Week in Review: 'French Oscars' under fire, binge-worthy politics and locusts wreak havoc

Locust outbreak; Polanski protest in Paris; Maths whizz, Paris mayoral candidate Cédric Villani.
Locust outbreak; Polanski protest in Paris; Maths whizz, Paris mayoral candidate Cédric Villani. © Screengrab, FRANCE 24; Christophe Archambault, AFP; Benoit Tessier, REUTERS
9 min

With the Oscars behind us and the "French Oscars" – the César awards – approaching, French cinema is on parade, but feminist groups aren't pleased about plaudits for director Roman Polanski. Meanwhile, locusts are raining destruction on East Africa. And we take a look at bingeable political fiction on French TV. Catch up on this week's coverage with our Week in Review. 



The ‘French Oscars’, under fire, brace for a Polanski showdown

With France’s film industry in the midst of a belated #MeToo awakening, the annual César Awards have set the stage for a showdown with feminist groups by handing Roman Polanski’s latest film the lion's share of nominations.

Maths wizard Cédric Villani adds to Macron woes in Paris mayoral equation

Mathematician-turned-politician Cédric Villani wears his eccentricity on his sleeve – or, at least, on the lapel of his three-piece suit. There lurk his signature spider brooches. They stalk alongside his silken Ascot neckties and above his pocket watch, even on the campaign trail, where Emmanuel Macron's now ex-protégé is stumping for one of French politics’ most coveted prizes: The Paris mayor’s office. 

Prize-winning mathematician and Paris mayoralty candidate Cédric Villani.
Prize-winning mathematician and Paris mayoralty candidate Cédric Villani. © Benoit Tessier, Reuters

Brazil's military elite sees France as country's biggest threat, leaked report reveals

France is expected to be Brazil's biggest military threat over the next 20 years and could invade the Amazon in 2035, according to a secret report published by Brazilian media on Friday. Although the French embassy jokingly "saluted" its "limitless imagination", the military document is aimed at redefining the country's foreign policy strategy and could add yet another chapter to its troubled relations with France.

TV political thriller Baron Noir mirrors real-life politics in France

Five weeks ahead of crucial municipal elections in France, with strikes, demonstrations and heightened tensions putting President Emmanuel Macron and his party on the defence, the new season of a hit political thriller TV series has viewers and voters on the edge of their seats.

The third season of "Le Baron Noir" shares many similarities with Emmanuel Macron's presidency.
The third season of "Le Baron Noir" shares many similarities with Emmanuel Macron's presidency. © Canal+


Boxed in by US and Israel, an ailing Abbas takes defiant stance against Trump peace plan

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is 84 years old and in fragile health. Speaking Tuesday at the UN, he roundly rejected US President Donald Trump’s plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he appears to be powerless in the face of the united front presented by the US and Israel.


Africa’s locust ‘crisis’: UN calls for urgent action

The UN on Monday called for urgent action to avoid a major humanitarian crisis as billions of locusts destroy crops across East Africa in the biggest outbreak the region has seen in decades.

Locust outbreak.
Locust outbreak. © Screengrab, France 24


Mont Blanc: an end to ‘wackos’ on the summit?

French President Emmanuel Macron was set to unveil measures to protect Mont Blanc during a visit to the mountain on Thursday, after a local mayor complained that “wackos” were damaging the famous peak.

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to unveil measures to protect Mont Blanc when he visits the region on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to unveil measures to protect Mont Blanc when he visits the region on Thursday, February 13, 2020. © AFP / FRANCE 24




Breathtaking views of the French Riviera

In the south of France, a mythic stretch of tarmac links Nice to Menton. It’s known as the "Three Corniches". This trio of coastal roads are one of the jewels of the French Riviera and offer breath-taking views. FRANCE 24 takes you for a ride and stops off at a few cultural highlights on the way.

The French Riviera town of Èze.
The French Riviera town of Èze. © Screengrab, France 24



Israel and the Palestinians: An impossible peace process?

Our guest is Khalil Tafakji, director of the cartography department at the Jerusalem-based Arab Studies Society. He is also a former member of the Palestinian peace delegation and the author of a new book that examines the geographical extent of Israeli colonies in the occupied West Bank. He tells us why he thinks the US "deal of the century" is nothing more than the realisation of a vision shared by both left and right-wing Israeli leaders since 1996. He also tells us why he believes Benjamin Netanyahu's ultimate plan is to evict Palestinians from the West Bank.


Microwork, micropay: French 'click workers' try to make ends meet

Completing a survey, requesting a quote, or just spending a few seconds on the homepage of a big brand’s website... Day after day or for just a few hours a month, so-called "click workers" are doing paid online "microtasks". In France, there are over a quarter of a million of these "micro workers". It's a new line of work that raises many questions. 

Employee and ‘microworker’ Sanou Sissoko.
Employee and ‘microworker’ Sanou Sissoko. © Screengrab, France 24



Gabriel Zucman: The wealth tax guru advising Sanders & Warren

French economist Gabriel Zucman has chronicled the rise of inequality in the tax system in the United States, which has left the super-rich paying proportionally lower taxes than the poor. In his book "The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay", he lays out a model for a wealth tax to address this inequality. He has lent his expertise to the campaigns of Democratic primary candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Professor of Economics,  UC Berkeley
Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley © FRANCE24



Golshifteh Farahani: An Iranian actress in exile

She’s worked with the likes of Ridley Scott, Jim Jarmusch and Asghar Farhadi. She was the first Iranian actress to star in a Hollywood film after the 1979 revolution and the first to appear in an Israeli movie. Golshifteh Farahani speaks to Eve Jackson about her new movie “Arab Blues” in which she plays a psychoanalyst trying to set up a practice in Tunisia after the Arab Spring. They also talk about her being an Iranian artist in exile and why she loves her adoptive country, France, so much.

Actress Golshifteh Farahani discusses her latest film, 'Arab Blues'.
Actress Golshifteh Farahani discusses her latest film, 'Arab Blues'. © Screengrab, France 24

Frenchies in Tinseltown: France enters the Oscars race

With movies that competed for Best International Feature, Best Live Action Short Film and Best Animated Feature at last week's 92nd Academy Awards, French talent is currently the toast of Hollywood. Our reporters caught up with some of the directors leading the charge in Los Angeles.

ENCORE! © France 24


'Funny Girl' Christina Bianco sings up a storm as Fanny Brice

She's a one-woman powerhouse, carving out a niche for one-of-a-kind performances: Christina Bianco's impressive vocal range and comic timing make her a perfect Fanny Brice, the leading lady in Broadway classic "Funny Girl". Christina told us about taking inspiration from the go-getting 1930s showgirl when it comes to pushing herself forward for starring roles, and why her job involves a knack for taking "no" for an answer. We also get a glimpse of Christina's hilarious talent for impressions, and find out who is her favourite French-speaking diva.

ENCORE! © France 24



Scientific research threatened by organised crime in Mexico

The region of Michoacán in Mexico is struggling to lure field scientists despite its rich biodiversity. The 3,000 monthly murders linked to organised crime can deter even the most passionate researchers

Inside the Americas
Inside the Americas © France 24



The rise of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy

After psychoactive drugs like magic mushrooms and LSD were embraced by the US counterculture movement of the 1960s, Richard Nixon's War on Drugs did all it could to suppress the nation's appetite for hallucinogens. But, four decades on, research into the therapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs is booming.


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