On 17 April, a tour de force of all that is
quintessentially French hit Hong
Le French May’s two month cultural programme of art, music, theatre, film, cabaret, fashion and food includes
more than 500 Gallic-inspired events, including 28 major exhibitions, 50
performances and 50 film screenings.
Highlights include the energetic
drum show Les Tambours du Bronx, a global sensation where 17
performers create compelling rhythms with metal barrels, cymbals and
wood (1 June), and an installation by contemporary artist Cécile Bart
that consists of sequential paintings strung with
wire in such a way as to challenge perspectives of depth, surface, light and
movement (until 26 May).
For the first time in
its 21 years, the festival is focusing on a specific theme: the 1920s. According
to organiser Arnaud Barthelemy, consul
general of France in Hong Kong and Macau, the 1920s
was "a boiling period for art, fashion and society; the so called Crazy
Years, when France was the centre of the art world".
One person that was at
the height of his influence during that period was poet, artist, novelist and
filmmaker, Jean Cocteau. The exhibition, Spirit
of the 20th-century Parisian Scene (until 9 June) features
150 of his works, many from private collections, as well as 80 works by artists
that he was said to have inspired, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and
Andy Warhol. His famous film, The Blood of a Poet, will
also be screened as part of the A Touch of Madness: The 20s cinema programme (until
31 May) that showcases films made in the 1920s (such as Cocteau's) or modern
films set in France during that same period, including the Hong Kong premiere
of Therese Desqueyroux
(released 2012), the last
film from noted director Claude Miller.
Each year, the festival
highlights a region in France through performance, food and wines in Le French GourMay (until 31 May), and
this year it is Burgundy in east-central France, one of the oldest wine growing regions in the country. More than 60 leading restaurants will feature specially created food and wine pairing menus; don’t miss the
six-course menu using regional ingredients, such as snails, from two-star
Michelin restaurant Spoon by
Alain Ducasse, while hipster bistro, La Cabane,
will be offering a range of Burgundy wines to be paired with cheese or classic
dishes such as boeuf bourguignon.
The festival runs until
23 June; detailed information and ticketing information is available on the website, which also shows all that is happening on any given
Vicki Williams is the Hong
Kong Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes sybariteunlimited.com.