In October at Alliance Française [fr]

Here is our selection of the cultural events of the Alliance française de Toronto in October.

Discussion with Béatrice Vaugrante, general director of Amnesty International Canada - October 4


Discussion with Béatrice Vaugrante, general director of Amnesty International Canada, French division, followed by the documentary Voyage en barbarie by Delphine Deloget and Cécile Allegra, which won the 2015 Albert Londres Award.

Why does the Mediterranean sea carry so many ghosts? Why is Europe unable to welcome them properly? Why is Europe not taking notice of those who are wounded? Something is happening on the other side of the Mediterranean, something dreadful, unknown, and extremely difficult to unveil. East Africa, an enchanting and mythical land where the Nile takes its source has now turned into a giant trap. Since 2008, thousands of young Africans have been kidnapped, then sold to Bedouin traffickers and deported to the north-east of the Sinai desert, in Egypt.

Chance in History: always in control? - October 18


Voltaire aimait à saluer "Sa Majesté le Hasard". Les historiens d’à présent tendent à lui restituer toute son importance. L’idée, longtemps dominante, de fatalité, heureuse ou non, dans le flux de l’humanité, sous l’effet de volontés divines ou de forces matérielles au travail, est en berne. On aime à énumérer les cas multiples, souvent pittoresques, où la contingence, portant les conséquences capitales de hasards mineurs, parfois minuscules, a joué un rôle majeur dans tous les champs de l’activité des hommes, dans la guerre et dans la paix, dans la vie politique, scientifique, économique même. L’uchronie (que serait-il arrivé si?…), aujourd’hui fort en vogue, éclaire cela de bien des façons.Est-ce à dire que tout est aléatoire, jusqu’à conduire au fatalisme, jusqu’à décourager l’action? Non! Si l’on considère, en effet, les forces de rythme varié dont l’entrelacs définit l’originalité de chaque conjoncture, d’autres déterminations resurgissent, entre individuel et statistiques, dont la rencontre définit, en somme, la latitude de liberté dont dispose chacun de nous pour changer le cours des choses.

Meeting with Lola Lafon - October 25


Lola Lafon is a French writer, composer, feminist and libertarian. With a French, Russian and Polish background, was raised in the equally diverse cities of Bucharest, Sofia and Paris. Her first love was dance, but then she turned to writing. After publishing a few articles in fanzines and alternative reviews/journals, she was spotted by literary reviews: N.R.V (which means “angry” in French), among others, published Lola Lafon’s first short stories between 1998 and 2000.

Her latest novel, The Little Communist Who Never Smiled (Seven Stories Press, 2016), is an award-winning novel that powerfully re-imagines a childhood in the spotlight of history, politics, and destiny. Montreal 1976. A fourteen-year-old girl steps out onto the floor of the Montreal Forum and into history. Twenty seconds on uneven bars is all it takes for Nadia Comaneci, the slight, unsmiling child from Communist Romania, to etch herself into the collective memory. The electronic scoreboard, astonishing spectators with what has happened, shows 1.0. The judges have awarded an unprecedented perfect ten, the first in Olympic gymnastics, though the scoreboard is unable to register anything higher than 9.9. In The Little Communist Who Never Smiled, Lola Lafon tells the story of Comaneci’s journey from growing up in rural Romania to her eventual defection to the United States in 1989. Adored by young girls in the west and appropriated as a political emblem by the Ceausescu regime, Comaneci’s life was scrutinized wherever she went. Lafon’s fictionalized account shows how a single athletic event mesmerizes the world and reverberates across nations.

Last modified on 28/10/2016

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