Elizabeth II, Woody Allen, La Rochelle Festival: the buzz of the weekend

Posted Sep 19, 2022, 1:22 PM

From the success of the Heritage Days to the announcement of Woody Allen’s retirement, passing through the winners of the La Rochelle festival, the exhibition of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II or even the experimentation of a Belgian prison by magistrates , the weekend was rich in both entertaining and cultural news.

The success of Heritage Days

This weekend was the 39th edition of Heritage Days. The opportunity to discover the cultural richness of France thanks to a set of activities and visits. A renewed success as announced on Sunday, the Ministry of Culture, since 16,000 places were opened to the public against 15,000 the previous year.

After two years marred by the Covid-19 pandemic, these days dedicated to culture allowed citizens to rediscover their heritage, and this time with an easing of health restrictions.

Visitors had the chance to discover the new Richelieu site of the BNF, completely restored.Bertrand GUAY/POOL/AFP

Exceptional measures have thus been put in place, such as the opening to the public of the archaeological excavations of the Saint-Denis basilica or the discovery of the new Richelieu site of the BNF, renovated and transformed. In Paris, the Château de Fontainebleau and the Senate attracted nearly 20,000 visitors.

A committed and feminine prize list for the La Rochelle fiction festival

More than 60 fictions (unitary and series) were screened from September 13 to 17 at the La Rochelle fiction festival and many stars made the trip, including Isabelle Adjani for the very beautiful France Télévisions series on Diane de Poitiers, Audrey Fleurot stars not only in TF1’s big production “Les Combattantes” but also in “Spirit of Winter”, an Arte miniseries adapted from the eponymous novel by Laura Kasischke, or even Emilia Schüle, the interpreter of “Marie-Antoinette”, the new historical series from Canal+.

Witnesses to the assertive atmosphere of French fiction to deal with societal subjects, the winners of this edition appear resolutely turned towards committed works. Under the direction of Sandrine Bonnaire, the jury notably rewarded “Lycée Toulouse Lautrec”, a TF1 series created by Fanny Riedberger on disability, “Touchées”, a TF1 unit on the emancipation of three women, directed by Alexandra Lamy , “La cour”, an original series by Arte directed by Hafsia Herzi on gender inequality at school, “La vie Devant toi”, a France Télévision unit produced by Sandrine Veysset on homophobia, or “Mom won’t let me sleep”, another by Sylvie Testud on a teenager’s addiction to drugs…

magistrates in prison

It is a particular experience that took place this weekend in Belgium. 55 magistrates voluntarily locked themselves in prison for a few days in order to understand the workings of the deprivation of liberty in the context of their sentencing. In a desire to understand the system from the inside, the magistrates followed the same routine as the real prisoners, employed in the kitchen or in the laundry, without a laptop, and with the obligation to follow the orders of the staff.

This initiative has been put in place by Haren prison, which is due to open on September 30. Establishment of a new kind financed by the private sector which must accommodate nearly 1190 prisoners, the prison qualified as “penitentiary village” favors a modern approach with living spaces. It must eventually replace three other structures considered to be dilapidated.

Although it is doubtful that a weekend behind bars will be enough to make them aware of the impact of a long-term prison stay, this immersion is a first step towards raising awareness. To be qualified, however, since “if they had difficulty enduring this stay in prison”, the magistrates had the possibility of ending it, the press release indicates.

Elizabeth II’s coffin on public display

This was the event of the weekend: the parade of hundreds of thousands of Britons to the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II. In the direction of Westminster Hall, the oldest room in parliament, all these people were determined to pay their last respects to the monarch who died on September 8 before her funeral which is to be held today.

Britons queue along the Thames for a final tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

Britons queue along the Thames for a final tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.LOIC VENANCE/AFP

At full capacity, it took fourteen hours to go through the queue from start to finish. A duration far from frightening the admirers of the royal family. However, in view of the crowds, the government was forced to close the queue.

This exhibition of the remains of the sovereign thus marked the last stage of her funeral procession before her last trip to find herself in the chapel of Saint-Georges at Windsor Castle where the other members of the royal family are already buried.

Woody Allen retires

The director of “Midnight in Paris” announced on Saturday to a Spanish newspaper that he wanted to retire from the cinema to devote himself to writing after the shooting of his next and last film.

The filming of Woody Allen's latest film led to protests by residents of the Basque town of San Sebastian on July 23, 2019.

The filming of Woody Allen’s latest film led to protests by residents of the Basque town of San Sebastian on July 23, 2019.ANDER GILLENEA/AFP)

After “Rifkin Festival” produced in Spain in 2019, which had already attracted demonstrators and citizens unwilling to see the city of San Sebastian associated with the name of the director, this final project is shot exclusively in French and in Paris due to the charges incurred by Woody Allen in the United States. The feature film will mark the end of a prolix career but linked to the facts of pedocrime of which the filmmaker is accused.

The publishing world remains particularly cautious with regard to Woody Allen: the publication of his memoirs had been abandoned after the organization of demonstrations by Hachette employees. However, the book was subsequently published by another publisher, Arcade.

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