The French Institute Alliance Francaise Presents Special Performances by Actors Bouquet and Huster, 2/24 and 3/3

The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York's premiere French cultural center, presents special performances by two of France's iconic actors, Carole Bouquet and Francis Huster. On February 24, two-time César winner Carole Bouquet will perform Lettres à Génica, a reading of letters by the French poet and playwright Antonin Artaud to his love, Romanian actress Génica Athanasiou. And on March 3, renowned actor and former member of La Comédie Française Francis Huster will present his award-winning adaptation of Nobel Laureate Albert Camus' La Peste. Both performances are New York premieres.

Carole Bouquet: Lettres à Génica--Thursday, February 24 at 8pm
In the early 1920s, the French writer and actor Antonin Artaud wrote that he had found "the perfect, celestial love that he had dreamed of...the only being with whom he could be himself." He had recently met Génica Athanasiou, a young Romanian actress and colleague at the Théâtre de l'Atelier. Creating a "mental poetry," Artaud wrote to her of his love, his sickness, his suffering, but also of the surrealists he worked with, the theater that was so important to him and that he hoped to revolutionize, and of his daily life. These poignant words present a moving portrait of Artaud, his desires, ideas, struggles within himself, as well as the beauty of his writing, his style, and his poetry. Following successful performances in France, Bouquet introduces New York audiences to Artaud's complex inner universe.

About Carole Bouquet
Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Carole Bouquet is one of France's best-known actresses. While studying drama in Paris, Bouquet was discovered by the renowned director Luis Buñuel and cast in his film, That Obscure Object of Desire (Cet obscur objet du désir) in 1977. After making her Hollywood début as the Bond Girl in For Your Eyes Only in 1981, Bouquet starred in a number of films by well-known international directors, including Werner Schroeter (Day of the Idiots), Jean-François Stévenin (Double Gentlemen / Double messieurs), and Enki Bilal (Bunker Palace Hotel). In 1989, Bouquet won the César Award for Best Actress for her performance in the hit film Too Beautiful for You (Trop belle pour toi) directed by Bertrand Blier. Carole Bouquet has starred in a number of comedies, including Patrice Leconte's Tango, and Michel Blanc's Grosse fatigue. She has also been recognized for her roles in Claude Berri's 1997 film Lucie Aubrac, and Cedric Kahn's Red Lights (Feux Rouges) in 2004. More recently, Carole Bouquet appeared in the final episode of the TV series Sex and the City, as Aleksandr Petrovsky's ex-wife, Juliette.

About Antonin Artaud
Antonin Artaud, an actor, poet, playwright, director, and dramatic theorist, was born in Marseille in 1896. During his childhood, he suffered from a severe case of meningitis, which gave him a nervous, irritable temperament throughout his life. In 1920, Artaud moved to Paris, where he performed with Charles Dullin and Georges Pitoëff, two of the most acclaimed directors of his day. In 1922, Artaud met the Romanian actress Génica Athanasiou, with whom he would share his life until 1927. Artaud became the director of the Alfred Jarry Theatre in 1923, along with fellow playwright and poet Roger Vitrac. Suffering from chronic hallucinations, he was transferred to the psychiatric hospital in Rodez, France in 1937, where he received electroshock treatments. 1938 saw the publication of The Theatre and Its Double, Artaud's best-known work, which included his two influential manifestos on The Theater of Cruelty. In 1946, Artaud was released to his friends, who placed him in a psychiatric clinic at Ivry-sur-Seine. Between 1946 and 1948, the year of his death, Artaud wrote Van Gogh, The Man Suicided by Society (Van Gogh le suicidé de la société), and recorded To Have Done With the Judgment of God (Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu).

Francis Huster: Albert Camus, La Peste--Thursday, March 3 at 8pm
An existentialist classic, La Peste, written by Albert Camus and published in 1947, tells the story of medical workers finding solidarity in their labor as the Algerian city of Oran is swept by a plague. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. The characters in the book, ranging from doctors to vacationers to fugitives, all help to show the effects the plague has on the general public. The narrative tone is similar to Kafka's, especially in The Trial, where individual sentences potentially have multiple meanings, the material often resonating as a stark metaphor for phenomenal consciousness and the human condition. Camus even included a dim-witted character reading The Trial as a mystery novel as an oblique homage. La Peste has been interpreted as a metaphorical treatment of the French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II.

About Francis Huster
Francis Huster is an acclaimed actor, known for his many powerful performances on stage and screen. Possessing dark good looks and a natural charisma, Huster has performed in a variety of roles both dramatic and comedic, from classic heroes to amiable sidekicks. A longtime member of the Comédie Française, Huster founded the theater troupe Compagnie Francis Huster, which has included the actors Clotilde Courau and Olivier Martinez, among others. Huster has been seen by American audiences in The Dinner Game (Le dîner de cons), the original French film that inspired the 2010 U.S. remake, Dinner for Schmucks. Huster is also a playwright, screenwriter, and director, and worked with Jean-Paul Belmondo in his recent 2008 film A Man and His Dog (Un homme et son chien). In 2010, Huster was appointed director of the national theater group Les Tréteaux de France by French Minister of Culture Frédéric Mittérand. An expert on the French Algerian author Albert Camus, Huster was awarded the prestigious Prix du Brigadier for adapting, directing and performing in his one-man-show based on Camus' novel The Plague (La Peste).

About Albert Camus
Albert Camus grew up in Algiers, the son of Lucien Camus, an agricultural worker who died in the First World War, and Catherine Sintes, a young servant of Spanish origin. After obtaining his baccalaureate in 1932, he studied philosophy. Camus then went into journalism, writing for the newspaper Alger Républicain, where his articles attracted interest. Later, he moved to Paris, and was hired by Paris Soir. During those years, Camus' novel The Stranger was published. In 1999, it was ranked at the top of a list of the 100 best books of the 20th century. In 1936, Camus founded the Théâtre du Travail and together with three close friends wrote Révolte dans les Asturies, a play that was banned. At the start of World War II, he joined a resistance movement in Paris along with Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom he grew close. After the liberation of Paris, he became editor-in-chief of the newspaper Combat. La Peste was published in 1947 and found immediate success. Camus' works, articulated around the themes of the absurd and revolt, are inseparable from his public stances on Francoism, Communism, and Algeria's quest for independence. Passionate about theater, Camus also adapted to the stage Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 "for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times." Three years later, Camus died in a tragic car accident.

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