Exploring Biliteracy

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

What is Biliteracy? 

If you look up biliteracy in the dictionary, you’re going to get the bare essentials of a definition: “the ability to read and write proficiently in two languages.” Bilingualism is a similar concept but applied to more speech and comprehension. A person who is biliterate is, inherently, bilingual; a person who is bilingual, though, is not inherently biliterate. Biliteracy and bilingualism, therefore, are two foundational components of language-learning and proficiency. Both serve, in a way, as an end goal of learning a language. 

Bilingual = speaking/understanding 2 languages.

The concepts of biliteracy and bilingualism, however, are much more than their dictionary definitions. For many people, biliteracy is a way of life. When someone is biliterate, it is entrained into every fiber of their being. As a student of language, I have personally witnessed how biliteracy affects the people around me. Many of the biliterate people around me have pride in their languages and desire to spread their language to others. Often, they develop a passion for the culture of their languages. Being biliterate, it seems, fosters growth of a personal self. This is truly what biliteracy is: a development of one’s personal self through language. 

 

Language, Biliteracy, and Yourself

At this point, you may find yourself asking “Okay, but what does this have to do with me?” The answer, quite simply, is: a lot. Biliteracy is possibly one of the most crucial skills in all of society. Almost every imaginable career requires some form of biliteracy or could be bolstered by the inclusion of biliteracy. Imagine a doctor’s office, where a tourist comes in, unable to properly express their needs to the medical staff. What if a nurse there spoke that language? Or even a doctor?  This person would now be eligible to receive potentially life-saving medical attention. Not everything is life or death, obviously. Imagine a businessperson who can speak two languages. This opens opportunities for communication with more companies or customers. Being biliterate can field possibility in your career, propelling you farther in life.

Beyond your career, biliteracy is about personal connection, as we established above. For many people, biliteracy was natural, as their parents or grandparents spoke another language as their native tongue. Biliteracy, then, was how they communicated with their family. Even more, biliteracy opens your ability to communicate with others. If you can speak two languages, then you can communicate with anybody who speaks either of those languages. Imagine the potential you have just tapped into. Your future can be changed by anyone, and they just might speak another language. 

 

Fostering Biliteracy in New Hampshire and Beyond

How do we build up biliteracy then? Well, there are a million possibilities to start. One of the first steps to take, I believe, is educating our youth. Literacy and proficiency in languages are easier to obtain at a younger age. In the US government, a bill regarding biliteracy being integrated into education was recently discussed. You can check out this blog for more information on this act. Raising awareness in general, though, is also an important component in bringing biliteracy to more people. If more people know about biliteracy, particularly its many benefits, then more people will likely become interested in it. 

The most important part of fostering biliteracy, however, is community effort.  One person, nor one organization cannot foster biliteracy statewide, never mind nationwide. It will take the effort of entire communities to promote biliteracy and change the world. That, truly, is the goal of this blog, to begin a discussion on biliteracy in our community.

 

Discussing Biliteracy

The goal of the Franco-American Centre of New Hampshire is to promote history, culture, and education of the Franco-American populations in New Hampshire and around the globe. This new series, “Discussing Biliteracy,” will bring together people of our community, all from various walks of life, to discuss the importance of biliteracy and their own experiences with biliteracy. In the end, I hope to show you that biliteracy truly does foster personal growth and opportunity.

The Trouble With Computer Translators

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern

The need for language translation has increased in recent years. We live in a global world, where you can message people on different continents, or purchase items from a business on the other side of the world, all while sitting on your couch. But if you don’t speak the language of those friends, or if you can’t read the website of the business, you have a problem. This is where a translator comes in. 

 

Computer Translators

The first publicly announced computer translation took place in 1954, and performed by the IBM 701 computer. It could translate over 60 sentences of Russian to English, giving great hope to scientists about machine translation. Many believed all computers would soon do all translations. That hope quickly faded. While translation apps and programs today are a better resource than absolutely nothing, they are unreliable. Human translators, when available, give a far better translation. 

 

What Makes Translation Difficult?

Translation isn’t just using a dictionary to match word definitions and applying grammar rules to keep everything organized. There are many nuances to language that we sometimes don’t even notice until something interferes with them and impairs our understanding. 

Bat vs. Bat

When you see these words, you either imagine a winged rodent or a piece of sports equipment. Two very different things, yet the words for them in English are identical in spelling and sound. Words like this are called homonyms and exist in other languages. We rely on context to determine the meaning and use of these words. You would never talk about using a winged rodent to play baseball. Without context, translation, particularly by a machine, is simply cannot be accurate.

 

 

Idioms

Idioms can be baffling to explain even in our native languages. These phrases can’t be translated word-for-word, and a simple translation of meaning has a different effect and sometimes even a new meaning. Computers simply can’t process that. Phrases we use in English such as “wrap your head around it” and “fall in love” simply don’t make sense in other languages. An effective translation requires an in-depth knowledge of idioms and expressions in both languages. 

Humor

What we consider funny depends on our cultural background. Something comical may not transfer even to a different culture that speaks the same language. Trying to explain humor across cultures and language barriers requires an incredible breadth of knowledge. Computers cannot detect these subtle linguistic and comedic nuances. 

Culture

Our cultures themselves influence our language. What we say and how we say it is determined by what we deem to be appropriate to say in a given situation. Computers struggle to understand the level of formality necessary for a certain situation. And even the content of our speech is determined by what we view to be culturally appropriate. In the US, for instance, talking about a person’s weight is quite rude. To call someone fat is a great insult. But in other places and cultures, this topic isn’t so taboo. A computer doesn’t know or understand this and therefore cannot translate something of this nature in a culturally appropriately.

Multitude of Languages

It is estimated that there are 7,000 languages spoken worldwide. Just for a moment, if we pretend that computer translation is only essential to languages important in the global economy, then a computer translator still needs to know about 1,000 languages to be effective. That’s still a huge number. Now, if we consider Google Translate to be the benchmark for common translators, we would be disappointed to find it currently only recognizes 109 languages. 

 

Importance of Language

Language is essential in every part of our lives. It is our identity, our culture, and the way we connect with fellow humans. We need humans, not computers, to bridge the gap when we must connect with someone and we don’t share a common language. Computers don’t understand culture, idioms, or humor, and can’t accurately transcribe these human experiences from one language to another.

Beaujolais Nouveau: A Young Treasure

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

Beaujolais Nouveau Day ~ November 18, 2021

What is Beaujolais Nouveau Day? 

Beaujolais Nouveau Day the third Thursday of November on the French calendar. Typically, the day is marked with fireworks, music, and festivals throughout the country. All of this celebration is in response to the first wine of the season, the Beaujolais Nouveau. The wine has become engraved in non-French cultures as well, making the tables of many American families for Thanksgiving (which falls exactly one week after the release of the wine) and acting as the cause of celebration in Wales, where bars are booked up to a year in advance for the release.  

 

Beaujolais Region 

The Beaujolais region is home to Les Sarmentelles, the biggest celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau.  It is also where the Gamay grapes are produced, which will be fermented for roughly three weeks before the distribution of the wine begins. The grapes are mainly produced in the southern parts of Beaujolais, just north of Lyon. French law states that all grapes from this region have to be harvested by hand.  

 

Wine Production 

Carbonic Maceration Process

To make Beaujolais Nouveau wine, the winemaker (le viticulteur/ la viticultrice)  uses a distinct fermentation process that ferments the grapes for only three weeks. Wines fermented for such a short period of time are typically referred to as “young wines.” For the Beaujolais Nouveau, the wine is made using carbonic maceration, which emphasizes fruit flavors and does not extract the bitter tannins from the grape skins. The grapes are introduced to carbon dioxide in a fixed container, which is integrated into the uncrushed grapes and released into the wine as they are crushed. Once ready to be drunk, the wine is fresh, fruity, and low in tannins, but has a greater acidity than most red wines.  

 


Franco-American Centre Gala
 

The Franco-American Centre hosts an annual Gala to celebrate the production of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine. This year, they plan to continue that tradition on November 20th, just two days after the wine goes up for official sale. The event is being held at Derryfield Country Club in Manchester, NH.  Want to join us?  Make sure to reserve by November 12th. For non-members, the cost is $100; for members, it is $90.  

 

The event is marked by food and wine-tasting. A five-course meal will be served, with a wine perfectly paired to each course. For information about the menu, click the above image.  The 2021 Beaujolais Nouveau wine will make an appearance at the event, being paired with the main courses. Other activities at the gala will include a raffle, a silent auction, and music! 

Au plaisir de vous y voir!

À votre santé!

Architecture: Notre Dame Cathedral

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral is an enormous and intricately decorated building, with hundreds of hidden details. From the front doors to the gargoyles lining the ledges, each piece has a story of its own. This ancient structure has been a sacred place of worship in the center of Paris for over 800 years. At times it has stood in glory, and it has also suffered through periods of neglect. But the cathedral has always been repaired, and its place in popular thought restored.

 

Construction

Île de la Cité

The area now occupied by the Notre Dame Cathedral, Île de la Cité, has been a religious site for centuries. It was first home to a temple dedicated to the Roman god of the skies, Jupiter. Then the area housed a 4th-century Christian church, then in the 6th-century it became a basilica, then a 9th-century Cathedral, which became an 11th-century Romanesque cathedral. But by 1160, that cathedral still wasn’t a large enough place of worship or the ever-growing population of Paris. So King Louis VII approved and funded the construction of a new cathedral, and construction began in 1163. Although the building has been modified and remodeled several times throughout its long history, original construction is considered to have been completed in 1345. This new church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and named Notre Dame (‘Our Lady’ in French). 

 

The Doors

Many parts of the cathedral are intricately decorated, and nearly every detail is associated with a story. One of the most famous stories regards the stunning ironwork adorning one of the front doors. A young blacksmith named Biscornet was commissioned to craft them. When he revealed the doors to the public, they were so beautiful, rumors spread they were far too intricate to have been made with human hands. People said that Biscornet, under such pressure to make the doors, had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for beautiful ironwork. When Biscornet died shortly after the doors were completed, people said it must have been the devil receiving his payment. Rumors gained ground when the people couldn’t open the doors until a priest blessed them with holy water. 

 

Gargoyles

Gargoyles are another interesting detail of Notre Dame, as with many gothic pieces of architecture. They are grotesque animal statues made of limestone that adorn the Cathedral’s roof and ledges. The word ‘gargoyle’ comes from the French word gargouille, meaning throat or gullet. This is because gargoyles have spouts in their mouths, and spit rainwater away from the buildings they’re mounted on. They serve the practical purpose of providing a drainage system and also have a more symbolic purpose. They were intended to represent the sins & tragedy outside of the church walls in contrast with the sanctuary offered within. People at the time also believed gargoyles protected the church from evil. 

 

Heroes of Notre Dame

There have been many low points in the cathedral’s 800-year history. Times when the public didn’t need it anymore and it fell apart. One of these times was the Renaissance, when the cathedral simply fell out of style. By 1789, Notre Dame was no longer maintained by the Parisian Archbishop and fell into a state of disrepair. Many priceless artifacts were sold or stolen. Then in 1792, the famous spire collapsed. 

Napoleon Crowns Himself Emperor in the Notre Dame

But in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte I crowned himself emperor in the cathedral, and a surge of popularity followed. Then time passed again, and Notre Dame began to fall apart once more. In 1830, the revolution took its toll when rioters further degraded the building. Authorities considered demolishing it. 

But a year later, Victor Hugo published Notre Dame de Paris (more commonly called The Hunchback of Notre Dame in English). This again popularized the building, and breathed new life into the ancient cathedral. In 1842, a restoration project was launched. 

 

2019 Fire and the Future of Notre Dame

As many of us remember, 2 years ago a fire broke out on the roof of the cathedral. It raged for nine hours before firefighters could put it out. Much of the roof was destroyed, and the spire collapsed. At one point, many wondered if the cathedral was beyond repair. But the people of Paris worked to save the building’s invaluable artifacts from the fire, and since then, restoration projects have been announced. Restoration efforts will focus on recreating the original architecture (including the spire) with authentic materials. Although the pandemic has stalled restoration efforts, French president Emmanuel Macron has promised that the cathedral will reopen in 2024. This 800-year-old building will be saved again, and continue to stand tall in the center of Paris.

New Hampshire PoutineFest: A Celebration of All Things Poutine

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

What is Poutine?

 

Poutine, a traditional Québécois dish, deliciously combines French fries and cheese curds, smothered in brown gravy. Invented in rural Québec in the 1950s, poutine has become a staple of not only Québec cuisine but also Canadian and Northern U.S. cuisines as well. Originally, poutine did not include the gravy; in 1964, however, gravy was introduced and has never left. 

 

Who Made it First?

 

Claims to who invented poutine are fairly diverse and widely disputed among local Québec restaurants. The most known story is that a customer at the restaurant “Le Lutin Qui Rit” requested that the chef add cheese curds to his French fry dish in 1957. Despite this claim, the actual trademark for poutine is registered to Jean-Paul Roy, who owned the restaurant “Le Roy Jucep.” Roy was the first to serve the French fry dish with gravy. Another proposal is that people in Québec just developed the dish on their own, purchasing cheese curds and dumping them onto their fries. Wherever it originated, poutine is certainly a delicious Québécois staple. 

 

Variations on Poutine

 

Many restaurants have experimented with poutine toppings in recent decades. Some poutine-serving diners have variations of poutine that include meat toppings, such as chicken, brisket, or sausage. The most recent trend in poutine is fusion variations, which take traditional foods from other cultures and meld them with the traditional poutine. Some examples include Haitian, Greek, and even Japanese fusion. This trend has arisen because of the large number of immigrants coming to Québec City and Montreal, which allows the cultures to come in contact with and influence each other. 

 

Around holidays, some diners may offer seasonal variations on poutine as well. Perhaps the most well-known holiday variation is Thanksgiving poutine, which is often served in November. This variation is topped with traditional toppings like turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. These offers are typically promotional and will not stick around for a long period. 

 

For a healthier option, some alternatives have arisen from traditional poutine. For example, one can substitute French fries for sweet potatoes. This would provide a healthier option to the carb-heavy base of the staple. Another option is using mozzarella cheese instead of cheese curds. Mozzarella is often considered a healthier, more low-fat cheese and thus is often used as a substitute for fattier cheese. 

 

What is PoutineFest?

 

PoutineFest is a state-wide celebration of this devious Québécois staple. Organized by the FAC of New Hampshire, PoutineFest has been celebrating poutine in New Hampshire for 6 years. Every year, people gather together to tour local poutine-serving diners and have a day of family-fun. This year, tickets have already sold out for the Halloween-themed event, which will take place on October 23rd. After missing out in 2020, FAC is ecstatic to return with the 2021 Poutine Fest!!

The Greatest Con in History!

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern

Built in 1889 for the Paris World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower was meant to be torn down in 1909. But it became a popular cultural symbol, and its height made it a valuable radio tower in WWI.  For these reasons, it stood tall for years after 1909. Though by 1925, a period of economic hardship after WWI, the tower needed costly maintenance.  Some wondered if it was finally time to take down the tower.

 

Introducing Victor Lustig

When career con artist Victor Lustig read about this in the newspaper, he was inspired!  He came up with what would arguably become the biggest con in history.

Lustig told so many lies and had so many aliases across the world, it’s hard to tell truth from fiction about his early life. Most sources agree he was born and raised in Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic) and fluently spoke five languages. He was very clever.  He had the opportunity for higher education, but found a life of crime to be more satisfying. Lustig spent years conning rich passengers aboard Atlantic cruise ships.  He also ran several jobs across Europe and America before the Eiffel Tower Con that would make him infamous.

He began by calling up the top five representatives in the Parisian metal industry. He claimed to be a government worker auctioning off the Eiffel Tower for scrap. Of course, the tower wasn’t actually being sold for scrap, so he told them that this was a controversial decision, and not to tell anyone about it for now.

They all met at the famous Hôtel de Crillon, where Lustig took them to lunch, and went to see the tower he would ‘sell’ them. Coincidentally, there were maintenance crews there, and Lustig told the businessmen that they were preparing the tower for demolition.

 

One born every minute!

The representatives thought it had been a business meeting, but Lustig had been looking for his mark. And after that very first meeting, he found a perfectly gullible candidate: André Poisson, an ambitious man desperate to make his mark in the Paris industry.

Lustig approached him, and Poisson admitted he was a little skeptical about the purchase. So Lustig took young Poisson into his confidence and told him he was merely an underpaid employee of the government.  Lustig told Poisson that, for a little extra cash, he’d guarantee Poisson would win the auction.

This won Poisson over. No one would imagine a con man would ask for a bribe, but a dirty government worker might. He paid Lustig’s price for the tower in addition to the bribe.

As soon as Lustig had the money, he boarded a train to Vienna.  He hid there and waited for his scam to be found out.

But as the days turned into weeks, he still hadn’t heard news of a scam involving the Eiffel Tower.  He then realized he would never be discovered.

It turned out that when Poisson realized he was conned; he was so embarrassed he kept it to himself, and no one knew about Lustig’s clever scam.

And about a month later, Lustig pulled the scam again. He spoke to five more businessmen and gave the same pitch.

But this time his mark did some homework and discovered the tower wasn’t actually for sale.

Lustig didn’t get away with the money. However, he didn’t get caught then, and French officials never caught up with him.

 

The law catches up

American law, however, caught up with him eventually. He had run many scams in the States before, even conning Al Capone, and had been arrested over 50 times. But there was never quite enough evidence to hold him.

Yet, over time, he had circulated so many counterfeit bills that the US economy was beginning to feel the effects.  This made officials hunt for him even harder.

As with most con artists, it was greed that got him in the end. It wasn’t greed for money that got him into trouble, though. His girlfriend found out that she was being cheated on and left an anonymous tip with the authorities. That was enough to get Lustig locked up in Alcatraz.

Le Jardin du Luxembourg & Parisian Beauty

 

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

Palazzo Pitti

The Luxembourg Garden, Le Jardin du Luxembourg, is an iconic Parisian monument that boasts over 25 hectares of land. Within those 25 hectares (or about 62 acres) of land, the park hosts statues, fountains, tennis courts, flowerbeds, ponds, and even a theatre! The Luxembourg Garden is without a doubt among the most extravagant gardens in the modern world; designed to reflect the Palazzo Pitti of Florence, the gardens mark the luxurious lifestyle of the old French monarchy and elite class. Although designed to imitate Italian architecture and design, the French location has thoroughly impacted the aesthetics of the garden throughout the years.

 

The Origins

When King Henri IV was assassinated in 1610, his wife, Marie de Midicis, ordered the construction of the Luxembourg Garden. Burdened by the memory of her husband, Marie de Midicis grew tired of the Louvre, which then acted as a palace for the monarchy, and desired a fresh start. Marie’s fresh start manifested as an entirely new palace: the Palais du Luxembourg. Surrounded by the now-famous Luxembourg Gardens, the palace and estate were designed to imitate the Palazzo Pitti, Marie’s childhood home. Completed in 1625, the original gardens were only eight hectares in size, but continued to expand until 1790. One of the lead gardeners on the job was Tommaso Francini, who designed two of the terraces along with the Palais du Luxembourg and constructed the Medici Fountain, the most famous fountain in the gardens. 

Luxembourg Gardens

 

Expansions & Renovations

Tuilerie Gardens

In 1630, additional purchases from the government expanded the size of the Luxembourg gardens . This expansion project was guided under the direction of Jacques Boyceau de la Barauderie. Baraduderies had previously worked on the gardens of Chateau Versailles and in the Tuileries Gardens. Imitating earlier French styles, Baraduderies created a system of geometric gardens and attractions. Perhaps the most notable of these was the octagonal fountain constructed in the center of the new gardens. To this day, children use this fountain for activities such as model boat racing. After these additions, the gardens were largely ignored throughout the reign of the next few monarchs. In 1780, King Louis XVIII sold some lands, about 10 acres, to pay for the restoration of the site. This land was later confiscated following the French Revolution and added to the gardens once more. 

 

Arc de Triomphe

King Louis’ renovations were headed by the famous architect Jean Chalgrin, who was also an architect on the Arc de Triomphe. Chalgrin preserved the older French styles of architecture, even as he added new and increasingly modern elements to the gardens.  Many of the essential sites remained intact, including the nurseries and vineyards. Chalgrin added his own flair, of course, through elements like the addition of a path that lined the length of the garden, from the palace to the observatory. The original terraces are still intact today and line the main path in the Luxembourg Gardens. Statues began to adorn the paths of the gardens in 1848 after the fall of the July Monarchy in France. All of this would change, however, when Paris began to take a different direction under new leadership.

Luxembourg Gardens

 

 

Medici Fountain

Under Napoleon III, the gardens were renovated once more. This time, to put roads through them. One road ran right over the Medici Fountain, which was taken down and reconstructed. To date, the Medici Fountain remains in this new location. Additions were made as well, specifically the ornamental gates and fences, a significant factor in the garden’s elegant aesthetic. These features were constructed by Gabriel Davioud, who had already overseen the construction of many statues throughout the city. Devious also designed the Pavillon Davioud, a brick garden house that strikingly resembled the English style at the time. 

 

Legacy

Example of monument

Once the garden’s many renovations were completed, the site became a harbor for preserving French culture. In particular, statues and models would find homes within the gardens, ranging from busts of famous politicians, poets, or philosophers to a model of the Statue of Liberty. This collection of French cultural hallmarks is ever-expanding. More recently, recreational additions have also been added, including tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, etc. All of this has produced a site that truly exemplifies the Parisian beauty that we have all come to recognize. 

World of French: Haiti

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern 

Prologue

FAC members & friends extend sympathy and solidarity to our afflicted Haitian friends and to the Haitian-American communities who are concerned for their affected relatives and contacts on the island.

Many organizations are working to aid the Haitian recovery effort. For those looking to make a donation, consider these organizations:

Hope for Haiti

Locally Haiti

Haitian Health Foundation

 

Beautiful Haiti

Haiti on the Island of Hispaniola

Mountains dominate the western third of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean and hold island valleys, plains, and plateaus. In this tropical landscape lies the nation of Haiti. It is home to incredible people with a unique culture and boasts an impressive history. 

Hispaniola was originally home to the Taíno kingdom before the arrival of Europeans. The Spanish came first and the French joined them. They soon began to fight, and in 1697 Spain gave France the western third of the island. The French turned this land into the colony of Saint Dominique and shipped in African slaves to work the sugarcane and coffee fields. This colony became the wealthiest in the French Empire in the 18th century. 

General Toussaint

By 1791, the slaves who had done all the labor to gain that wealth were tired of their predicament and revolted. They took control of the northern part of the colony and went to war with their former masters. In 1804, they beat the French and gained their independence. They renamed their new nation Haiti, which would become the second oldest republic in the western hemisphere. 

Because of the mixture of native, African, and French influences, modern Haiti is home to a unique culture. Creole and French are the nation’s official languages, and most of the country’s literature is in one of these tongues. Most writers are part of the intellectual elite, so literature often contains leftover French influences. The subject of this literature often relates to the political turmoil or hurricane disasters Haiti has experienced. 

In contrast, the art of Haiti is bright, cleverly humorous, and innovative. Commonly featured on canvas are stunning local landscapes or cultures. Art is often themed or tied to indigenous or African traditions, cultural aspects, or religion.

Tchaka

Another marvelous art in Haiti is the cuisine. As with most other things in Haiti, it is a blend of different cultures and influences. Staples include beans and rice, as well as tropical fruits. Chicken, beef, and goat are common proteins. Foods are often simple, but spicy, with a twist of bold flavors. Some popular dishes include tchaka, a squash and meat stew, and riz national, a rice dish with beans, vegetables, and sometimes fish.

 

 

Although the nation of Haiti has experienced conflict over the years from various sources, it is a beautiful place, geographically and culturally, with a complex history.

A Beautiful Island Nation

The World of French Films

Ana Tunberg, SNHU Intern

 

Please be advised: 

The movies discussed in this article contain scenes of violence and mature content and are meant for mature audiences.

 

Movies at our fingertips

The film industry continues to rapidly expand and evolve.  With the rise of streaming services and technology such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu (just to name a few!) viewers all over the globe can access more international films than ever before. This ease of access has made international and foreign films more popular than ever, including French films!

The Francophone world is wide and varied.  Each of the 80+ French speaking countries has a unique culture and stories to share.  As such, it is impossible to encapsulate all French films in one category.  So, let’s take a peek behind the curtain, or in this case behind the screen, at three recent films to get a taste of the world of French cinema.  Perhaps you will discover a gem for your next movie night (or two… or three…)! 

Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu

The 2019 award-winning drama, Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), is a historical romance set in Victorian France.  It tells the story of a love affair between two women- an aristocrat named Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) and a painter named Marianne (Noémie Merlant).

Héloïse, who does not want to marry, refuses to sit for her wedding portrait.  Her mother therefore commissions Marianne, who poses as a companion for Héloïse, to paint the wedding portrait in secret.  The film uses art as a love language between the two women and the painting carries a symbolic meaning of deep emotions and desires throughout the film.  It immerses the audience in the characters, their relationship, the setting, and everything in between.

The players

 

Adèle Haenel (Héloïse) is a talented and decorated actress who has garnered several nominations.  She has won two César Awards and a Lumières Award as well as accolades at several film festivals.

Noémie Merlant (Marianne) gives a breakout performance in this film for which she received a César Award nomination and won the Lumières Award for best Actress.

Céline Sciamma (writer & director), received several accolades with Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu. The film won the Queer Palm, which is an accomplishment in and of itself, making Sciamma the first woman in history to receive this award. Sciamma also received the Best Screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival for this film.

Overall, this cathartic historical drama is well worth the watch!

Elle

Adapted from the Novel “Oh…” by Philippe Djian, Elle is a fast-paced film that goes beyond a story of revenge.  This 2016 award-winning thriller/drama is directed by Paul Verhoeven, has a strong female lead and a killer plot. It will definitely prick the minds of all its viewers.

The Plot

When a video game company CEO, Michèle Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert) is sexually assaulted by a stranger, she does not report it to the police and takes matters into her own hands. The hunt and the characters become more complex as the story moves along, and the psychological thriller aspect of the film comes into play as we follow Michèle on her chase towards avengement.

This film delivers several successful motifs, such as the strong, successful, and determined female character, and the mystery of seeking retribution through a wild chase that constantly flips the roles of predator and prey. Not only does the film present these motifs, but the film also goes even deeper with their meaning to this specific film that gives the audience a lot to think about.

The Star

Isabelle Huppert, considered one of the best actresses of this time, has earned several awards, including the César Award for Best Actress for her role in Elle.

Elle was nominated for many awards including several film festivals.  At the César Awards, Elle earned the prize for Best Film and the award for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.

This film will not disappoint viewers in giving them quite a ride. 

Antigone

 Antigone is a 2019 French-Canadian film written and directed by Sophie Deraspe.  This gripping, refreshing, and award-winning drama adapts the old play of ancient Greece to the challenges of the modern world to create an artistic look at politics and immigration, and the strength of character and relationships behind these real-world issues.

Refugees from Kabylia called the Hipponomes, Antigone (Nahéma Ricci) and her family live in Québec.   Antigone is a straight A student who looks after her more troubled brother Polynice (Rawad El-Zein), who is at risk of being deported. 

 

A Greek Tragedy

Even those familiar with the source material will be surprised by this adaptation as viewers who have never even heard of the Ancient Greek drama. While the movie follows similar plot points and centers on the idea of a woman going against the rules for the greater good, the entire premise of the film changes to a more modern adaptation.  The story focuses on current issues regarding immigrant families and feminism, while also delving into the characters and family dynamics.  This creates an educational, empowering, and artistic film that reaches as many hearts as the original play did.

Accolades

Garnering several nominations, Antigone received the Canadian Screen Award for Best Motion Picture, and Deraspe received the Canadian Screen Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Nahéma Ricci is a young, talented actress whose star is on the rise.  She won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Actress.

Antigone is a unique and successful adaptation that will impact a variety of viewers. 

Movie Time!

Films are a great way to look into a culture and to educate yourself.  I therefore encourage you, dear reader, to indulge in the art of the screen while watching international films.   Take advantage to the access and availability of French films. Bring the world home with just one click.

 

The Styles of Post-Impressionist Art

Angelina Iosso,
SNHU Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-Impressionist art started as a backlash to the unstructured paintings that were prevalent during the Impressionist period. Post-Impressionist art takes the vibrant colors and ideas that the art community was used to in the Impressionist movement and transformed them into a new style by focusing on the structure of the piece rather than the style. This isn’t to say that all pieces from the period were inherently realist. Different artists were still able to put their own personal touch on their artwork and created their own niche in the style, and even influenced other artists to follow their model. Nevertheless, all of the post-Impressionist paintings were alike because they had key artistic aesthetics that set them apart from other movements.  Each artist was able to explore their own styles through the movement because of the acceptance that was had for new forms of art during this period. Eventually, some of the different styles branched off into being key points of their own movements. Veering away from the Impressionist style and embracing the new in post-Impressionist helped the art world continue growing and ever evolving.

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cezanne was the father of the post-Impressionist movement. His paintings focus on vibrant structure. Breaking away from the wispy designs of the Impressionist style and embracing the new structure created a catalyst in the French art world and gave other artists the confidence to try new styles within their art as well. His work was also a beginning in stirring the style of Cubism and Fauvism. Cezanne stepped away from the norm of Impressionism and was able to explore darker tones in a still vibrant and structured way. One of his most famous painting locations was at Mont Sainte-Victoire, which sheltered Cezanne’s hometown. Undeniably a landscape painting, the shadows and shapes seen throughout the many different versions of Cezanne’s famous paintings show the stylistic choices that make each painting unique for the viewer.

 

Paintings by Cézanne

 

Paul Gaugin

Still Life with Three Puppies

Paul Gaugin was another important member of the Post Impressionist movement. Gaugin was also one of the first famous artists to travel far to capture the essence of his paintings.  He studied primitivism and wanted to capture that within his art. His paintings were influential to many members of the art community because of his vibrant use of color, flat planes, and distorted style. In his painting “Still Life with Three Puppies,” the distortion of his style is seen in the two dimensional cups and dogs drinking from the bowl. Even though Gaugin was untrained his unique style and subject matter created a lasting impact on the movement and the future of art history. His pieces had such a vibrant style and impact that they created a lot of stirring in the artistic community of Paris. Gaugin eventually permanently moved to Tahiti in the continuation of focusing on creating art in his unique style.

 

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse had a similar distorted style but focused on abstract subjects. While Paul Gaugin was not fully accepted in the artistic community of Paris, Henri Matisse was. He is still a leading figure in modern art because of his fantastic use of color and personal style. His work also led the way into Fauvism and played a huge role in modern art. The piece below is called The Green Line. Matisse painted this portrait of his wife in an untraditional way by changing the shading away from the norm. He experimented in a lot of his work and was not scared to step out of the status quo in pursuit of his art. This is one of the key themes of post-Impressionist art.

Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat was another member of the Post Impressionism movement who had a revolutionary impact on art throughout history. Seurat used an intricate style of pointillism to create the structure in his pieces. Pointillism is a painting technique where tiny dots are used in specific patterns to form an image. George Seurat was one of the first people to capitalize on this technique and do it professionally. Here is an example close up of the composition of his painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”  The dots throughout created a mystical but structured complete design.  Below is the full painting, created all just through a series of dotted patterns!

 

 

 

The Post Impressionist movement was a way for artists to expand their repertoire and embrace art in all of it’s unique forms. By embracing these new styles, the artists created their own niche in art history and for some even led to new movements of art with others embracing the new technique. Paul Cezanne stepped away from Impressionism and in doing so paved the way for others to be even more adventurous than him with their artistic expression. Paul Gaugin spent his life studying new cultures to create unique art. Henri Matisse spent his career finding and embracing his own style, which eventually led into the embrace of Fauvism by the next generation of artists. George Seurat even coined his own movement, Pointillism, and style by taking a risk and studying the intricacy to patterns and light in his paintings. The different styles of Post Impressionism show how important stepping out of a comfort zone is for an artist and for future artists to study.

Musée du Louvre

Chloe Rich,
SNHU Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Musée du Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and holds some of the most famous pieces of art. On August 10th, the Louvre Museum will celebrate its 228th year as a museum and on September 11th, Laurence des Cars will be the first woman director of the Louvre. Before opening as an art museum in 1793, the Louvre functioned as a royal palace for more than two centuries. In the year 1546, King Francis I demolished a 12th-century fortress on the land and began construction of a palace that became his residence. 

The Louvre Fortress in 12th Century, built by King Philippe Auguste via My Modern Met

 

King Francis I was a known art collector, causing the palace to double as a house for the King’s collected work, including works by Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. King Francis built a small portion of the Louvre Palace, with construction and expansion continuing under King Henry II, Charles IX, Louis XIV, and almost every subsequent monarch after. With every new monarch came a larger collection of artwork, creating the collection we can see today at the museum. 

 

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre Museum via TakeWalks

So, what artwork makes up the Louvre? The museum houses over 380,000 objects and 35,000 pieces of work in eight departments. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is the most famous art piece featured at the museum. It was acquired by King Francis I in 1518 and was moved to the Palace of Versailles in 1682 when King Louis XIV brought it there. It was not until after the French Revolution the Mona Lisa ended up at the Louvre for display.

 

 

Another famous painting featured at the Louvre is Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix. In his painting, Delacroix depicts Liberty waving the tricolor flag leading a group of men in the Revolution of France. Delacroix completed the painting in 1830, only a few months after the French Revolution concluded in July. The tricolor flag is the same flag held by militia as they stormed the Bastille and now represents the national flag of France. Delacroix has several other works of art featured at the Louvre.

 

Notable for his depiction of Napoleon’s Coronation, Jacques-Louis David is another must-see at the Paris museum. David is considered the first painter of the Emperor, and his painting Coronation of Napoleon features the event which took place in Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral in December of 1804. The painting was brought sometime in 1807 to the Louvre, known then as the Napoleon Museum, and can be found in the Denon wing today. These are a few of the thousands of pieces at the Louvre, so click here if you want to see all the collections at the Louvre. 

 

Not only does the Louvre contain beautiful works of art, but the grounds surrounding the former palace also contain beautiful statues and gardens. In the Louvre’s main courtyard, you can find the Louvre Pyramid, built in 1988. Three smaller ones surrounded the pyramid and had one inverted pyramid beneath it, which can be seen from inside the museum. Architect Ieoh Ming Pei was commissioned to modernize the Louvre in 1983 and built the courtyard pyramid to mimic the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Jardin des Tuileries in Paris France via ParisInfo

 

Beyond the pyramid, visitors at the Louvre can stroll through the Tuileries Garden between the Louvre courtyard, Place de la Concorde, and the Seine River. Le Jardin was constructed alongside a palace in 1564, ordered by Queen Catherin de Médicis. Nowadays, the garden includes walking paths around two ponds. Along the paths, you can find statues built by 20th-century sculptor Aristide Maillol, animal sculptures from August Cain, and contemporary exhibitions by more modern artists. Needless to say, any time spent at Le Musée du Louvre will be time filled with France’s beauty and rich history.

Brief History of Acadian Day & Celebration!

Angelina Iosso,
SNHU Intern

August 15th is National Acadian day!  A day when Acadians in both Canada and the US celebrate their heritage and culture! On National Acadian Day people celebrate with Tintamarre; a noisy and colorful event for all to celebrate! In the Canadian Maritime, a grand celebration is held where people parade through their communities with instruments to make noise and celebrate their heritage together.

Today, Acadians live primarily in the Canada’s Maritime provinces and Quebec as well as in the United States, mostly in Maine and Louisiana. This is in part due to colonial wars fought between France and England. After these wars, France ceded most of Acadian land to Great Britain. The Acadians refused to submit to the British Monarchy resulting in The Great Upheaval (1755-1764), where Acadians were deported or went into in hiding.

Why is Acadian Day celebrated August 15th?  When Acadians decided to have a special holiday they debated between Saint-Jean Baptiste Day (French Canadian’s national holiday) on June 24th and the day of Our Lady of Assumption, celebrated on August 15th.   While at the first National Acadian Convention in Memramcook, New Brunswick in 1881, our Lady of Assumption was chosen as the patron saint of Acadians.

Overall, Acadian Day celebrates the contribution of Acadians.  To the cultural fabric, their history and cultural specificity in all its joyous diversity.  With fairs, barbeques, festivals and other celebratory events like the Tintamarre, it’s a great day for everyone.

On August 15th, 2021, anyone in the Manchester Area is invited to join the Franco American Centre for our Acadian Family Day Celebration! The event, a picnic, is for Acadians and Acadians at heart to connect here in New Hampshire. Come down to Lafayette Park in Manchester, NH from 11 am to 2pm on August 15th! Bring your own lunch, blanket, and join us in celebrating Acadian Day!

 

Click here to let us know you’re coming!

Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie

Written by Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – high school Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you study at a French-speaking university? If so, most likely your university was a member of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (Agency of French-speaking Universities). The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, or AUF, is an international association of French-speaking universities that seek to promote education in countries with a French-speaking population. Funded by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (International Organization of French-speaking Countries), or OIF, the AUF seeks to promote a sense of community between French-speaking universities around the world. Currently, AUF has 1,007 member universities across 199 countries on six different continents. 

 

Jean-Marc Léger

Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, the AUF has been growing since its inception. The organization was founded in 1959 by Jean-Marc Léger, a Canadian journalist for Le Devoir, and André Bachan, the public relations director for the University of Montreal. The duo proposed a collection of French-speaking universities worldwide to centralize funding and education plans for the Francophone world at large. In September 1961, 150 representatives from different French universities came together and established the Association des Universités Partiellement ou Entièrement de Langue Française (AUPELF, or the Association of Partially or Entirely French-speaking Universities). 

 

Since its beginnings, the AUF has undergone many expansions. The AUPELF was expanded to include the Université des Réseaux d’Expression Français (UREF), which was a program for transfer students that sought to connect universities based on research and education across different Francophone countries. In 1993, six years after UREF’s establishment, AUPELF changed its name to AUPELF-UREF. By 1998, the AUF became known as the AUF as it expanded its reach among the Francophone world. 

 

Because of the massive spread of the AUF, the organization’s structure is extremely important to its coherent function. The association is made of several major bodies of control. The general assembly is the main body of the AUF. Every four years, the general assembly’s 774 members sit to create a systematic plan to reach a set of determined goals. The goals and objectives guide the actions and partnerships of the AUF for the next four years. The Association Council functions as a force to create a sense of unity between the member universities. They meet with representatives from all universities and foster a sense of unity and solidarity that bridges the massive cultural differences. Other university representatives are selected to serve on the board of directors, which combines university and government officials to decide on the organization’s direction and its path towards achieving the four-year objectives. 

 

Université de Montréal

The general assembly elects the AUF President for four-year terms. Among their duties are controlling partnerships, heading the direction of the organization, and ruling the board of directors. The rector is another individual position, elected by the board of directors. Primarily, the rector focuses on implementing the financial obligations and proper funds to the different partners and universities the organization is dealing with. The rector presides over the University Development and cooperation funds. The final body of control is the Scientific Council, which is the body responsible for generating pedagogy and curriculum for the Francophonie universities. Members of the committee are selected for their unique qualifications and experience in the matter of education and seek to better the education of all member universities. Some are selected for their skills in science and technology, while others are selected for their ability to understand and connect across multiple cultures. 

 

Activities in the AUF are classified into four categories: Language and Communication, Economic Development, Scientific Skill Reinforcement, and Education. Language and Communication activities are targeted at supporting the French language via multilingualism and multiculturalism in the universities. They also promote scientific skill development across many categories. These activities direct the curriculum of classes related to language, culture, literature, and education. Economic Development activities are entirely focused on funding the other activities and partnerships of the AUF. Scientific Skill Reinforcement activities bridge the gap between regional offices and scientific departments of the AUF. The most important piece of these activities is to promote scientific research at member universities. Education activities seek to promote research and offer training for teachers and students in high education across the Francophone world. 

 

Partnerships with the AUF are established, along with specific guidelines. First, the partner must help establish

Collège de France

more Francophone universities and give them developmental roles. Second, the partner must seek ties with both the major agencies of the AUF alongside its member universities. Third, the partner must seek to increase development via knowledge sharing, scientific development, or tools for scientific cooperation. The AUF has been asked to partner with the European Union, the United Nations, and the World Bank on previous occasions. 

 

Mohammed V University for Rabbat

In 2011, the AUF marked its “Golden Anniversary” as its 50th year connecting Francophone universities. As the AUF becomes older, it increases its presence in the education of Francophone students. With over 1,000 member universities, the AUF is helping further the education of millions of students in colleges and universities worldwide. In the coming years, the AUF seeks to continue playing a massive role in the education that occurs with Francophone universities.

Art Movement : Impressionism

Angelina Iosso,
SNHU Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When people think of French Artist one of the first thoughts is of the beautiful natural landscapes of Monet or the humanistic style of Manet. These two amazing artists, as well as so many others, paved the way for French artists to make their mark on the world through the beauty of their paintings and most notably through the Impressionistic Style. The Impressionism movement was popular at the end of the 19th century and focused on small thin brush stroke that meant to create a a juxtaposition between objects and the light touching them. This movement used everyday people, objects, events, and relationships and casted them in a natural light to tell a message to the viewer of the paintings.

 

Female Impressionists: Berthe, Cassatt, and Gonzalès

 

The Impressionism movement was huge for women. Because of past social mores, Women did not have the same access to artistic education that men did. One of the reasons that they could not create a name for themselves before the Impressionism movement was because artists needed to study anatomy to create beautiful paintings of the human form. These nude figure drawing classes were unheard of for women to attend which held them back from realizing the true extent of their talent. With the Impressionism movement, rather than the Neoclassical or Romanticism movement, the subject of the painting was no longer the human form but rather of human interaction with their natural landscapes. The impressionism movement was all about telling a modern story through art. Women were able to branch out and finally join the canon because they were able to put their own spin on art and learn from famous painters without worrying as much about the social stigma.

That is not to say that in the time of Impressionism there were no social rules women of class had to follow. Unmarried Women were expected to always be accompanied by a chaperone when leaving the house, and in the home were expected to be practicing decorative arts like embroidery, drawing, or painting always in the presence of other women. Because it was expected of them, many women spent their time invested in the arts but it was still hard to branch into the movement without the help of other respected artists or their affluent families.

 

Mary Cassatt

One female Impressionist artist, Mary Cassatt, was able to create a name for herself in the Impressionism movement. American born, her and her family moved from Pennsylvania to France in the late 1800s. There she continued practicing her craft and exceeded in exhibiting her work among other Impressionist artists with the help of a new friend, Edgar Degas. Degas is one of the more prevalent Impressionist painters, many of his paintings depicting women in movement. Mary Cassatt created many different intimate paintings of women from a woman’s perspective throughout her artistic career. Most of her more famous paintings depicted the relationship between mother and child that she was able to observe between her sisters and their children. Never having married herself, Mary Cassatt lived with family but created a very strong career for herself that supported her well. Her paintings made it into the Paris Salon many times and she is known as a great Impressionistic painter.

Here are three paintings that showcase Cassatt’s take on the Impressionistic style.

Pictured : Breakfast in Bed, The Child’s Bath, Young Mother Sewing

Eva Gonzalès

Another female Impressionism artist I am going to highlight is Eva Gonzalès. Eva Gonzalès started as a pupil of Édouard Manet. , and she learned a lot of her art style from him. Her style closely mirrored Manet’s Spanish period of art. She painted representations of everyday life, deeply marked with Manet’s guidance and influence. Her work may not be as innovative and bright as other artists like Berthe Morisot or Mary Cassatt’s pieces, but the neutral somber tone of her paintings set Gonzalès apart from others. Even towards the end of his career, when Manet drifted back to color, Gonzalès continued to retain her neutral color scheme, and this individualized her work from other prominent artists. Gonzalès showed the Impressionism movement through her own eyes and learned the craft through her close study with talented artists such as Édouard Manet. She died of childbirth at the height of her career before she could reach her true potential.

Here are two notable paintings Eva Gonzalès completed: Une loge aux Italiens (A Box at the Italian Theater), and Morning Awakening.

 

Pictured : Une loge aux Italiens and Morning Awakening

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot was another famous female artist. She, along with Cassatt and Marie Bracquemond, were a part of a group of three women named “Les Trois Grandes Dames” or “The Three Great Ladies” of the Impressionism movement by critic Henri Focillon. Berthe Morisot was immersed in the artistic community. She was privileged to attend formal schooling for art and was a part of the Paris Salon many times throughout the end of the 19th century. Morisot continued her craft professionally after her marriage to Eugène Manet, Édouard Manet’s brother. Berthe Morisot worked closely alongside her brother-in-law Édouard Manet but continued to incorporate her independent flair into her own art. She focused her paintings on working, sophisticated, and well-dressed Parisian women. They were at the forefront of Berthe Morisot’s work. Throughout her long career, she continued to work freely and independently while showcasing the best aspects of the Impressionistic art style in her unique way.

Here are some vastly different paintings she created throughout her long career as a notable female impressionistic artist. The first is In England , showcasing her husband Eugène. The next painting is The Cradle. Finally, Self Portrait of Morisot.

Pictured : In England, The Cradle, Self Portrait

 

 

 

Cinderella and Other French Fairy Tales

Written by Jasmine Grace,
High School Intern

 

Hans Christian Andersen

Everyone knows at least one of the classic fairy tales. Maybe it’s one of the more popular tales, like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, or a less famous one like Bluebeard. Perhaps you heard your tale as a bedtime story, or maybe you’ve seen Disney’s cartoon version of the tale. You may not have known the writer of these stories wasn’t Disney or Hans Christian Andersen or even the Brothers Grimm, but Frenchman Charles Perrault.

 

Charles Perrault

Perrault began his career as a lawyer and politician and became known for his writing later in life. He was part of L’Académie Française and heavily involved in the Ancients versus Moderns controversy. This 17th-century literary debate in France and England disputed the relevance of classical Greek and Roman writings to the modern era. The Ancients firmly believed classical writing was the exclusive standard for literature. The Moderns, inspired by recent scientific discoveries, believed in the evolution of literature. Perrault was a Modern in this debate. 

 

Perrault eventually made peace with the Ancients. He wrote his fairy tales under his son’s name, or 

Classical Greek

even under the name Mother Goose, so he didn’t upset the Ancients again with his modern writing. He is credited as being the father of the entire fairy tale genre, although he didn’t invent many of the tales he wrote. Most were folktales with ancient origins, and he was the first to collect them and write them on paper. He also aimed these stories at children, telling them in a simplistic yet literary manner, demonstrating his principles as a modern. Neither of these things had been done before. He called this collection Contes de ma Mère L’oye (Tales of Mother Goose). Some of the most remembered stories in this collection include Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, and Cinderella. By writing these tales on paper, Perrault preserved the 17th-century version of these stories. 

Little Red Riding Hood

The story Cinderella, Cendrillon in French, is an excellent example of a tale that has evolved. It began as a simple rags to riches folktale, likely of Chinese or possibly Egyptian origins. Perrault’s version told of a beautiful and good young woman forced to live with her father’s new wife and her cruel daughters. She slept next to the fireplace and is perpetually covered in cinders, where she gets the nickname Cinderella. One day, the Prince of the region hosts a ball and invites all the ladies so he might find himself a wife. The stepsisters are allowed to go, but tell Cinderella she has to stay home. Cinderella’s godmother takes pity on her and uses her magic wand to turn a pumpkin into a carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a driver, and lizards into footmen. She turns Cinderella’s rags and wooden shoes into a splendid ball gown and glass slippers. Then sends Cinderella to the ball with a warning to be back before midnight. At the ball, Cinderella catches the Prince’s eye, and they dance until the clock chimes midnight, and Cinderella runs away as her carriage turns back to a pumpkin, and her dress again becomes a dirty grey kirtle. The Prince throws another ball the next night, and again Cinderella dresses up her stepsisters but isn’t allowed to attend herself. So, her fairy godmother helps her out, and she gets to dance with the Prince once more. But this time, as she runs back home at the stroke of twelve, she’s in such a rush she leaves behind one of her slippers. No one at the ball knows who Cinderella is, so the next day the Prince takes the slipper to every maiden in the countryside to find his mysterious princess. 

 

When he gets to Cinderella’s house, both stepsisters try on the slipper, but it’s too small for them. It’s jokingly suggested Cinderella tries on the slipper, and when she does, it fits perfectly. She shows everyone the other slipper, and the Prince recognizes her as his lovely princess. They get married, and live happily ever after, as king and queen. And because Cinderella is so good and forgiving, she invites her stepsisters to live in the castle. 

 

It was Perrault who added the details of the magical godmother, the pumpkin carriage, and the glass slippers. The next step in the evolution of this tale was when the Brothers Grimm retold the tale in a darker and even more fantastical manner. In their version, the stepmother and stepsisters are crueler than the French version. When the Prince brings the slipper (gold, not glass, in their retelling) to their house, they are so desperate to make it fit, they cut off their toes. And instead of Cinderella inviting them to live in the castle with her happily ever after, she convinces crows to peck out their eyes, cursing them blind for their wickedness. The Brothers Grimm also made this story more fantastical; Cinderella can talk to the birds, and they help her when she needs it. 

 

Disney’s Cinderella

 

To bring this ancient story to a modern audience, Disney made it into a cartoon movie. The movie features the storyline closest to the Brothers Grimm version, but with much less darkness. The animals talk, there’s plenty of singing, and no one cuts off any toes. 

 

None of these magnificent tales would have survived to the modern era if not for Perrault’s preservation and popularization of them, or if others hadn’t adapted them to fit audiences of different times. Today, these tales continue to evolve, with retellings through many lenses.

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