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KING OF PROVOCATION

May 3, 2016

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Born Lucien Ginsburg on 2nd April 1928 with his twin sister Liliane, he is a shy and self-conscious child. Soon, he began practicing classic piano, then jazz, like his father. His parent emigrated from Ukraine during the Russian revolution and went to Paris. World War II began when Ginsbourg was 11 years old, and he spent his early teens in Paris during the German occupation. A 1942 law required Jews to wear yellow stars with the word “Jew” written on them, an experience that hurt and scarred him. “It was like you were a bull, branded with a red-hot iron,” he said. Soon, an 8 p.m. curfew for Jews made it impossible for Joseph Ginsburg to work in nightclubs, so he sneaked away illegally to Limoges in southern France, where he found work with an orchestra and quietly sent money home. A year and a half later the rest of the family, using false identification, traveled to Limoges to join him. Limoges was not directly occupied by Germany but controlled by the French government based in Vichy, so it was slightly less dangerous for Jews, though not safe.

When Paris was liberated in 1944, the family returned home. he studied very shortly at Condorcet before being expelled. Artist in his soul, he entered Les Beaux Arts, prestigious art school in Paris, to become a painter. He was inspired by everything he saw but never satisfied with his work. Two years later he also enrolled in a music school while continuing his art studies. He started dating Elisabeth Levitsky, a part-time model, and she began supporting him financially.

While Ginsbourg spent a year in the military (military service was obligatory for all the French men), he developed a drinking habit that stuck with him the rest of his life. In 1951 he and Levitsky married. Performing in nightclubs to earn money, Ginsbourg attracted a lot of female attention, and his womanizing caused Elizabeth to divorce him in 1957. He began performing at Milord L’Arsouille nightclub and met two people who became crucial for his career : Michèle Arnaud, a popular singer and Boris Vian a famous novelist and composer of humorous songs. Meanwhile, he decided to change his name Lucien for Serge because he thought it was a loser name and that Serge was better for the Russian sonorities and Ginsburg became Gainsbourg to match the British famous painter Gainsborough.

His talent spread and he signed to the Philips record label, which he will never leave. In 1958, he recorded  Du chant à la une!  album which was very cynical, especially toward women. He did not sell that much but Boris Vian wrote a dithyrambic article about his songs and Gainsbourg won the grand prize of L’Académie Charles Cros, a songwriting award. “Le Poinçonneur des Lilas” (The Ticket-Puncher), became one of the most famous of his songs with “Les Amour Perdues” (The Lost Loves) sang by famous French singer Juliette Gréco. His 1961 album, L’Étonnant Serge Gainsbourg (The Astonishing Serge Gainsbourg), made his literary influences clear; one song, “La Chanson De Prévert,” paid tribute to the French poet Jacques Prévert. Gainsbourg recorded a few songs mocking yé-yé fans and defied the trends by recording the experimental Gainsbourg Percussions , influenced by African and Caribbean percussion styles.

Later, determined to write a hit song, he began writing  for 16-year-old yé-yé star France Gall, including the hit “Les Sucettes” (Lollipops) and “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” (Wax Doll, Singing Doll), which won the Eurovision song contest in 1965. Soon, Gainsbourg’s songs were more popular than ever among female French singers, and he spent the next two years focusing on his songwriting, for women particularly.

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Gainsbourg married his second wife, Béatrice, (Françoise-Antoinette Pancrazzi) in early 1964. They soon had a daughter, Natacha. The marriage was doomed from the start, because she was extremely possessive, jealous of his singer friends and his fans, who were in majority women. They divorced two years later, then reunited temporarily in 1967 and had another child, Paul, born in 1968.

Serge left Beatrice and fell in love with one of France’s most beautiful and most famous actresses, Brigitte Bardot. The problem was that she was already married so they lived their passion more or less discreetly. The most famous moment of their relationship is when she asked him to write the most beautiful love song in the world. “Je t’aime… moi non plus” (I love you… me neither)  is created but not released because Bardot asked Gainsbourg not to, to respect her husband. So he didn’t. But plenty of others were, like “Comic Strip”, “Bonnie and Clyde” or “Harley Davidson” in a particular style, well written and embellished by sound effects.

The thing is that Gainsbourg was not a conventional beauty. In fact he was seen as ugly and called himself “l’Homme à la tête de chou” (the man with the cabbage head i.e with Dumbo ears as the expression goes in English) and even wrote a song about it. Besides, he was with the most beautiful women. Bardot returned to her husband and Gainsbourg found a 22-year-old British girl: Jane Birkin. They met while acting in Slogan, he seduced her by taking her out in Paris in every place he knew. Later, he made her sing “Je t’aime… moi non plus”, her childish voice and the sensual melody made The Vatican call the song obscene and the BBC banned it, but it hit the top of the British single charts anyway, Gainsbourg’s only hit outside France. It sold 6 million copies worldwide.

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Birkin and Gainsbourg became an iconic couple in England and in France. They stayed together more than a decade and had a daughter: Charlotte. Serge wrote the Histoire de Melody Nelson (The Story of Melody Nelson), this album was judged as a masterpiece because a very emotional and sensitive story of an old man falling in love with a 15-year-old girl. In 1973, Gainsbourg had a heart attack which slowed him a bit but he enjoyed the “Je t’aime… Moi non plus scandal” and wrote Rock around the bunker, an album about Hitler, yellow stars and Nazi in an American rock style. He wanted to shock by the themes he wrote about and of course he succeeded. In 1978, Gainsbourg wrote a reggae album Aux Armes Et Caetera in Jamaica with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The remake of the French National Anthem “La Marseillaise” was really badly received by the audience. It was even worse than the Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen”. His concerts were threatened by bomb attacks from the extreme right. Le Figaro (French journal) said that his French nationality should be revoked. During one of his concerts, paratroopers were present and threatened to stop the show if necessary: Gainsbourg sang his remix of the National Anthem along with a rude hand gesture.

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His life turned tragic, so did his image. From Gainsbourg to Gainsbarre, he left his proud figure for a drunk, rude and devastated one. Birkin left him and he began drinking outrageously. They remained friends and he continued writing songs for her albums. Later, Gainsbarre started a new relationship with Caroline Von Paulus, known as Bambou and had a son, Lucien in 1986.

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He began writing about his alter-ego, describing him as a drunk and leading him into darkness. His songs were stained by too much alcohol and Gitanes. He also wrote about THE taboo : “Lemon Incest”, sung with his daughter Charlotte, is about them lying in a bed. Charlotte For Ever is a movie he wrote for her to pay tribute to her young talent of actress. He endured heart problems and a liver operation before dying on March 2, 1991, of a heart attack at his apartment in Paris. The whole country mourned and French president François Mitterand said that “through his love for the language and his musical genius, he lifted the song to the level of an art”

Gainsbourg was burried at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris. His notoriety is still growing and his fans keep visiting his grave and house in Paris.

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Gainsbourg, vie héroique (2010), ELMOSNINO Eric

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Gainsbourg burning 500 Francs to protest against high taxes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCFm8r6_1bs

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Axelle

Demain : Everywhere in the world, solutions exist (part 1)

April 15, 2016

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Demain is a movie which is a kind of documentary. Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion are the directors. It’s a documentary about our world and the solutions found in different countries to make it better. Mélanie and Cyril are travelling all around the world to find solutions applied in many countries.

The beginning of the movie set a frightening situation of the world we are living in. A study is mentioned, saying that a part of the population could disappear because of a lack of water and food. It says that WE are currently in THE critical moment.

Rob Hopkins, a teacher in permaculture, raises a paradox: in movies, we have the ability to imagine the worst but not the ability to create and make a movie about what we could do to improve the world. For example, there is no movie that tackles the problem of gas emission.

The movie is divided in five chapters. The first one is agricultureIndeed,  food is crucial given that we need food to live.

The two directors are going to Detroit where the agricultural system collapsed. The number of inhabitants went from 2 million to 700 000, but the ones who stayed remain strong and an association named “Keep Growing Detroit” has been created. The aim of this association is to help people grow veggies and fruit that they can sell to the inhabitants of Detroit only. It’s like a little market. The aim of this is to feed half of the population. Thus, the idea is to start at a small-scale and then create enthusiasm so that people can join the movement.

Then, they go to another town : Todmorden in the United Kingdom. This city is the first to have created a community experience which spread to the whole world. The idea is that there are some vegetable gardens everywhere in the streets of  the city in some unexpected places like on the verges of the road. Indeed, everyone can take what they want and it’s free. These gardens are cultivated by volunteers.  Every vacant land is now used for this purpose. This new concept changed the way of life of the inhabitants.

This idea is opposed to the industrial culture which is not able to produce without destroying nature.

Afterwards, they go back to France, in Normandy to meet two farmers Hervé Gruyer and his wife : they are building a ‘productive farm’. The idea is to use innovative tools and methods to have more yield and to respect the soil. For example, they grow tomatoes and basil together because the basil keeps away parasites which want to eat tomatoes. It creates an eco-system : each plant plays several roles.

The two farmers

This is the end of chapter one which is very optimistic because we see that there are solutions to avoid GMOs and fertilisers, and that way plants can grow naturally and it’s better for the environment and for us.

Chapter two focuses on Energy.

It is said that everything relies on water and the climate change alters the hydrologic cycle.

They go to Danemark, in Copenhagen where coal factories are transformed into biomass factories. That way, they hope that Copenhagen will be autonomous in energy within 10 years and that in 2050, the whole country will be able to be autonomous.

They are inspired by Iceland where the bet is won : this country is no longer using fossil fuels.

Here’s another encouraging figure : in Reunion : 35% of the energy is produced by renewable energies. This is marvelous for the economy too as these renewable energies are free. Indeed, there is no cost.

Here, the movies denounces the worthlessness of some objects such as the new billboards we have in the subway, in Paris. It also exposes the use of cars. For example, still in Copenhagen, 67% of the population does not use a car and cars using petrol will be replaced by cars which will be able to stock the solar energy.

Then, we see another city : San Francisco where a law says that people MUST recycle. Otherwise, they can pay more taxes that others. As a result, 80% of the population recycle. These people see their bills reduced depending on how much they recycle. Indeed, the compost is something paramount because 300 cities in the USA are doing it. This idea is that everything that belonged to the earth goes back to the earth.

The third chapter is linked with something we use everyday, something that structures our world but could be improved. As this article will be written in two parts, I let you guess the next chapter of the movie …

Alexandra

The fall of the Middle Kingdom

April 14, 2016

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Did you remember the causes of the 2008’s economic crisis? When banks in the US developed a kind of credit bubble which burst afterwards? Yes you do and also you remember that this bubble provoked the fall of Lehman Brothers and made the worldwide economy sluggish. Today, although we still feel some remnants of this crisis in our everyday life, the USA and Canada have managed to stand back on their feet and make the economy run again. They are followed closely by Europe, Russia and the whole Asian area, but the United States remain first in the race of superpowers. However, figures and economists suggest that China or India will someday and somehow overtake the United States. As things stand, the idea seems really questionable because a crisis is looming in China which may highly threaten the exchanges in the world.

Albeit China is no longer the Workshop of the world but the second world power, the socialist economy is doing very poorly. As China only gets between 6 and 7% of GDP growth, the whole country has to tackle a huge crisis.

In a way, the recession is provoked by the socialist economy. In China, the legacy of Mao Zedong is still palpable. Though the private sector highly participates in the increase of the country, China has kept its bad habits of nationalizing the biggest companies in the country. Because of the nationalization, if the company collapses, it is the role of the state to bail it out. In 2004, almost 80% of the companies were under the yoke of China’s Communist Party. Today, at least 500 companies are owned and ruled by the state such as the oil companies PETROCHINA or SINOPEC and CNOOC, also in the transport sector with CHINA RAILWAY GROUP. Allegedly, the biggest companies owned by the states are comparable to the ones of any capitalist government in the world which contributes to making the country richer and the growth increase. However, in comparison to European or American private companies in the same fields of action, China is in charge and responsible for their failure or their success. For instance EXXON MOBIL in the US or TOTAL in France, which are private societies, are totally autonomous. Those private companies just have to represent their country’s best interests but are not indebted to the state.

SINOPEC

Therefore, when FORTUNE GLOBAL 500 published for the year of 2015 the top 500 companies in the world and put 106 China’s companies in it it was not such a blessing for the country. The more the companies are powerful and internationally recognized, the more the state has to be responsible because it is in charge of it.

Moreover, while there are powerful and worldwide companies in the country, China also hosts some “walking dead” companies as well as ghost cities which are totally empty of life and inhabitants who leave  their houses and their land to anyone who can bail them out.  The Middle Kingdom Empire also teems with ghost companies which are owned by the state and have instalments at the end of the month imposed by the communist government. The companies are suffocating because of the debt they owe the state. Therefore, the state, which is in charge of the companies, has to invest money and inflates the debt again.

On the whole, we can wonder if the Chinese communist’s government is heading the right way. Despite the 7% growth of the GDP each year, the current situation exposes the failure of the system. With all the investment of foreign countries in China, we can also wonder if a second subprime crisis is not looming there. But this time we can not imagine the repercussions of such a crisis in our already indebted world.

Corentin.

Five by Igor Gotesman

April 13, 2016

If you are looking forward to seeing a funny movie about friendship, Five is a must see ! This first film by Igor Gotesman has been released in France since March, 30th with Pierre Niney, François Civil, Margot Bancilhon and Idrissa Hanrot.

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Five deals with five childhood friends who have always dreamed of living together. When the opportunity comes to them, Julia, Vadim, Nestor, and Timothée jump on it as Samuel is paying the majority of the rent. Hardly have they moved in when Samuel cannot pay for them anymore. He decides not to tell the others and instead starts selling weed to earn money.

This film delivers a touching vision of friendship and makes it even more realistic by the actors’ play. Not only is Igor Gotesman directing it, but he is also one of the leading roles. By choosing real life friends (Pierre Niney and François Civil) Igor Gotesman managed very well to recreate this light atmosphere when you are with your friends. The minute the movie ends, you just want to have fun and hang out with people you like. Moreover, contrary to many films nowadays, jokes aren’t only in the trailer !

This movie is also the occasion to discover new talents such as Margot Bancilhon, Idrissa Hanrot and François Civil. The only girl of the film has been seen in Les Petits Princes by Vianney Lebasque. Her performance in it allowed her to be nominated at the César Ceremony for best female newcomer in 2014. She also appeared in Kheiron’s first movie Nous trois ou rien. Contrary to his partners, Five is Idrissa Hanrot’s first movie. François Civil is already known for his roles in Casting(s) with Pierre Niney and Igor Gotesman, Bus Palladium by Christopher Thompson and Frank by Lenny Abrahamson (who directed Room) with Michael Fassbender ! Soon, we will see him as one of the stars of Cédric Klapish’s new movie: Le Vin et le vent.

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Do we still have to present Pierre Niney ? This 27-year-old actor was discovered in LOL by Lisa Azuelos and Comme des Frères by Hugo Gélin before embodying important roles. He was the co-star of the comedy 20 ans d’écart with Virginie Efira and played the huge figure of Yves Saint Laurent for Jalil Lespert. He was awarded the best actor prize at the César in 2015 for Yves Saint Laurent. He also directed his own mini-serie Casting(s).

Five is the second representation of Igor Gotesman’s story. Indeed, he already shot a short version of it in 2011 with François Civil and while he was presenting it to producers, he was given the chance to shot it again for the cinema. This production doesn’t deliver any reflection, doesn’t have the ambition to give us a deeply moving moral about friendship and might appear as a simple movie, but it is really worth it.

So, I really advise you to go and see it and to enjoy the new French generation in the movie industry!

Amandine

Down by Love / Eperdument

April 12, 2016

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Down by Love is a  movie realized by Pierre Godeau. This movie was released on March 2nd of this year. This movie deals with the story of an impossible love story. Talking about it this way may give the impression that it looks like the famous Romeo and Juliet but it is not so.

This movie  is the adaptation of the novel Défense d’aimer by Florent Gonçalves, which tells the true story of a warden having started an affair with a prisoner. Pierre Godeau was inspired by this minor incident.

In Down by Love Anna Amari is incarcerated because she is waiting for her trial and she directly creates a strange and privileged relationship with her warden Jean Firmino. A kind of complicity develops between them and they can’t control it because it seems to be stronger than them.

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In the whole film you discover how they break the laws out of love; they take risks until they reach a point of no return; but they never stop loving each other.

But the thing that you need to know is that in this movie Anna Amari is the woman who acts as a lure for a terrorist group. She has to seduce a man in order to make him talk, at the end he was tortured and beaten up to death because of her.

From my point of view, the choice of the actor is more important than the story itself because Guillaume Gallienne is able to embody  a figure of authority but also a compelling temptation. He is extremely sensible whether it be psychologically or physically.
Adele Exarchopoulos acts like an unpredictable woman, she can be as tender as wild. She appears as a femme fatale as if her warden was under her control whereas she needs his love like the oxygen she breathes.

I advise you to watch this movie because there is a lot of suspense until the end and it shows how love can appear anywhere even in a situation like the one of this movie. The message of this film is that love is unpredictable.

Sacha

 

Generation X, Y and Z

April 5, 2016

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Generation X
The term Generation X was coined by the photographer called Capa in the early 1950s. He used it later as a title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately after the Second World War. Describing his intention, Capa said “We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realized that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with.”

They were born from 1965 to 1980, after the Western Post-World War II baby boom, therefore from the early 60’s until the 80’s.They are currently 41 million. This is the first generation exposed to a lot of divorce and daycare too. They are known as the “lost” generation. They have the lowest voting participation and are arguably the best educated generation. Moreover, with that education and a growing maturity they are starting to form families with a higher level of caution and pragmatism than their parents demonstrated. This generation is based on change: the fight against corruption, dictatorships, abuse, AIDS. They are in search of human dignity and individual freedom with human rights for all. It concerns also some kids who grew up without a parent around and financial planning. Furthermore, they are connected to the pop culture of the 1980s and 1990s they grew up in. This generation needs love, tolerance,…

Generation Y, Echo Boomers or Millenniums

They were approximately born from 1980 to 1995 (it starts with the 1980s and it ends in the middle of the 1990s). They are currently 71 million. It is the largest cohort since the Baby Boomers. They are called Generation Y because of the shape of earphones. These kids are known as incredibly sophisticated, technology wise, immune to most traditional marketing and sales pitches, etc as they have been  exposed to it all since early childhood. Moreover, they grew up with many world-changing events including the rise of mass communication and the Internet. They are prone to using media in everyday life. This generation was often raised in dual income or single parent families and have been more involved in family purchases, everything from groceries to new cars. One in nine Gen Y kids has a credit card co-signed by a parent. However, the term didn’t age well, and “Millenniums” has largely overtaken it. Nevertheless, the terms basically mean the same thing.

Generation Z
They were approximately born from 1995 to 2012. They are about 23million. They grew up with computers, Internet. Generation Z is the first to overwhelmingly approve of same-sex marriage in their adolescence. Generation Z is generally more risk-adverse in certain activities than the Millennials. In 2013, 66% of teenagers (older members of Generation Z) had tried alcohol, down from 82% in 1991. Also in 2013, 8% of Gen. Z teenagers never or rarely wear a seat-belt when riding in a car with someone else, as opposed to 26% in 1991. Also, they have less faith in the American Dream, they expect to find a job that will represent their identity and they are afraid of being unemployed later because they have seen their parents struggle in the workforce. They are more likely to have several jobs when they grow up than one stable job. Besides, they also grow up with terrorism, they feel insecure in the environment they are growing in. They are the first kids to have social media. They all get a phone at an early age and it is normal, this technology has strongly influenced them. On the one hand, smart phones offer the potential for deeper involvement in learning and more individualized instruction, thereby making this generation potentially better educated and more well-rounded. On the other hand, researchers and parents fear that the prevalence of smart phones will cause technology dependence and a lack of self-regulation that will hinder child development. They share a lot of things with their peers; however they do know how to protect certain information they don’t want to share. They also grow with the idea of being perfect.

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This article is based on an American survey and Americans’ research.

Maud

Deadpool

March 29, 2016

Deadpool

Deadpool is the latest Marvel movie that came out on February 9th 2016, just before Valentine’s day.

It is the story of a mercenary named Wade Wilson, he met a girl, named Vanessa, in a bar whom he fell in love with. After a year of relationship, he is diagnosed with a terminal cancer, he was told that he had three months to live. Therefore he decided to leave his girlfriend to protect her and to find a solution to cure himself.

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Inside of his favorite bar he encountered a headhunter who proposed him to transform his body in order to eradicate his cancer and become a superhuman. He agreed but didn’t know what he had to endure in order to overcome his disease and to become invincible.

Little did he know that he would change his entire future, to the extent of being a stranger to everyone because he is unrecognizable, the first layer of his skin having been burnt. He would learn how to survive with his new appearance, but he wanted to get revenge on the man who did this to him and get back his girlfriend.

Taboo themes of the movie : Deadpool’s register is full of sarcasm, irony and self-mockery; furthermore his language is unfiltered and so very crude, with lot of bad words. He basically says everything that would be censured in a classic superhero movie. For instance he makes fun of the X-men league, which has never been dared. He says out loud what everyone else is thinking.

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He appears as an antihero who doesn’t care about what others think and who only cares about him and his girlfriend.

The fourth wall is broken many times throughout the movie and allows the spectator to feel included in the story as Deadpool addresses us, the viewers, directly.

The actor’s casting has been particularly well done because Ryan Reynolds is the perfect Deadpool; he embodies the character who doesn’t care about the political correctness and people’s opinions about his thoughts.

Doesn’t it tempt you to follow the story of a man for whom the only solution is to take advantage of all the situations in an extreme way by being rude, natural, that is human in its crudest meaning?

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Mathilde and Sacha

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