This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.
In Serbia, as in the rest of the world, the month of March has traditionally been reserved to celebrate all things French - from cuisine to GĂ©rard Depardieu. In fact, March is dedicated to the entire Francophone community, all 300 million people across five continents whose mother tongue rolls the 'r.'
In honor of their diverse culture and the proud historical fraternitĂ© between Serbia and France, Serbian cities are throwing all kinds of events this Spring. Read a bunch of concerts, art exhibitions, theatre plays, public talks, dance and yes, a rap competition.
Without much ado, let's take a quick tour de Serbie and see what it has in store for 2023 Francophonie.
Movies & Theatres
Starting with the latter, the National Theater in Belgrade joins the county-wide celebrations by hosting plays, an opera, and a ballet. From now until the end of March, you can see renditions of Jean Anouilh's comedy L'Orchestre, and L'illusion comique by Pierre Corneille.
Also, Le Corsaire ballet makes a notable appearance, while the famous Carmen by Georges Bizet takes central stage later in March. As for the movies, every Tuesday, the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade will be screening award-winning French-speaking films with a contemporary bent.
The entrance is free of charge.
Chanson, Rap, & Dictation Competition
Here comes the big one. As part of the 2023 Francophonie program, we have a French song competition taking place in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and NiĹˇ. It gathers a bunch of self-taught performers singing and competing to our hearts' content.
Additionally, if you're more of a hip-hop kind of person, there will be an Instagram rap competition whereby contestants take up to 60 seconds to show off their rhyme-flipping skills.
Finally, to top off the competition side of the festival, Francophonie gathers junior and senior dictation masters for a unique orthographic battle of the pen.
Not necessarily a part of Francophonie, Belgrade Dance Festival will nevertheless sift its program through a French filter. For the occasion, French dance groups and a modern circus are coming to town, both taking place in the Madlenianum Opera & Theatre.
First, Sylvain Groud will present their eclectic dance performance titled Adolescence, with ten performers dancig their way through this most dramatic period in our lives.
Later in the month, the Galactic Ensemble circus will light up the stage with Optrakken â€“ a fascinating blend of acrobatics, balance, and (un)controlled movement.
HĂ©lĂ¨ne dâ€™Anjou Exhibition
Novi Sad's Academic Art Gallery presents an exhibition on the life story of one HĂ©lĂ¨ne d'Anjou, the 13th-century queen consort of the Medieval Serbian Kingdom. Of French origins, HĂ©lĂ¨ne lived to become one of the most prominent figurines in Serbian history, even reaching the state of Sainthood in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The exhibition in Novi Sad takes an eclectic approach to this fascinating female character. It tackles the complexities from the angle of historicity, her church building, and HĂ©lĂ¨neâ€™s talented fresco painting.
To round things off, the festival will be presenting Sommet Artistique, AKA Art Summit. It is a four-day celebration of comic book culture in the country.
Fans and the comics-curious will have a chance to familiarize themselves with the tricks of the trade, meet the people behind their favorite works, and purchase one or two comic books to go. The Art Summit stretches a few days into April, effectively bringing the 2023 Francophonie to a merry close.
And as for GĂ©rard Depardieu, heâ€™s in there somewhere, for sure.
This article is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this program are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.