Arts & Culture
A clash of egos
In 1982, newly elected French president Francois Mitterrand decided to build an ultra-modern opera house on the Bastille Place, the symbol of the Revolution. In a blind competition, 750 hopeful firms send designs.
During the formal announcement, the Minister of Culture stutters an unexpected name: Carlos Ott from Canada. No one has heard of him before. So, what happened?
François Mitterrand looks thrilled, unlike his sworn enemy and Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, who will do everything he can to stop the Bastille Opera in its tracks.
BUILDING BASTILLE [72’] or [52’]
A clash of egos
In 1982, the newly elected French president Francois Mitterrand decided that an ultra-modern opera house would be built on the Bastille Place, a symbol of the Revolution.
In a blind competition, 750 hopeful firms send designs. Word leaks out that the winner will be prominent American architect Richard Meier.
During the formal announcement, the Minister of Culture stutters an unexpected name: Carlos Ott from Canada. No one has heard of him; he certainly is not Richard Meier. What happened?
François Mitterrand looks thrilled, but not so much his sworn enemy and Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, who did everything to stop the construction of the Bastille Opera.
Miyabori is a traditional wood carving technique used in Japanese temples and shrines.
It’s an obscure and underrated form of art that has been offered a new lease on life thanks to long trained and skillful masters.
Elizabeth Tinsley, a specialist in Buddhist culture and former fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is exploring landmarks as well as workshops of Miyabori master carvers to unveil this Japanese hidden treasure that might have inspired Hokusai’s Great Wave.
MUSEUMS TO VISIT IN JAPAN [6x30’]
From the Edo era to the more recent industrial period
Japan has a long and rich history covering many areas and the best way to approach these many facets is to visit the museums scattered around the country.
This series spans the Edo era to the more recent industrial period.
THE SEA OF ITAMI JUN [52’]
The architect of the elements
Itami Jun is a Japanese-born Korean architect.
In this film, he revisits the places he cherished, specifically the thoughtful and sensitive architectural works he designed.
His original and innovative approach has been revealed in the design of ensembles and by a meticulous choice of materials. Favoring wood, stone, and metal, he has revived the tradition of harmony with nature for a more humane architecture.
Also available as a 112'
A CIRCUS IN THE ARCTIC [2x52’]
Passing on culture through the performing arts
An organization named “les Robinsons des Glaces” visits local populations who see their way of life disappear.
PROJECT CIRQ’ARTIC aims to help young Inuits reconnect with their traditions by promoting cultural transmission through live performances.
During the whole summer, the organization went to isolated villages on the east coast of Greenland to introduce young people to the circus and performing arts in order to present a show in front of the entire community.
A MUSEUM AT WORK [52’]
Descendants of miners
The Louvre-Lens Museum was built on a mine, the site of the former pit 9.
This film tells the story of those who work there, descendants of miners inhabited by their new responsibilitý, men and women of culture mobilized by a common passion.
ANDREE PUTMAN, THE GRAND LADY OF DESIGN [52’]
She built bridges between different art worlds
Andrée Putman, an internationally renowned stylist, and interior designer has left an indelible mark on the world of design.
She embodies "the chic Parisian woman, always impeccable, who leaves nothing to chance", said her daughter Olivia, who took over from her.
This film looks back at the career and legacy of this icon.
ART INVESTIGATION [34x26’]
From conception to fame
This series tells the story of the greatest works of art exhibited in major museums to better understand what made them famous.
Each episode follows the journey of a painting or a sculpture, from its genesis to the moment it became prominent.
ARTHUR MILLER, A MAN OF HIS CENTURY [60’]
One of the greatest playwrights
Born in New York in 1915, Arthur Miller has created over the course of seven decades some of the most memorable stage plays in the world of literature, becoming one of the greatest playwrights of the century. He never stopped to be curious and was always pushing his own limits.
This is a portrait of a fascinating man who, by marrying Marilyn Monroe, turned into a real American icon as their couple embodied glamour, success, and love in the 20th century.
BACK SHOT [60’]
The test on the bonds of love
A contestant is facing the back of 4 people. They all look alike but only one is that dear person close to him.
With letters and clues given to him, every step of the game will bring them closer or farther away. A dramatic way to witness how strong is the bond between 2 persons.
BACK SHOT is more than a game, it’s a human drama.
BONSAI BAD BOY [5x23’]
A 1000 year-old tradition becomes hip
A young apprentice is given a mission: to find a new audience for a 1000 year-old tradition to prevent it from disappearing and achieve his master's dying wish to bring peace to the world. He is dogged by failures until he decides to merge bonsai, fashion and street music thereby abandoning time-honoured approaches.
Along the way he discovers a path to peace by using bonsai to heal the trauma of war and other challenges of modern life.
BONSAI BAD BOY follows the worldwide journey of a humble man turning an ancient tradition into performance art for a new generation.
CASTLES OF YESTERDAY AND TODAY [12x52’]
Mighty buildings that have stood up to invaders and centuries
Castles are the symbol of past power and reflect the eras they have lived through. Their cultural and historical significance is well documented. Their architecture and operation allow us to understand life in the past.
This series introduces us to the most important castles of France, mighty buildings that have stood up to invaders and centuries.
The voices or Arabic music
The "golden age" of culture in the Arab world, which lasted from the 1920s to the 1970s, saw women play a crucial role. They took over music, song, cinema, literature, the radio, and the press, and thrilled and enthralled diverse peoples, from Baghdad to Casablanca.
These women, some of whom remain giants in their own right, are symbols of a bygone era but also models and sources of inspiration for many contemporary Arab artists.
DIVINE DIVAS [110’]
The first generation of Brazilian transvestite performers
In the 1960s, the Divine Divas were the first generation of Brazilian transvestite performers.
One of the first venues that gave shelter to men dressed as women was the Rival Theatre, directed by Américo Leal.
In this film, his granddaughter recounts the stories of a generation that revolutionized sexual behavior and challenged the country’s staid morality.
DRIVE-IN STORIES [52’]
The return of the outdoor movie screen
The drive-in was the ultimate symbol of a carefree and newly motorized American youth in the 60s and 70s.
Even though the changing culture made them disappear decades ago, they have enjoyed a recent revival thanks to many enthusiasts.
With screens springing up across the US, moviegoers of all ages, families, and young couples can turn their windshields again into giant screens.
FOR ART’S SAKE [7x45’]
Mixing the old with the new
From the jungles of Borneo and Papua New Guinea, the streets of Indonesia and Thailand, from the age-old Geisha tradition in Japan to bold experiments in Singapore, outstanding people are breaking new grounds and pushing the limits, just FOR ART’S SAKE.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GEORGE CHINNERY [52’]
The painter in mid-19th century China
George Chinnery was one of the first and most notable European artists to live in Southern China prior to the arrival of photography. His sketches, watercolors, and oil paintings are held in private collections and museums worldwide.
This film depicts the life and works of the English painter during his years in Macao in the mid-19th century.
The artist’s work vividly captures the Chinese culture and the way of life for expatriates in the Far East during the China Trade and Opium War years from 1825 to 1860.
LE LURON ON THE CAMPAIGN [90’]
The pioneer of today's impersonators
Thierry Le Luron has mocked, mimicked, and even caricatured to perfection the politicians of his time, starting with several heads of state. While some took it in stride, others were vexed to the point of sending him tax inspectors.
He has also lent his voice to the imitation of famous singers, using his own words, sometimes fierce but always inspired by current events.
He is the pioneer of today's impersonators.
MADE IN KYOTO [25x26’]
A culture of craftsmanship and excellence
Kyoto's allure lies not only in its shrines and temples or the elegance of the city.
Since the year 794, Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan, leading the way in the arts, architecture and commerce. The essence of the country’s culture was born in this very town and has been refined and passed down.
This series introduces artistry at its best created and nurtured by the local masters who know true craftsmanship and excellence.
MAESTRO NAGANO [52’]
As head of the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra, Kent Nagano has conducted many original projects that demonstrate his marked interest in the culture of his new home country.
Above all, he wants to understand the people around him and bring them the music wherever they are: a concert at the Maison Symphonique, on national or international tours, a concert at the Molson Brewery or at the Bell Center (an indoor sports arena).
This is the portrait of a great maestro fascinated by classical and contemporary music.
MARIANNE TRUDEL : A RISING STAR [61’]
The private concert
Marianne Trudel, who has already released 6 albums, is a pianist, composer, improviser and arranger. Her music, inspired by french songs, brazilian rythm and contemporary jazz, bears testimony to her openess to the world. Energetic and passionate, she has a busy career as a performer either solo or with diverse formations.
This private concert, where she performs 10 of her original compositions, was filmed at the legendary Upstairs Club.
MIGAKU HITO [47’]
Polishing as an art
Unbeknownst to many, polishing is an art in Japan and is called Migaku.
Masters of this traditional craft share a sense of beauty and take pride in the happiness they bring to Migaku-related items.
Indeed, what emerges after polishing are things that shine, sparkle, and smiles, characteristics we witness through several encounters and testimonies.
NEMANJA RADULOVIC, FROM BELGRADE TO PARIS [52’]
The hard road to success
This film explores the life of Nemanja Radulovic, the talented violinist, through a lengthy interview in which the artist reveals his joys, sorrows, victories and failures that led to his success.
NIGHT AT THE WAX MUSEUM [52’]
The French "Madame Tussaud"
The Grévin Museum opened in 1882 in Paris. It displays some 250 characters from across the world, ranging from actors, writers, sports athletes, and other well-known personalities. More than 800,000 people are visiting each year.
Thomas, a 12-year-old kid, decides to lock himself inside the Museum. He finds the place fascinating and has planned to spend the night there. At closing time, he manages to hide from the security guards and is about to discover the mysterious world of wax figures who tend to become quite animated during the night.
This film reveals the secrets of the Museum by day and night.
ON THE WRITERS' TRAIL [30x26’]
A literary pilgrimage
This series offers an enchanting journey, a literary pilgrimage combining fascinating and unusual places with the intimate discovery of genius authors who have reinvented their time and who continue to influence today’s minds.
Are covered such illustrious writers as Ronsard, Corneille, Montaigne, Voltaire, Balzac, Sand, Hugo, Flaubert, Dumas, Zola, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Vigny, Madame de Staël, la Comtesse de Ségur, Daudet, Maupassant...
ONLY DANCE, A YEAR AT THE CONSERVATORY OF PARIS [3x26’]
They are 28 students with a dream that is also an obsession: to become professional dancers.
They want to grace all the stages of the world, and to achieve their goal they are ready to make the necessary sacrifices.
This three-part series plunges us into the daily life of the students and teachers of the top school of performing arts in Paris.
PLANET KINBAKU [52’]
The art of binding
Kinbaku is an erotic practice from Japan that consists of binding one's partner with ropes.
Although its origins lie in the alcoves dedicated to classical sadomasochism, Kinbaku has invested many artistic disciplines in unsuspected ways.
This film introduces us to a mysterious tradition and its links with art.
RAYMOND DEVOS, IN EVERY SENSE [90’]
The juggler of words
For half a century, Raymond Devos, a stand-up comedian, and wordsmith imagined and performed absurd monologues that have become classics.
He made several generations of spectators laugh with sketches that are now taught in schools and that today's comedians include in their repertoire. There is even a Raymond Devos Award to celebrate the French language.
This film evokes his professional career as well as the life of the man beyond the juggler of words.
SONG OF THE UNTOUCHABLE, A VIOLINIST IN INDIA [52’]
A musical journey
Gregory Walker is a concert violinist who feels trapped in the classical music world by being forced to perform the big hits season after season. He sets out on a personal journey in search of inspiration.
He travels to Kerala, the picturesque state of South India, to meet new friends, renew old acquaintances, and learn the challenging melodic and rhythmic variations present in Indian music.
SPAGHETTI WESTERN: COLTS, SLAPS AND BEANIES [52’]
The myth of the cowboy was born in the American studios, but when we talk about Westerns, one name keeps coming up: Sergio Leone, the great architect of the so-called "spaghetti" Western because it was made in Italy.
This genre, which was originally intended to be purely mercantile by shooting low-cost imitations of American Westerns, allowed the emergence of new talents.
The spaghetti western became a true genre thanks to Leone, Corbucci, Solima and the music of Ennio Morricone. It will then in turn influence international cinema, notably by inspiring great contemporary directors such as Quentin Tarantino.
THE AMAZING KEYSTONE BAND [52’]
The Big Band tradition
When the jazz bands of the past structured themselves as orchestras with brass ensembles expressing themselves around the rhythmic section, this led to the birth of the Big Bands.
Fletcher Henderson, pianist, conductor, arranger and composer, is credited with creating the first Big Band. Among the most famous were Count Basie's and Duke Ellington's. There were still many such bands until the 1960s, such as those of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway, and Artie Shaw.
Today they are rather rare but the tradition continues thanks to The Amazing Keystone Big Band.
THE GREAT MASTERS OF PAINTING [15x52’]
The greatest art geniuses
They have been piercing observers of their times, leaving their works for posterity.
Often misunderstood, even harassed by the critics, they were trailblazers of new artistic movements which transformed art forever and still fascinate scholars today.
This series is a thrilling journey into the world of the greatest painting geniuses.
THE IMMORTAL SHADOWS [52’]
Entertainment becomes art
Animation is one of today’s most popular forms of entertainment which makes great use of ever evolving technologies.
However its origin goes way back, in a long forgotten traditional art that a Japanese shadow master wants to bring to a new audience.
His quest takes him to a remote village deep into Malaysia’s tropical forest in the midst of the monsoon, in search of a master puppeteer who knows the secrets of the shadows immortality.