens of Parmanand Dalwadi in the 1970s who had also chronicled ace lensman Henri Cartier-Bresson at work.
An interdisciplinary exhibition in July will tell the stories of scientific exchanges between top minds of the two countries across the ages.