Foreign missions of french speaking countries celebrate ‘Francophone Week’


Zubair Qureshi

Festivities have gripped the federal capital as the foreign missions of the French-speaking countries or Francophone countries based here have started week-long celebrations ‘Francophone Week’ celebrating the subtleties, nuances of this beautiful language.
The cultural wing of the embassy of France in this regard organized screening of the 2014 French movie ‘Quai d’Orsay’ (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) at the Pakistan national Council of the Arts here on Saturday. One cannot help appreciating the choice of the movie by Ambassador Marc Baréty and his team as the movie is based on real life events of a young officer who happened to join the office as speech writer to Foreign Minister of France. The protagonist of the movie, the young Antonin Baudry who has also served as the French cultural counselor in the United States and at various other positions, in fact presents the inside story, the drama, stress and emotional crisis, a young officer of the Foreign Ministry has to face while working in tense situation before the audience. His graphic novel, based on his experiences working for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the basis for the farcical film “Quai d’Orsay.
One could see galaxy of stars of the French speaking countries including Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, African countries attending the screening of the movie and enjoying each comic turn of the movie with rib-breaking laughter.
Ambassador of European Jean-François Cautain was also among the guests and was seated beside his French ‘ami.’ Alliance Francaise (AF) director Mr Ali, students of the NUML and AF were also there to celebrate the day. A food carnival is also set up at the outer premises of the PNCA where one can enjoy the taste of the Francophone cuisine. Talking to Pakistan Observer Marc Baréty said there were 57 countries where French was spoken while in 29 countries it is either the official language or one of the official languages. In Pakistan, every year, around 4,000 students are passing out from Alliance, NUML or other institutions that offer French language, he said.
About the movie, he said he happened to meet the protagonist of ‘Quai d’Orsay’ Antonin Baudry. He as young, smart and ambitious officer was hired back in 2002 to write speeches for the then-Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. He said even EU Ambassador also met a number of characters in the movie or at least one main character.
Earlier, as the movie progressed one came to know the perplexing situation of Anotinon Baudry. He joined the office just months after 9/11, and France was being pressured by the US government to support George W. Bush and his plans to attack Iraq. Later, Antonin Baudry turns his government experience into a French farce-meets-The Office in a funny graphic novel called “Quai d’Orsay.”

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