San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Vive La Francophonie!

Francophone Festival 2006 kicked off in San José March 15, but there’s still plenty of French culture to head out of the house for and soak up. Film, music, art exhibits and linguistic activities are on the program through April 5. Contributors aren’t just Gallic; they come from countries all over the world where France has left its mark.

Chanteuse Rachelle Jeanty, for example, is from Canada, and will be performing in upcoming concerts. Jeanty got started singing backup for fellow Canadian Celine Dion, and recently released a solo album. With jazz, soul and bossa nova influences, she will be performing two evenings in San José: March 29 at 10 p.m. at Jazz Café in San Pedro, east of San José; and March 31 at 9 p.m. at Tokú in the western suburb of Escazú. Tickets are ¢2,500 ($5) at Jazz Café and ¢3,000 ($6) at Tokú.

Numerous films produced all over the world are showing as part of the festival. The fifth Central American Francophone Film Festival features films from Belgium, Canada, France and Switzerland. Every day through April 5, a film will be shown at the Outlet Mall in San Pedro; show times are usually 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 p.m., with some variation, so call the theater at 234-8868 or check online at for exact schedules. General admission is ¢1,000 ($2); students and seniors pay ¢700 ($1.40); and Alliance Française and Liceo Franco-Costarricense students pay ¢500 ($1). Note that some of the films have Spanish subtitles, while others are dubbed in Spanish.

Cinephile Fridays is an event hosted by Alliance Française every Friday, not just during the festival, at which French films are shown free of charge. On the marquee tonight is “El Fuego,” made in Burkina Faso in 2003. Next Friday will feature “Abouna,” a collaboration between France and Chad made in 2003. Alliance Française is in San José’s Barrio Amón, at Avenida 7 and Calle 5.

It wouldn’t be a French festival without art. Opening tonight and running through April 22 at the Calderón Guardia Museum in San José’s Barrio Escalante is an exhibit entitled “De una América, la Otra” (“From One America, the Other”), by French-Slovenian photographer Klavdij Sluban, featuring photos taken throughout South America. In addition, a mural exhibit in collaboration with the San José Public Art Program is on display at the National Theater in downtown San José through the end of the month.

The closing soiree is scheduled for March 30 at Alliance Française, with live music and French wine. Tickets are ¢2,500 ($5).

For more information about festival events, call 222-2283 or visit the Alliance Française Web site at


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