The idea behind the festival is simply, culture. Both Singapore and France hold culture in high regards. The core of our identity, an important belief in this ever-changing fast-paced world. Back in 2009, France and Singapore signed a cultural agreement, creating a platform to exchange our heritage with theirs and so on. An earlier exhibition about Christianity in South East Asia at the National Gallery of Singapore and the showcase of our heritage, with a focus on Singaporean’s creativity (back in 2015) are just some of the exciting events that have passed.
Still, no need to fret. There are tons to do at the Voilah! French Festival. Here are some of the highlights!
Psst. Skip right to the bottom if you’re an avid foodie.
Grand Opening Weekend
Happening at Gardens by the Bay is the official opening of the festival. It starts off with renowned photographer Chris Morin-Eitner’s invigorating exhibition, Once Upon a Time Tomorrow. The French photographer has created a series of photo-paintings, re-imagining the future of cityscapes into his Garden of Eden. His background in architecture comes through as he supplants the hierarchy of angles and organized spaces. It speaks of a world where nature takes over, a consequence, perhaps, due to global warming. A thought-provoking and stunning marvel that should not be missed. He will also be holding a talk on 9 April 2017, 11:30 am at the Cannonball Room, Supertree Grove.
8 to 9 April 2017
Come 7:00 PM on 8 April 2017, visitors will be treated to Mademoiselle Paillette’s Red Heart (Les Rouges Coeurs) performance. Giant stilts, gigantic bubbles and dancers suspended in the air, everyone is sure to get their pulses racing. Stay on till 9:00 PM where there will be a open air screening of the award-winning film, “The Artist”.
And, no better way to celebrate your weekends better than with a Gourmet Picnic at Singapore Botanic Gardens. Not only will guests get a specially-crafted picnic basket filled with French delicacies, they will also be treated to Siong Leng Musical Association Concert and Mademoiselle Pailette’s Street Art Performance from 6:15 PM onwards.
ExhibitionThose familiar with the works of Jules Verne (Around the World in Eighty Days and Journey to the Centre of the Earth) will not want to miss The Pictures of Imagination – A Journey in Jules Verne’s world. Happening at the Fullerton Hotel from 11 April to 24 June, curious minds can take a step into the mythical mind of French novelist. His imagery and stories has inspired many more through drawings, comics and artworks.
One exhibition truly celebrating the collaborative spirit between France and Singapore is Exhibition Architecture by French graphic designer Phillipe Diversy and Singaporean Photographer Bob Lee. It will be held at URA Lobby Gallery from 4 May to 28 June, with a focus on buildings from the 60’s and 70’s.
Not to be missed is FAKE I REAL ME by Corrine Mariaud, happening at the Art+ Shanghai Gallery – Singapore Space from 20 April to 26 June. It features a photographic series shot in Singapore and Seoul, exploring the importance of physical appearance amongst young women in these cities. A thought-provoking piece.
Performing ArtsW!LD RICE is back with their rendition of the French play La Cage Aux Folles by Jean Poiret. Set in a fabulous night club of Tanjong Pagar, Glen Oei directs a star-studded cast led by Ivan Heng in their version of one of Broadway’s biggest hits. It will run from 19 April to 13 May at the Victoria Theatre.
The genius mind behind Le Clown de Marais, Jean Lambert-wild will be returning to Singapore from 9 to 20 May. Not only will he be leading a masterclass on clowning at Lasalle College of the Arts on 20 May 3:00 PM, but he will also be performing a bilingual reading of selected plays and some of his poems. He will be joined by Marc Goldberg and students from Lasalle for the latter.
Come 24 April, husband and wife duo, violinist Siew Yi Lin and pianist Beatrice Lin will be performing a series of French romantic music. Expect violin sonatas by the most outstanding French composers, including Gabriel Pierne and Gabriel Faure. It will happen at 7:30 PM at the Esplanade Recital Studio.French pop-rock singer-songwriter, Julien Dore, will also be making his first Asian stop in Singapore on 21 May, 8:00 PM at the Kallang Theatre. He will be presenting tracks from his newest album, “&”, released back in October 2016. It will be our first chance at listening to the Victoire de la musique (2015) winner’s poetic melodies live.
While the prestigious Cannes festival is miles and miles away, Voilah! will be bringing four French films for a special screening at The Projector and Alliance Francaise Theatre. These films were recent awardees of the Palme d’Or award, and includes The Class (entres les murs) by Laurent Cantet and the provocative Blue is the warmest colour (La vie d’Adele) by Abdellatif Kechiche (R-21 rating).
For both adults and kids is the 6th French Animation Film Festival. Happening from 19 to 21 May at the Alliance Francaise Theatre, six movies will be screened. This includes My Life As A Zucchini (Ma Vie de Courgette) by Claude Barras (shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards).Not to be missed is Playtime: The Complete Works of Jacques Tati. Visitors to the National Museum of Singapore between 20 May to 4 June can enjoy a completely retrospective of French screenwriter, director and actor Jacques Tati. Many my age would remember him for The Illusionist, based on his unproduced script. There will be a screening of all six of his feature-length films and four short films, including Playtime, a colourised version of Jour de fete and the little-seen Parade.
Disciples Escoffier Asia presents Experience The Taste Of Magic. It will be the first Singapore epicurean dinner with wine pairing, in conjunction with the festival. There will be 6-courses, prepared by six renowned MasterChefs from the organization; Emmanuel Stroobant (Saint Pierre) , Robert Fontana, Edmund Toh, Laurent Bouard, Micheal Michealidis (3 *** Michelin) and more. It will happen on 18 May, on ONE 15 Marina Club starting with a cocktail reception at 6:30 PM.Those who miss out on the indulgent dinner can look forward to a whole month of gastronomic delights across the island in their Restaurant Week (14-23 April), Sweet Week (25-30 April), Wine Weeks (2-14 May) and Diary Week (16-21 May). Over 70 participating outlets will be offering discounts, promotions and tasting menus highlighting the heights of French cuisine in Singapore.
As part of the Restaurant Week, Antoinette will be offering a specially crafted menu including foir gras, lobster bisque and French style black pepper steak. Otherwise, diners can also get a chance at winning a S$60 dining voucher through a scratch and win. Many other establishments, such as Lewin Terrace, Saveur and Ginett, are taking part throughout the festival.