Olivier Barrot

The Speaker

Journalist and writer Olivier Barrot has presented the literary program Un livre, un jour (A Book a Day) daily on channels France 3 and TV 5 Monde since 1991. In 2009, the year in which he celebrated his 4,000th program, he created Un livre toujours (Always a Book), a weekly program devoted to paperback books.

Along with Thierry Taittinger, Olivier Barrot is the co-founder and has been co-director of the magazine Senso since 2001.

He has worked as a journalist for Le Monde, where he has written the “Books” and “Travel” sections since 1986, for the Canal+ TV (“demain” (Tomorrow) then “la grande famille” (The Extended Family) from 1988 to 1992) and for Pariscope, as founder-manager of the Parispoche (Pocket-Paris) supplement.

Olivier Barrot, a writer and travel enthusiast since adolescence, is the author of several books about travel (most recently, Paris XVI and Je ne suis pas là (I’m Not Here)).  He also works in theatre (Le Théâtre Edouard-VII), cinema, and literature (La vie culturelle dans la France occupée (Cultural Life in Occupied France)).

Additionally, he lecturers at the Institut d'études politiques in Paris, where he offers a course entitled “Culture, affaire d'État” (Culture, Affair of State).  He also teaches film and theatre classes at the University of Montreal and literature courses at the Maison Française at New York University, where he invites one author each month.
On stage at the Théâtre du Rond Point, the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, the Théâtre du Vieux Colombier and the Studio-théâtre of the Comédie-Française, Olivier Barrot works with great actors, whose careers he recounts, and leads master classes.


Gallimard, 100 years of publication

The most prestigious French (if not European) publisher is turning 100. Its history overlaps almost exactly with the history of world literature. Gaston Gallimard, the wealthy son of a family of art collectors, took over the already glorious Nouvelle Revue française from his friend André Gide to establish a "publishing counter" in his name and to create an enduring miracle which has remained independent and successful. 
Most major writers – French or not – have been included in one way or another in Gallimard’s impressive catalog during the past century.

With the help of exceptionally perceptive collaborators such as Jacques Rivière, Jean Paulhan, André Malraux, Albert Camus and Philippe Sollers, Gallimard publishes the best of all genres, from poems to detective novels, in its famous white-cover paperback or in its prestigious Bibliothèque de la Pléiade collection. Other collaborators, from the 20th century alone, include Sartre, Joyce, Faulkner, Proust, Char, Claudel, Le Clézio, Pirandello, Conrad, Borges, Breton, Valéry, Hemingway, Ionesco, Nabokov, Lévi-Strauss, Jünger, Céline and Lorca. 

A History of the Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival was to have seen the light of day after the Mostra in Venice in 1939, but the war postponed the event until 1946.  Since that time, the festival has become the most important event of its kind in the world. Now, as publicized as the Olympic Games, the Cannes Film Festival is no longer just a simple competition first meant to crown the best cinematographic works of the year.
It has become a splendidly polished machine out of which a global industry – including indoor movie theaters– has sprung. The who’s who list of the communication industry comes together for ten timeless days along the Croisette, on board yachts, in luxury hotel bars and in the living rooms of private villas. The most illustrious stars graciously ascend the famous staircase, while the greatest directors always make an appearance to much applause.

Every year, Cannes heralds the spring and a lasting faith in the Lumière Brothers’ invention, but it has also transformed itself – par excellence – into the media of medias.

Jean Vilar and the Avignon Festival

Jean Vilar, a man with strong convictions from a modest background in the south of France, remains hands-down the most respected figure of 20th century French theatre. An actor who was drawn to directing early on, this disciple of Charles Dullin initiated Art Weeks in 1947, and soon afterwards the Avignon Festival.  He set up the Court of Honor of the Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace) and the Urbain X Orchard as outdoor stages.

He believed that the theatre, as a secular and popular ceremony, should bring together all audiences around the purest texts, led by performers aware of their role. Vilar mixes the classical and the contemporary, French and foreign works, and assembles the best technicians (including lighting engineers, poster artists, musicians, etc.) and actors (Gérard Philipe, Jeanne Moreau, Philippe Noiret, Maria Casarès, etc), for his legendary performances, including  Le Cid and Le Prince de Hombourg.

Named director of the TNP (Théâtre national populaire /National Popular Theatre) in Paris in 1951, he led the most demanding projects for twelve years, bringing the wonders of the dramatic arts to the attention of a great number of people.



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