Major Estonian Festival in France Ends
Today marks the end of the Estonian cultural festival held in the greater Paris metro area, Estonie Tonique.
Two months saw over 200 performances, concerts, exhibitions, screenings of films, literary evenings, and conferences featuring Estonians - an unprecedented undertaking. For the first time in France, Estonian theatre could be seen, and there was also plenty of modern art, films and pop and alternative music. The printing press Babel/Actes Sud published a prose anthology called "Les Labyrinthes du réel“.
Ministry of Culture undersecretary for fine arts Ragnar Siil said the aim of the festival was to introduce contemporary Estonian culture and show off Estonia as a modern, Nordic and hard-working country. "This we succeeded in doing well, Estonia had a very visible presence on the streets of Paris for a number of months," Siil said.
The festival's French coordinator Benoit Paumier said that thanks to the media partners - Le Monde and TV5 Monde - the rest of the country and other French-speaking nations and overseas departements also got to experience Estonia.
Estonia's cultural attache in France Kersti Kirs said that the classical and jazz concerts were sold out, with Arvo Pärt's and Veljo Tormis's music being particularly in demand. "NO99's performances at the Odeon can be considered very popular along with the Estonian film retrospective at the Paris filmotheque and the contemporary art exhibition 'Liberté/Vabadus 2011' at Asnières," she said.
In the course of the festival, Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand decorated composer Arvo Pärt with the country's highest order for a foreign national, the Legion of Honor.