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 in­sti­tut­fran­

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)

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