Intercultural differences! (#8)

 And also :

Harriet Welty Rochefort and webmaster Philippe Rochefort doing what the French love to do most - earnestly discussinglife with a French friend, over a cup of coffee on the terrace of a Parisian bistro.
 French Artists no one knows outside France !    The American artists the French like the best ...

 Language is very important for the French and, in many cases, it does not translate easily because the themes are so deeply rooted in French culture that they would not touch a non-French listener or reader. For example :

  • The most largely read French author of the 20th century was San-Antonio (more than 200 million books sold) : under this pseudonym, Frédéric Dard wrote around 200 books. They illustrate the Rabelaisian side of the French perfectly (from François Rabelais 1494-1553) : sex, scatology and puns ; they are clearly impossible to translate but very funny indeed.

  • One of the most cherished singers of the 1950s-1980s was Georges Brassens who, accompanied only by his guitar and a bass, sang wonderfully poetic (and often off color) songs ; everything is in the words, sometimes from the most famous French poets (Victor Hugo, François Villon, Lamartine, Jacques Prévert, etc). Listen to one of them.

  • The most successful (in France) French films did not have a brilliant career (or had no career at all) in the USA : the films that attracted the largest audience are "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (2008), followed by "La Grande Vadrouille" (1966) and "Les Visiteurs" (1992). The first two were not exported and the third one was a total flop in the US.

  • Other very famous (in France) French artist include Johnny Hallyday (rock singer), Isabelle Adjani (movie star), Coluche (comedian), Maurice Pialat (film maker), etc... They never succeeded outside France.

  • More about French singers

  • More to come


Of course the French know and like most major American artists but, not to mention Jerry Lewis, the French love some American artists who do not seem to be as widely appreciated in the U.S.A..

  • A typical example is Woody Allen, who is probably one of the most popular film-makers in France ; Oliver Stone, Michael Moore and Clint Eastwood are also very well regarded.
  • Some American artists living in Paris - singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, orchestra conductor William Christie, pianist Jay Gottlieb, dancer Carolyn Carlson, comedians Django Edwards and Sebastian Marx, actor John Malkowich (in Provence), writers Douglas Kennedy and Nancy Huston (Canadian, in Berry), etc...-are also very popular

  • In the past, the French loved Nina Simone, Mort Shumann, Man Ray, Josephine Baker (before WWII), Eddie Constantine (in the 1950s), Sidney Bechet and Kenny Clarke among many Afro-American jazzmen, Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Chester Himes, among many Afro-American writers, etc ... who lived in Paris in the 1950s

  • See the choice of American artists by a very respected left-wing magazine
  • More to come ...

See a list of American artists and writers having resided in France and American writers more popular in France than in the USA ; for the most popular French personalities, click here

To related pages : intercultural (#1), anti-Americanism (#2), intercultural management(#3), France and the French in the US Press(#6), America and the world (#10), etc...

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For more on intercultural differences, order Harriet Welty Rochefort's books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

Together or separately, Philippe and Harriet speak about Intercultural Differences : click here for information.

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