The Paris Autumn Festival (Festival d'Automne à Paris) - an artistic vitality-filled forum for arts which actually lasts through the Christmas season - includes countless theatre performances, recitals, dance events, film screenings and art shows, for several months taking over almost the whole of the French capital. The programme of the avant-garde-orientated Festival d´Automne is based on new works by artists from all over the world, previously never performed/exhibited in France. From its first year, the festival has aimed to bring to the spotlight new artists and support new experiments. However, the programme always also features a selection of masterpieces by renowned luminaries - great masters of their respective genres, classical avant-garde artists.
For several seasons running, Festival d´Automne has opened with a performance of a theatre production by the octogenarian French grand master, the explorer of dreams and mysterious territories Claude Régy. This autumn's programme features a new production, his 'La Barque le Soir' ('Boat in the Evening').
A maximalist working with radically minimalist means of expression, the French director Claude Régy is the creator of a unique artistic world in the landscape of the French theatre. Darkness, silence, slowdown - this is what constitutes his magic kingdom.
Claude Régy never permits things he considers outdated, no matter how omnipresent on the French stage - naturalism, declamation, psychological realism, pathos, sentimentality and groundless hyperactivity - enter his works. He is not interested in an actor who exists on the stage without a regard for anything else - be it lights, space or people. In Régy's works, man responds to the slightest vibrations and subtlest changes in the milieu: they resound within him and become perceptible for the viewer on the scale of the fluctuations of the Universe.
The British actress Tilda Swinton is bringing to Paris a very special piece; her 'Impossible Wardrobe' performance will be on view fro three days only, from 29 September through 1 October, at the Paris Palais de Tokyo contemporary art space. The performance, created in association with the Paris-based British photographer and artist Katerina Jebb and the director of the Musée Galliera fashion museum Olivier Saillard, shows Tilda Swinton's character reliving stories behind fabrics from past centuries, legendary clothes and their equally legendary owners. The short film shot especially for the performance features Swinton wandering around the Musée Galliera archives, stumbling every now and then upon mysterious shadows from the past, including clothes worn by the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte and Sarah Bernhardt. The owners' portraits are superimposed ghost-like upon Swinton's body and the screens surrounding her, building an intangible bridge between past and present.
The Paris Autumn Festival also offers a wonderful opportunity to encounter the Swiss theatre genius Christoph Marthaler who is bringing to Paris his latest piece, 'Glaube.Liebe.Hoffnung' ('Faith, Love and Charity') which premiered in spring 2012 in Vienna, as well as 'Meine faire Dame' ('My Fair Lady'), a 'language laboratory' created in the basement of Theater Basel during the rehearsal process of a new production of Lerner and Loewe's famous musical on the main stage. Marthaler's 'faire Dame' represents an artistic counterpoint to the musical's 'Lady'.
Another theatre production worth not missing is the latest work of the German composer and director Heiner Goebbels 'When the Mountain Changed its Clothing'. Goebbels has always been interested in creating works that can be viewed from the perspective of music, visual arts, theatre and literature. He is interested in the theatre more as an experience than a vehicle for transmitting narratives. 'Theatre can be so much more: a diversity of impressions created by movements, sounds, words, bodies, lights and colours. And with this 'so much more' it can actually speak to us on levels where we (as yet) lack words.' For his latest piece, Goebbels worked with the Carmina Slovenica youth choir from Slovenia. The contentual core of the production consists of stories and questions by the forty members of the choir, aged 10 - 20, as they say their good-byes to childhood - born as a result of a trip through texts by Jean-Jaques Rousseau, Adalbert Stifter, Gertrude Stein, Marina Abramović and Ian McEwan.
Another great event of the festival programme is an encounter with the German actress Angela Winkler, often referred to as 'an actress of exception' at home: she just remains unrivalled in the world of contemporary theatre. In Paris, Angela Winkler will appear in 'Ich liebe dich, kann ich nicht sagen', an evening of song and dance, with a group of musicians.
The Paris Centre Pompidou is going to host two extensive retrospectives of two great filmmakers: the Lithuanian-born legend of New York avant-garde, chronicler of life and human beings, and the Catalan artist José Luis Guerín whose films explore places transformed by time.
Keywords: Paris, festival