Louvre masterworks to light up ex-mining town

Updated 03 December 2012

Louvre masterworks to light up ex-mining town

THE Louvre will shine the light of high culture on a depressed former mining town this week, as the Paris museum opens a gleaming new satellite among the slag heaps of northern Lens.
President Francois Hollande will cut the ribbon tomorrow on the Japanese-designed new museum, set to host masterpieces by Delacroix and Raphael for its first year of existence.
The Lens site opens to the public on Dec. 12.
Blighted by the closure of the region’s last mines 20 years ago, with unemployment at a stubbornly high 16 percent, Lens is hoping for a renaissance of its own from the glass and polished-aluminum structure.
Following in the footsteps of Paris’s Pompidou Center modern art museum, which opened a satellite in eastern Metz in 2010, the Louvre says its chief goal is to win over the local population.
“Two things would spell failure in my eyes,” the Louvre’s director Henri Loyrette told AFP. “The first would be if the population don’t take ownership of the museum. The second would be if the Louvre’s existing visitors don’t go.”
Just one hour by train from Paris, the Louvre-Lens’ director Xavier Dectot hopes to attract 700,000 visitors for its first year, and half a million per year after that, compared to nine million annual visitors for the Louvre itself.
“We are banking on a lot of visitors who have never set foot in a museum,” said Loyrette.
“We recognize that it is not easy. When we started with the project the words Louvre and Lens just didn’t fit together — a great Parisian institution and a town ravaged by war and industrial crisis.”
The museum’s five sober buildings were intended by the Japanese agency Sanaa to blend into the former industrial site, with the rail tracks that once linked up its pits turned into access roads for instance.
From within its giant glass cube entrance hall, visitors can glimpse the giant slag heaps at Loos-en-Gohelle, the largest in Europe, and the Bollaert stadium, home to the local football team, Racing Club de Lens.
The Nord-Pas-De-Calais region financed 60 percent of the 150-million-euro project.
“We need so badly to lift our heads, to look at the horizon, to show our people the way forward,” said Daniel Percheron, the regional president, of the heavy investment.
For its first five years, the museum’s 125-meter (yard) central gallery will showcase 200 works spanning from Antiquity to 1850 — offering a walk through the history of the Louvre.
The main gallery will be free to access for the first year, while a second space will host temporary paying exhibitions, the first of them focused on the Renaissance, from Italy to Flanders.
“It’s about giving people keys to understand,” explained Genevieve Bresc, the exhibit’s curator and head of the Louvre’s sculpture department.


New competition to challenge filmmakers and push their limits

Updated 09 October 2020

New competition to challenge filmmakers and push their limits

JEDDAH: A new short film competition is set to entice and support local filmmakers while challenging them as they write, shoot and edit their creations in just 48 hours.

The Red Sea International Film Festival launched a new short film competition that will include three days of mentorship once through the selection process, followed by an intensive 48 hours where the selected teams will create their films within that short window while working around a set theme and incorporating surprise elements.

The competition is a collaboration between the Alliance Française, the Consulate General of France in Jeddah, the French Embassy in Riyadh, the Red Sea International Film Festival, and La Fémis.

The shortlisted teams will be selected by a jury composed of award winning actress Hend Sabry, film director and screenwriter Lisa Sallustio, French film director and writer Brice Cauvin, Saudi writer and director Faizah Saleh Ambah and Saudi film director and producer Mohammed Al-Hamoud.

Teams must be between 2-5 participants and aged between 18-25 years old. Those selected from the applicants will enjoy three days of workshops starting Oct. 22, which will equip them with the knowledge and expertise to develop their film, from idea to final cut between Oct. 30-31.

The jury screening will take place a few days after, between Nov. 2-4.

The announcement of the winners will take place on Nov. 9. Two competition winners will go on to enjoy a residency program with renowned french cinema operators in 2021.