The French connection | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 18, 2009

The French connection

Fifty years of Alliance Francaise de Dacca

Saliha Lefevre, director of Alliance Francaise de Dacca, speaks at the press conference yesterday. Photo: Mumit M

French cultural wing Alliance Francaise de Dacca (AFD), which started its journey in 1959, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To mark this very special occasion, the organisation has planned special cultural programmes throughout the year. At a press conference held yesterday at its main centre in Dhanmondi, director of AFD Saliha Lefevre briefed the media on the yearlong programme.
The celebration starts tomorrow with a photography exhibition titled, "Dhaka, a City and its People." Two French photographers Julien Pannetier and Bruno Valentin worked on a three-year project on Dhaka city. The exhibition will feature their works. The French Ambassador Charley Causeret will inaugurate the exhibition. The exhibition also marks the 400th anniversary of Dhaka city as a capital.
Two of AFD's regular programmes Francophonie Festival (scheduled to take place from March 16 to 23) and Fete de la Musique (scheduled for June 21), are also part of the celebration. Francophonie will feature films, sports, French language contest and sponsorship operation towards orphans while Fete de la Musique will highlight a grand concert featuring renowned local artistes.
Several other grand musical programmes are also part of the planned celebration. French pop-reggae artiste Simeo and a western classical music troupe from Calcutta, String Quartet, will perform respectively in April and May.
France based Bengali artiste Paban Das Baul's concert in October will certainly add to the lure of the programme. The celebration programme also includes an open-air concert, to be held in November, which will feature popular Bangladeshi bands and artistes.
An 11-day theatre festival would be held from April 3 to13. Local theatre troupes will perform nine Bangla adaptations of French plays. A special workshop conducted by a French director is also part of the theatre festival.
French hip-hop company Accrorap will stage an exclusive dance show in July. A photography exhibition titled "Indian Princes and Parisian Jewellers" will take place from October 22 to November 4. The photographs will feature exclusive jewellery collections by the world-renowned brands Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels.
At present there are two Alliances Francaise in Bangladesh, one in Dhaka and the other in Chittagong. Alliance Francaise de Dacca is one of the oldest in Asia. AFD also has two branches -- one in Baridhara and the other in Uttara.

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