Thibault Dumas | Blog d'un journaliste à Nantes et ailleurs

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27 juin 2014

Just another Voyage à Nantes?

Le Voyage à Nantes is a publicly-owned corporation in charge of both culture and tourism in Nantes with a total budget of 26.2 millions Euros this year. It's also a gigantic cultural event held every summer since 2012 on the shores of Loire with one leitmotif: “The city turned upside down by art”. The third edition of the VAN, taking place from June 27th to August 31st, is more tourist-oriented - "Nantes, take the journey!" is the new motto - and most of the artworks are linked to local artists. But can the festival renew itself while its budget is lowered from 8 millions Euros in 2012 to 3 millions today? Photo report.

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19 mars 2014

Can Italian cinema rise from its ashes?

From 1945 until the late 1970's, the Italian film industry dominated Europe’s cultural scene, in collaboration with neighbouring countries - especially France. But starting from the early 1980's Silvio Berlusconi's private television channels invaded Italian living-rooms and the Cinecittà died symbolically then materially (2007). Can the 'Dream Factory' rise from its ashes? Held from 19th-25th February at the Cinéma Katorza in Nantes, Univerciné Italien tried to find an answer to this question.

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10 février 2014

A decade of Hip Opsession in Nantes

American rap duo Dead Prez released "It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop" track in 2000; a song that could be seen as an anthem for the Hip Opsession festival. Created four years later his Nantes winter cultural event has gone from strength to strength over the years. A mere 4,000 people attended its first run in 2004, this year 20,000 gathered. Hip Opsession has become one of the largest hip-hop events in Europe, "a calm and tranquil growth" according to director Nicolas Reverdito. He is also quick to defend his audacious -  some say "elitist" - artistic choices. No world-renowned artists on the 2014 billing, instead a month-long discovery of up-and-coming b-boys, b-girls, MCs and DJs. Photo reports.

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20 juin 2013

Agnès Blandeau: “Cinema in Great Britain is multifaceted as its population”

Great Britain is the second European country in terms of cinema box-office. 173,5 million tickets were sold last year, just behind France with a little more than 200 million. Therefore only 16,7% of the films that came out in the UK in 2011 were British. Does it mean that this cultural industry is weakining? On the contrary Brirtish cinema is experiencing a second youth, as seen during the 5th edition of Univerciné Britannique that took place early December 2012 at Cinéma Katorza in Nantes. Interview with director of the festival Agnès Blandeau while she is preparing 2013 edition.

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22 février 2013

Final chapter for the book industry in Western France

Book prices have been fixed by law in France ('prix unique du livre') since 1981 and today a similar legislation can be found in eight other European countries - Austria, Danemark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Used to p includingrotect the book industry as a whole, as well as local independent booksellers, it is a pillar of the French exception culturelle ('cultural exception policy'). But a decade of growth in Internet shopping is taking its toll. In Nantes, book wholesaler Livre diffusion is closing its doors. Report.

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06 février 2013

Caroline Champion: “Cooking embodies a culture”

One could say that young French artist Caroline Champion created her profession: flavors explorer ['exploratrice de saveurs']. An uncommon approach that mixes aesthetic philosophy, visual arts and culinary practice. Mrs Champion, 28, worked as a chef for Alain Passard's and a product manager for Fauchon. An impressive CV that is nothing compared to her constant smile and enthusiasm. Interview during the 2012 edition of the Forum Avignon, in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes.

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03 février 2013

La Folle journée of Nantes: “Accessible classical music festival”

The Folle journée of Nantes is an artistic adventure that has become one of the most popular classical music festivals worldwide. In 2013, between 30thof January and 3th of February, a 150.000-strong crowd gathered in the Cité des congrès just behind Nantes' iconic Lieu unique. But is it losing touch with its original values? A year ago, LabKultur met Michèle Guillossou, Director of La Folle journée, while Russian classical music was honored - “from Rimski-Korsakov to Chostakovitch”. Two-part interview.

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17 janvier 2013

Is culture possible without public backing in Nantes?

Nearly one year ago The New York Times wrote that the mascot of Nantes - a 12 meter-tall wooden elephant - was “at the heart of a creative, some would say whimsical, reinvention of an old industrial city that could make it the envy of hundreds of others like it, from the Ruhr Valley in Germany to the Rust Belt in the United States”. In fact Le Grand Éléphant ('The Great Elephant') was built using only public funds. And moreover, when it comes to culture, almost everything in Nantes follows this pattern….

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15 janvier 2013

Discovering Nantes' Lieu Unique with Patrick Gyger

In October 2010 Patrick Gyger took over from Jean Blaise as Director of the Lieu Unique, former Lefèvre Utilebiscuit factory, which in 2000 was transformed into a national centre for performing arts and music. M. Gyger, 41, was born in Sao Paolo (Brazil) and worked as director of the Maison d'Ailleurs (Switzerland) and artistic advisor for Les Utopiales science fiction festival in Nantes. Two part interview on the LU's history and identity.

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14 décembre 2012

What is the economic impact of culture?

Nantes, or at least Nantais politicians, have a master plan: to become a de facto European Capital of Culture. While Marseille and Košice (Slovakia) won the 2013 official bid, Nantes launched the gigantic Voyage à Nantes last summer, run by the 'artist that never sleeps' Jean Blaise and the Ville de Nantes; and a second version is in the pipeline. But, three months after the closing ceremony, doubts remain regarding its economic impact. Two-part investigation.

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12 décembre 2012

Aurélien Bellanger: “Wild West style Internet is over now”

Author Aurélien Bellanger, 32, was born in Laval [Pays de la Loire region] and studied philosophy at the Université de Nantes. After giving up on his thesis on 'The possible metaphysics of the individual' in 2010, he wrote an essay on the famous French writer Michel Houellebecq. His first novel “La Théorie de l'information” [‘Information theory'] was the surprise hit of the 2012 rentrée littéraire. Not only a tale for 'geeks', it is also a historical study of the digital era.

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02 décembre 2012

Greg Germain: “Since when there is too much culture in a country?”

Each summer in Avignon takes place the 'In' and the 'Off'. On one hand the oldest and most prestigious arts festival in France and maybe Europe. On the other hand the self-proclaimed “biggest theater worldwide” with 975 companies performing 1161 times in three weeks. Greg Germain, 64, is the passionate and enthusiastic director of the Festival d'Avignon Off as well as a senior actor - “my natural job” - and a stage director. Naturally, he attended to this year's edition of the Forum d'Avignon.

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