French Spring festival to entertain with sights, sounds, even smells
The Dordogne on the Dnipro, Paris in Podil, and the Louvre in Lviv - French Spring, the annual French culture festival every year brings a little bit of France to Kyiv and other big cities around Ukraine.
This 14th festival, as usual themed on modern French culture, will be held from April 1 to April 29, and feature French theater, cinema, circus, fine arts, literature and music events. This year, besides Kyiv, the festival will be held in Dnipro, Zaporizhzhya, Lviv, Odesa, Rivne, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Berdychiv.
In Kyiv, the festival will open with an outdoor light show “Galileo” performed on St. Sophia’s Cathedral by French circus theater Deus Ex Machina on April 1.
The 50-minute program is a humanistic show based on Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei’s support for the Heliocentric theory – the correct theory that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun. The Catholic Church in Galileo’s time, in the early 17th century, still defended the false Ptolemaic system of the universe with the Earth in the center, as it was judged to be in accord with Holy Scripture.
Galileo was ordered to cease promoting the Heliocentric theory in 1616, but was tried by the Inquisition in 1633 for his later writing, which still appeared to support Heliocentrism. He was sentenced to house arrest, where he remained until his death in 1642.
The show is based around the (probably apocryphal) phrase attributed to Galileo, “E pur si muove” (“And yet it moves.”) supposedly muttered defiantly by the scientist after he was forced to recant his Heliocentric heresy in 1633. The phrase is used in the show to prompt the audience to reflect on which of our present-day beliefs could turn out to be false in the future.
The show’s organizers also promise eye-popping acrobatic performances at a height of 30 meters above the audience, a stunning light show, and lots of confetti.
French Spring’s grand opening will kick off a series of cultural events.
One of the festival’s highlights promises to be “Peremishchennya I Motion,” a Ukrainian-French modern ballet with hip-hop elements, which is directed by French choreographer Brahim Bouchelaghem. In the show, 12 Ukrainian hip-hop dancers will show off their skills on the stage of Kyiv National Academic Theatre of Operetta on April 24.
Another event employs one of the senses that is little used in the art world – that of smell. “Vona,” an olfactological project by French perfumers from the Jeroboam Paris perfume store and Ukrainian Parfum Buro perfume gallery, will be a festival must-visit.
The gallery will host an installation about Kyiv’s women and the role of perfume in their lives. Visitors to the installation will share their views about what fragrances would suit Ukrainian women. Judging on what they hear, the French perfumers will create this autumn a range of “Vona” (Ukrainian for “she”) perfumes, dedicated to Ukrainian women.
Francois Henin, the founder of Jeroboam Paris, says that “for me, as the creator of a large number of world famous fragrances, it will be the real challenge to create and aroma that would embody the features of a Ukrainian woman, and that she would find worthy of her.”
Other events to look out for include a music concert by accordion and bandoneon ( a type of concertina) virtuoso Richard Galliano concert on April 6 in Kyiv’s Caribbean Club.
Another highlight is a performance by France’s Deep Forest “ethnic electronica” music band, which shot to fame in the mid-1990s with their hugely popular albums of electronic music mixed with recordings of folk music from all around the world: the band takes to the stage in the Sentrum club on April 14.
As part of the festival, several modern art exhibitions will be held in Kyiv art centers, including the Izolyatsia platform for social initiatives, the Art 14 gallery, the Mystetsky Arsenal arts center, and the Visual Culture Research Center.
French cinema lovers will get a chance to enjoy some of France’s best short films in the Ukraina cinema on April 28 and April 29, while fans of French comedy will be able to view amusing French plays and films in Kyiv cinema from April 22-26.
In Kyiv, the French Spring festival will end on April 29 with an extraordinary outdoor performance called “Exceptional Transport: Duet for a Dancer and an Excavator” by the famous French company Beau Geste, which features a remarkable choreographic interplay between man and machine.
French Spring is supported by the French Embassy in Ukraine, the French Institute in Ukraine and the International Organization Alliance Francaise. Credit Agricole Bank and Ukrsibbank are the major sponsors of this year’s event.
For more information about the festival go to institutfrancais-ukraine.com.
French performer Philippe Priasso hangs from an excavator during his dance performance “Exceptional Transport: Duet for a dancer and an Excavator” at East River Park in New York. In Kyiv the French Spring will end on April 29 with the outdoor...
This year’s French Spring festival in Kyiv will open with an outdoor light show, entitled “Galileo” and performed at St. Sophia’s Cathedral by French circus theater Deus Ex Machina on April 1. (Courtesy of Deus ex Machina)