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French teen bids for a seat at Académie Française

In what has been described as a “very rare” event, a 15-year-old boy is in the running for a seat at the prestigious Académie Française. On Thursday the institution is set to decide on who will fill the coveted place among France's fabled "Immortals."

French teen bids for a seat at Académie Française
A 15-year-old boy is in the running for a seat at the prestigious Académie Française. The Académie Française in Paris. Photo Spamdangler/flickr

Arthur Pauly, a 15-year-old French schoolboy, is one of six candidates vying for the seat of former Académie member Hector Bianciotti, who died in June 2012, Le Figaro reported.

Known as the “les Immortels” (the Immortals) because of the institution’s motto, “À l'immortalité” ("To immortality"), there are a total of 40 members at the Académie Française, France's official authority on the French language, each of whom are assigned a number. 

Once a seat becomes vacant, anyone may apply to the Secretary to be considered as a candidate. Members may also nominate candidates.

Candidates must then receive an absolute majority of the vote to win a seat.

Although the Académie are used to receiving all kind of applications, they were surprised this year when they received an application from teenager Arthur Pauly. 

“Imagine if I get elected after making such a big effort. I would become Immortal at the age of 15. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?” the young hopeful was quoted as saying in his application letter.

Although the Académie has set an upward age limit of 75 for its members, there is currently no minimum age, meaning that the position is technically open to minors. 

Explaining the Académie’s decision to let him run for the position, Académie member Marc Fumaroli was quoted in Le Figaro as saying: “He seemed both timid and audacious. His grandmother takes care of him. She had the idea to write his letter of application that was a lot better turned out than many of the others that we received.” 

Pauly is one of a total of six candidates, who include Catherine Clément, Yves-Denis Delaporte, Dany Laferrière, Jean-Claude Perrier and Georges Tayar.

For his part, the 15-year-old was delighted. In a four-page interview written by journalist, author and Académie member Jean-Marie Rouart and published in the magazine Paris Match, Pauly demonstrated an impressive knowledge of the institution, which was founded by 1634 by the cardinal Richelieu. 

During the interview, the schoolboy said that he had been inspired to apply after reading that a boy of 16 and a half had been elected by Académie in 1652.   

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CULTURE

Screenings of French films with English subtitles in July 2022

Paris-based cinema club Lost in Frenchlation is showing two French films with English subtitles this month before taking a well-earned summer break. Here's what's coming up.

Screenings of French films with English subtitles in July 2022

Two events in July are hosted by Lost in Frenchlation, a Paris-based cinema club that offers English speakers who may not be fluent in French the chance to enjoy French films, by screening new releases with English subtitles to help viewers follow the story.

The club has organised two screenings this month – one of them followed by a Q&A with the director, while the other is preceded by a stand-up show – before it takes a well-earned break ready to return in September.

Here are the films you can catch this month.

Friday, July 8th, 7pm

Les Goûts et les couleurs (Not My Type)

Rebecca Marder heads the cast of Michel Leclerc’s smart drama about a talented singer whose dream of recording an album with a 1970s rock icon (a heavily made-up Judith Chemla) threatens to turn sour when the old musician defies phrase and fable and actually dies. 

Her efforts to persuade the old rocker’s closest living relative (Félix Moati) to allow her release the record are complicated by the fact he likes neither his famous kin or her music.

The screening at Club de L’Etoile cinema, on Rue Troyon, will be followed by a Q&A with director Leclerc.

Tickets  (€10, €8 for concessions) are available here

Friday, July 15th, 7pm

Irréductible (Employee of the Month)

Office politics go bad when zealous ministerial inspector Pascale Arbillot reckons without peaceful civil service worker Jérôme Commandeur (who also directs) in this laugh-out-loud comedy. 

Her job is to cut waste and costs; his is to enjoy as quiet and comfortable a career as possible. Unable to get him to leave his ‘job for life’, she transfers him to some of the least hospitable places on Earth she can find… Chaos, as the best movie billings should say, ensues.

The film, at cinéma L’Arlequin, will be preceded by a stand-up show and the chance to enjoy a cocktail or two.

Tickets (€15, €13 for concessions) to the screening and the comedy show are available here

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