France in the Roaring Twenties will be the theme of this year's Le French May festival in Hong Kong where people can enjoy cabaret, gypsy jazz and the works of Jean Cocteau.
The French consul general is inviting Hongkongers to enjoy the "lively atmosphere" of what the French call "the crazy years" during the two-month-long programme of arts, music and culture.The Twenties in New York and Paris were a time of decadence immortalised by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic The Great Gatsby, and more recently with filmmaker Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
"In the 1920s in France, there was an unprecedented artistic 'Big Bang'. Some people call it the Renaissance of the 20th century," said Arnaud Barthélémy.
The consul general highlighted the works of Jean Cocteau whose works influenced Matisse and Andy Warhol, calling him the da Vinci of the 20th century.
"He was a poet, a painter, a sculptor as well as a costume designer who inspired Picasso," said Barthélémy. "After the Picasso exhibition last year, we thought there was a big appetite in Hong Kong for more explanations of modern art and the birth of modern art."
Cocteau's works will be on show from May 3 at City Hall.
Elsewhere in the city, there will be around 50 performances, 26 exhibitions and 50 movie screenings, as well as activities for Le French Gourmay and Le French Fashion May, spanning the gamut of visual art, opera, dance and fashion. There will be a theatre performance of singer Edith Piaf's love letters and an exhibition of French tableware at the Elements mall in Kowloon.
May at the races in Happy Valley will take on a French flavour as well, with the presence of gypsy jazz group Gadjo Station and other French acts.
In Macau, Napoleon's throne, furniture, tapestries, chandeliers, clocks and candelabras that adorned the palaces during the first empire of France will be on show in the exhibition Napoleon and the Decorative Arts: Treasures of the Imperial Palaces at the Macau Museum.
The festival runs from April 17 to June 23. Tickets will be on sale from today.
Several thousand tickets for the events will be made available by the Jockey Club for underprivileged youngsters around Hong Kong.
The full programme can be found at www.frenchmay.com