Published in The Peak, November 2012 (Click on images to read the article).
French Art & Film Festival 2012 kicks off 23 May – 23 June in Kuala Lumpur, 6-13 June in Penang. As Royal Patron of the French Art & Film Festival (FAFF) this year, I’m delighted to present to you great French film screenings at GSC Pavilion, Mid Valley, 1Utama as well as other musical and artistic performances. Here are the trailers of the French films showing (subtitled in English):
Les Intouchables (The Untouchables) :
Genre: Comedy. One of the greatest blockbusters in French film history with $240 million domestic gross and definitely a favourite of mine. Don’t miss this film as there are only 2 screenings in KL!
Synopsis: The wild cinematic success based on a true story of two men who should never have met –After a paragliding accident, Philippe, a rich aristocrat, hires Driss, a young guy from the projects recently released from prison to be his care-giver… In other words, the person least suited for the job. Together they will blend Vivaldi and Earth, Wind and Fire, elegant diction and street jive, suits and sweatpants…Two worlds are going to collide and come to terms with each other to give birth to a friendship as crazy, comical and strong as it is unexpected, a unique relationship that will create sparks and make them…Untouchable.
Les Femmes du 6ème étage (Service Entrance) :
Genre: comedy. I loved this heart-warming film.
Synopsis: In 1960s Paris, the life of a conservative couple are turned upside down by two Spanish maids. Jean Louis Joubert, a scrupulous foreign exchange broker and an uptight man discovers of a full band of Spanish maids living on the 6th floor of his wealthy residential building. Maria, the maid who’s working for him makes him discover a totally new and exuberant world fully different of his strict world. Stirred by those punchy women, he begins to give up his annoying life to experience for the first time, the happiness and joy from a simple life. But can we really change our life at 45?
Les émotifs Anonymes (Romantics Anonymous) :
Genre: Comedy/ Romance. Looking forward to this one.
Synopsis: What happens when a man and a woman share a common passion? What occurs when a highly emotional man meets a highly emotional woman? They fall in love. And this is what happens to Jean-René, the boss of a small chocolate factory, and Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker he has just hired. Both share the same passion and handicap but being pathologically timid does not make things easy for them. So whether they will manage to get together, join their solitudes and live happily ever after is a guessing matter.
Une Vie De Chat (A Cat in Paris) :
Genre: animated feature film.
Synopsis: Dino is a cat that leads a double life. By day, he lives with Zoé, a little girl whose mother, Jeanne, is a police officer. By night, he works with Nico, a burglar with a big heart. Zoé has plunged herself into silence following her father’s murder at the hands of gangster Costa. One day, Dino the cat brings Zoé a very valuable bracelet. Lucas, Jeanne’s second-in-command, notices that the bracelet is part of a jewelry collection that has been stolen. One night, Zoé decides to follow Dino. On the way, she overhears some gangsters and discovers that her nanny is part of the gangsters’ team
Liberté (Korkoro) :
Synopsis: A Gypsy family travels the French roads during the Second World War, followed by Little Claude, a young boy seeking a new family after his parents “left and never returned”. Upon reaching a town where they traditionally stop for a few months and work in vineyards, they learn that a new law forbids them from being nomadic. Theodore, the town’s mayor, and Miss Lundi, the schoolteacher, protect and help the Gypsies. Despite this, they are arrested and placed in an internment camp. Theodore manages to rescue them and gives them a piece of property where they must settle. But the Gypsies’ deep thirst for freedom makes this sedentary lifestyle difficult to bear. After Theodore and Miss Lundi were arrested for resistance, the Gypsies decide they must get back on the move in order to remain free.
Le Père de Mes Enfants (Father of my Children) :
Synopsis: At one side, Grégoire, a movie producer of great charm, owner of Moon Films, struggles to feed his family: two young daughters, and wife while keeping his studio going when one project hemorrhages money.. In aide of her husband, Sylvia, his Italian wife, tries to hold the family together as she looks fully into Moon Films’ troubles. She meets with a banker, a temperamental Swede, Russian TV magnates, a film lab exec, and Moon’s lawyer. At the same time, Clémence, their oldest daughter, goes on her own search. How does a family pick up the pieces when debt crushes them?
To know more on cinema screening times please visit FAFF website: FAFF Cinema Schedule
Other exciting activities for FAFF include: music, circus, theatre, book launch, French market and more… Visit FAFF . Organized by Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur (AFKL) Alliance Francaise de Kuala Lumpur.
To finish the series on our favourite hotels in Penang (check previous blogposts: E and O Hotel, Straits Collection), discover the designer stylish G Hotel, a unique urban getaway along Gurney Drive (the Malaysian version of “La promenade des anglais” in Nice), a long wide road which runs the length of the seafront. As a Frog, I always see a bit of France everywhere I go!
With its stunning interiors and spacious contemporary design, the G Hotel offers a real innovative approach in the hospitality sector on the island: To please the business travellers and the contemporary urban travellers.
The hotel is very modern, with a huge lobby, furniture pieces, a design pool, spa, three restaurants with different cuisine (Sesame & Soy, Chili’s, Miraku) and four bars and cafes, plus direct access to a shopping mall.
PZ and I were really thrilled to see such a design hotel in Penang, a symbol of the vitality and young at heart mindset of the island.
Amongst the luxurious five stars hotels in Malaysia, the Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O) located on the island of Penang is a unique historical landmark from 1884.
With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the arrival of the steamship, travel to Asia assumed unprecedented style and luxury. Writers, actors, playwrights, the rich and the titled, in Europe and America, looked to the exotic East to satisfy their wanderlust. Suddenly, there was a new breed of travellers – the globetrotters. It was to meet the demands of the new affluent travellers that the Eastern & Oriental Hotel was born.
Nowadays, with its large colonial building, the wooden furniture, the lovely pool, the butler’s uniforms and the unique sea view on Penang, E&O hasn’t lost its character and grace.
When I first visited Malaysia in 2006, PZ booked this Hotel for us to make sure that I would fall in love with Penang and Malaysia. No need to say it worked perfectly well. You can’t resist the charms of the E&O Hotel (and my wife’s)!
Do stay at E&O Hotel if you visit Malaysia, or have a cup of tea and scones at Sarkies Corner or a delicious gourmet dinner at the restaurant 1885, and perhaps you will feel the spirit of Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks, Hermann Hesse, Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham, some of the famous guests who stayed there.
Featuring a modern structural design and memorabilia from rock stars around the world, the first Hard Rock Hotel in Malaysia – is located on the famous beach of Batu Ferringhi, 20 minutes drive away from the historical center of Georgetown. All the 249 chic rooms and suites have a fantastic view on the hill and the Andaman Sea.
For an exceptional dining experience, the hotel features three food & beverage outlets, the famous Hard Rock Cafe serving authentic American food; Starz Diner, an all-day dining restaurant featuring Asian and International Cuisine; and the Pizzeria by the poolside.
This family friendly hotel offers a wide selection of facilities including Lil’ Rock Kids Club, for young rockers aged 3-12 years old, with fun activities to keep them busy while the parents can shop and chill (after all everybody is on holiday); the Rock Spa (PZ’s favorite) where you can enjoy a Hot Rock massage of 90 minutes or a Foot Loose reflexology (love the name!); and a fully equipped gym (Frog’s favorite), to lose that yummy cheese burger you just had for lunch.
If you visit the Island of Penang, the Pearl of Orient, the hip and trendy Hard Rock Hotel is the ideal place to stay and enjoy a rich multicultural weekend: from the Nyonya to western iconic rock stars.
This week was the 20th edition of Malaysia’s oldest keelboat sailing regatta and one of the region’s premier events: The Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2009.
The regatta is one of the very few true offshore passage racing regattas in the region and takes place over the course of 9 days from Port Klang, linking 3 of the most popular islands of peninsular Malaysia – Pangkor, Penang and Langkawi.
This year 55 yachts with crews coming from all over the world (France, Hong Kong, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand etc) participated in the race and enjoyed the challenge of combining seamanship, navigation, local knowledge with competing.
For my first regatta, I was warmly welcomed on Eveline, a 100 year-old classic yacht built in Shangai and owned by Dato’ Richard Curtis. Eveline is the oldest yacht of the regatta and the slowest (we arrived usually 2 to 6 hours after the rest of the fleet!) but with the scientific and mysterious handicap calculation (according to size, age, weight, overall capacity etc) we’ve managed to get 3rd and 2nd place in two passage legs, quite an amazing performance for a lady born in 1910!
The atmosphere on board was extremely friendly yet professional, with a very special attention given to Food & Beverage for our delicate palates: on Eveline we know how to yacht in style.
Many thanks to all the crew for having Frog & Princess on board and we will definitely be back next year. As Eveline tag line goes: Never a dull moment.
(Photos courtesy of The Royal Selangor Yacht Club.)
Here’s a great article published in MSN Malaysia Sports Page about our Regatta on Eveline: http://sport.malaysia.msn.com/blog/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3713275
Since July 2008, Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca are inscribed on the famous and prestigious World Heritage List of UNESCO for Malaysia, joining the Gunung Mulu National Park and the Kinabalu Park, located in Borneo.
What does it mean? What is the significance of being on the list?
What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites (so far 878 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage) belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. Yes! Places as extraordinary as the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Pyramids, The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, Venice, Paris and the banks of the Seine… belong to me… and you. (it gives a great feeling, no?)
More seriously, UNESCO’s World Heritage missions are “to encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their sites, to help safeguard them and to encourage participation of the local population in their preservation.” But in practical terms, it is also a fantastic promotion for a country. One of my dreams will be to be able to visit all these amazing sites around the world. A real lifetime achievement, n’est-ce pas?
Melaka and George Town are living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, and European colonial influences. I recall the wonderful feelings of looking at a Chinese mansion, next to an old Portuguese church and a typical English colonial hotel.
The great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, art and food (mmmm the Nyonya food!) are all the elements that give to these two places the recognition to be listed. The properties have retained their authenticity; listed monuments and sites have been restored in accordance with conservation guidelines and principles.
I would greatly encourage you travelers, especially my fellow frogs, to discover Malaysia, a country that I truly adore, not only for collapsing on the beach after a nice rojak, but to frolic in the charming streets and discover the rich history of the cities of the straits of Malacca.