Johnson, Macron to honour the 80th anniversary of the French Resistance

French President Emmanuel Macron has met Prince Charles in London ahead of crunch quarantine talks with Boris Johnson later. They appeared to only be around 1m apart – as is the rule in France.

The French President and Duchess of Cornwall pressed their hands together to greet each other instead of shaking them. The trio then traveled to Carlton Gardens in central London for a short ceremony to commemorate the wartime President Charles De Gaulle, near where he made his famous speech on BBC radio which inspired the French resistance while under Nazi occupation.

Macron laid wreaths at the statues of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth before giving a short address praising Britain and wartime hero PM Winston Churchill.

The French President said this afternoon: “On the 18 June 1940, Churchill and de Gaulle sounded the words of resistance and hope. “The French army had been defeated in only six weeks, there was despair. But already a patriotic pride and a sense of honour and a strong will to resist lit up french hearts, and especially that of General De Gaulle.

“He refused defeat and he decided to carry on the fight. “He had to find somewhere to shelter, a place for his exile. That was London. The hope was embodied by the last European country able to carry on fighting.

“Winston Churchill refused to give in and did not give in. “He said he had nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tear but he offered so much more. “Determination, faith in victory, honour and pride.”

French Resistance hero Cécile Rol-Tanguy dies at 101

French Resistance member Cecile Rol-Tanguy, who risked her life during World War II by working to liberate Paris from Nazi occupation, has died. She was 101.

Rol-Tanguy died on Friday at her home in Monteaux, in central France, as Europe commemorated the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to Allied forces. The cause of her death was not disclosed by French officials.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Rol-Tanguy on Saturday, calling her a “freedom fighter.”

“It was just what you did,” Cécile Rol-Tanguy told the author Anne Sebba in an interview for The Times in 2014. “I never was afraid in my stomach. If you are, you can’t do anything. If you arrive at a Métro station with the Germans in front of you there’s no point in turning round as there are probably Germans behind you.”

From 1940 to 1944, Rol-Tanguy was a member of the French Resistance, working with her husband, Henri.

 

France in focus – The other D-Day: 1944 Provence landings

This week, France in Focus heads to the southern port city of Toulon, which is home to the French Navy’s main base. It was here on August 15, 1944, that the Allied invasion of southern France began. We take a closer look at just what happened and explore the various efforts being made today, 75 years later, to ensure the memory of those events lives on.

Source: France in focus – The other D-Day: 1944 Provence landings

‘Django’: Life — And Music — During Wartime

Though overall, a disappointment – I’m glad I finally got to see Django, which just hit my local cable movie offerings. I’ll first ac-cent-uate the positive, and say actor Reta Kateb makes a dashing Django Reinhardt. I’ll add  that close-ups of Ketab’s guitar fingering is as impressive as … well, Sean Penn’s, anyway. I can forgive even the amount of fabrication in the screenplay. But, by the time Django with his gypsy bandmates and family are planning their escape from Nazi-occupied France in 1943, the movie just seems to run out of gas. (I’d say run out of heart, but the movie’s never has much of that to begin with.) The movie did make me pull out my Django recordings and listen to Minor Swing, Nuages, (the unofficial anthem of the French Resistance) and Sweet Georgia Brown. And that’s always a good thing.

Read the LA Times Review below:

In German-occupied France, guitarist Django Reinhardt (Reda Kateb) awakens to the horrors inflicted upon his people in this musically accomplished but “oversimplified, underfed and overburdened” film.

A bar fight breaks out during a pivotal scene in Django, the musically crisp yet mournful new wartime drama by Étienne Comar. As the fracas unfolds, the band keeps playing, with a blithe bemusement that seems to say: This happens all the time. But these are far from normal times.

The leader of the band is Django Reinhardt, the incomparably gifted Romani jazz guitarist, soulfully embodied by the French-Algerian actor Reda Kateb. He’s biding his time in the French Alps during German occupation, hoping for stealth passage across Lake Geneva into Switzerland. One of the men throwing punches is a Nazi solider, which means the inevitable: a lineup, a lockup and the sternest of warnings. Reinhardt is no good, it would seem, at laying low.

Kateb studied the guitar for a year to prepare for this role, and his work is evident: There’s an unstudied naturalism to the flicker of his fingers across the fretboard, and the film perks up whenever music is playing [ . . . ]

Read Full Review at: ‘Django’: Life — And Music — During Wartime