The 2016–2017 season, undeniably appealing, contemporary and demanding, is ready!!! Don’t wait any longer to discover it.

Lectures, films, plays, exhibits, concerts and shows for children: we offer you more than 100 unique events this year, with the participation of many international artists and renowned intellectuals.

We will be presenting over 200 artists from French-speaking countries: not only those representing Canada (Quebec, Ontario, Acadia), but also international performers from countries such as Belgium, France, Mali, Morocco and Haiti.

Five themes will serve as the main threads running through this new season. They will act as bridges connecting the various artistic disciplines: film, literature, music, the visual arts… with no restrictions whatsoever. They will encourage and motivate you by awakening your intellectual curiosity and allowing you to discover new talents.

Passionate, mad love

Love is one of the most universal themes, abundantly explored and developed in every form of art. Sometimes it’s a passion that can lead to madness, while at other times it can involve subtle feelings or perhaps excessive fondness; these are among the different varieties of Love that we will evoke.

Our many concerts, such as the one featuring the French baroque ensemble La Rêveuse, or Judith Cohen’s concert on Courtly Love in the Middle Ages, will allow you to discover all the facets of the feeling of love, conveyed through the music of great composers. Love will also be one of the themes of our movie screenings, with legendary films such as Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman and the more recent Xavier Dolan film Mommy.

Travel and discover French cultures around the world

Alliance française places top priority on presenting all French-speaking communities from the five continents. This theme highlights the various cultures through their diversity and the one feature they all have in common: the French language. Thanks to our partner, Batuki Music Society, we will discover Mali with well-known kora player Diely Mori Tounkara, South Africa with the incredible singer Lorraine Klaasen, Morocco with the group Marocouleurs and Zimbabwe with the group Nhapitapi Mbira. Likewise, a series of movies by filmmakers from Morocco, Rwanda and Haiti, namely Nadine Modkèche, Kivu Ruhorahoza and Raoul Peck, will take you on a journey to a variety of French-speaking countries and cultures all over the world.

Canada's 150th anniversary: past, present and future

2017 will mark the 150th anniversary of Canada, a country that, though young, has a rich, complex and fascinating past. In this third theme, we will focus on the major events that have marked the country’s history through a variety of extraordinary lecturers, intellectuals and artists. The Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the highlights of French-Canadian history, will be widely explored, notably through Racheal McCaig’s photography exhibit, also presented at Givenchy-en-Gohelle in France as part of the centennial commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 2017. We will also be showcasing the new generation of Canadian artists, with concerts featuring bright and original new talents such as Mehdi Cayenne, the band Pandaléon and Myriam Bleau, an audio-visual performance artist from Quebec. And lastly, this theme will showcase Canada’s natural splendours in all their beauty and fragility. We will offer a special exhibition of the photography of one of today’s greatest photographers, Sebastião Salgado, which will be devoted to Kluane National Park and Reserve, as well as three other protected areas, Wrangell-St. Elias, Glacier Bay and Tatshenshini-Alsek, all designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Monsters and frights of every types

Vampires, monsters, fear and dread will be the watchwords of this fourth theme: strange, intriguing and dark. With her fascinating documentary on the new wave of Spanish filmmakers making horror films, French- Canadian director Joanne Belluco invites us into a world filled with zombies, phantoms and witches. The Ashkenaz Foundation and the Montreal artist Socalled will lead us on a musical discovery of the famous 1915 silent movie The Golem, a precursor of sorts to Frankenstein. For her part, Alexandra Grenier will take a new look at the image of the vampire in literature and film with legendary characters such as Nosferatu and Dracula. In The Tenant, based on the novel by Roland Topor, Roman Polanski brings audiences inside his hero’s paranoia and contagious madness. Lastly, with art historian Ron Spronk, we will rediscover Hieronymous Bosch, the famous Dutch painter who died 500 years ago, and his universe inhabited by monsters and strange and frightening beings.

History and time: echoes of the past in the present 

This last theme will examine how history resurfaces in the present and how returning to the past is often a way to better understand our modern times. Jean-Noël Jeanneney, a historian and former president of the Bibliotèque Nationale de France, will bring us to the heart of this theme by discussing the role of chance in History. Likewise, Dr. Miloud Chennoufi, in his lecture entitled Islamism: Genealogy and the excesses of a political ideology, goes back to the origins of Islamism to better understand contemporary geopolitical issues. Lastly, film director Patrice Leconte whose many films, including French Les Bronzés font du ski, The Hairdresser’s Husband, Monsieur Hire and Tandem, are as upbeat as they are touching, will do us the honour of coming to Toronto. Several of his films will be shown, including Ridicule, which focuses on the court of Louis XVl and analyzes all its codes. A discussion between the filmmaker and historians will allow us to see the connections between the 18th century, as described in the film, particularly in terms of the power struggles being waged by those at the top, and present-day society.

 

We invite you to enjoy all this season’s artists and lecturers and we hope they will fascinate you, so that together we can experience an unprecedented year full of interesting and stimulating discoveries and meetings that will provide you moments of joy and reflection!

Patricia Guérin
Cultural Director