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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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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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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27 décembre 2012

From trade-unions to cultural melting-pot

A brown, pink and blue South American-style poster announced “The party”. That is how word was spread in Nantes that the 20th edition of Tissé Métisse was to be held on the 8th December. Not just another music festival; Tissé Métisse is a play on words meaning 'strengthening melting pot', a Christmas event created almost twenty years ago by local trade-unions from the Loire Atlantique.

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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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22 novembre 2012

Cosmopolitan culture at the 'Cosmopolis'

Inaugurated nearly 15 years ago by the Ville de Nantes, the publicaly-owned Espace international Cosmopolis wasn't destined to be a ground-breaking cultural success in Western France. Hard to find, unpopular with both local artists and Nantais, it gained respectability these last years under the strong leadership of Director Carole Reux. Nicknamed 'Cosmo', this exhibition gallery and event center re-opens this Autumn after 6 months of closure.

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19 novembre 2012

Reasons to be realistic for French Ministry of Culture

French Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti is a former acclaimed writer, especially for her book “Les derniers jours de la classe ouvrière”('The Lasts Days of the Working Class ') published in 2003. Quite logically some expected a glimpse of lyricism while the young politician - she is 39 - was to give a keynote speech at the Forum d'Avignon 2012 - subtitled reasons to hope”. Her tone and policies are way more down-to-earth.

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