French Institute Enveils 2021 Spain Programme

Last week the Madrid Metropolitan had the pleasure of attending the annual event to celebrate the opening of the new cultural season of the Institut Francais.  The event is usually held at the French Embassy but this year it took place in the theatre of the French Institute which was the perfect venue for such an event.

This year’s title is ‘Un Planeta en Vivo,’ ‘A Live Planet.’

Two ambassadors were named for the year of cultural events. The talented award-winning filmmaker Isabel Coixet and Javier Santaolalla, the successful Spanish physicist, engineer, doctor in particle physics and scientific populariser.

This year will focus on the environment through artistic creation, educational programmes and scientific investigations.

The French ambassador Jean-Michel Casa, opened the presentation.  Amongst other subjects, he expressed how phenomena such as global warming and Covid-19 are gravely affecting humanity and are forcing us to question the way we inhabit the planet and look at different ways of living.

The aim is to contribute, through debates and workshops, to the indispensable citizen mobilization to make profound changes in the mentality and habits of our society.

The French Ambassador´s speech was followed by Isabel Coixet who talked to us about her professional life and her strong affiliation with France and the French culture. Isabel expressed how important her documentary, ‘Aral, the lost Sea,’ was to her and the impact it had. It was a short film made in 2010 about how the drying process of the Aral Sea is one of the greatest ecological disasters in history!

Next, we heard from Javier Santaolalla , who expressed his honor to have been invited to be an ambassador for this cultural year and about the role of scientists in climate change. He also expressed how we are the first generation that cannot turn a blind eye to this concerning situation.

Javier explained how Covid has damaged the arts and cultural world and his strong affiliation with the cultural world as he is not just a scientist but also a communicator. He feels a strong connection with French culture having grown up being intrigued by the huge number of famous French people in the arts and science, such as Marie Curie or Voltaire.

The French institut has 6 instituts in Spain alone, with 22 French schools and 21 French alliances and is hugely followed on social media.

This cultural year will focus on the categories, Ecology, a matter of citizenship; Reconnecting: Culture for life, through visual arts, performing arts, music and cinema and Questioning the planet: Science serving the environment.

For the fifth year the ‘Night of Ideas’ was celebrated last week, with more than 103 countries and 175 cities of the world taking part!  Despite covid, 2021 will prove to be yet another fantastic cultural season with the Institut Francais!

Abi Lindsay Clark


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