It doesn't matter if 'je ne parle pas francais' is the only French line you know. You are still welcome to the French Speaking Day, an annual event celebrating the language. Organised by the Alliance Francaise, the French Speaking Day on March 20 features a series of cultural events ranging from film to literature and music. According to Alice Chiappero of the cultural section of Alliance Francaise, attending cultural events is the best way to learn French. 'Usually the arts are a good way to get interested in a country's culture, the country itself, and then the language spoken in this country,' she tells SYP. 'Cinema, music or painting can be used as complementary methods to learn French or can help a teacher to illustrate French lessons in an attractive way.' Chiappero says that Hong Kong people's interest in French has soared. 'They are interested in French culture and arts. Some learn French for professional reasons or because they want to study at a French-speaking university,' she says. 'In 2003 there were 5,000 students learning French in Hong Kong.' In fact, France is not the only country that speaks French. A lot of other countries such as Belgium, Switzerland and Canada, as well as some countries in Africa, adopt French as their official or a second language. Thus, this year's French Speaking Day features not only cultural exports from France, but also from a variety of other countries. Included in the programme is a film called Destiny by veteran Egyptian director Youssef Chahine. Destiny tells the tale of Averroes, one of the greatest Islamic philosophers from the 12th century, and is a joint production between France and Egypt. Youssef Chahine won the 50th anniversary prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1997 for his life's work. The evening programme includes three musicians performing their own style of French music. First up is Celina Ramsauer from Switzerland. She's an accordionist and singer, and is well-known on the international music scene. Ramsauer is followed by Canadian singer-songwriter Lise Villeneuve. Although some of her songs are in English, she was raised in a French-speaking home and she says that she grew up thinking and feeling in French. The evening will end with the African rhythms of jazz composer Thierry Nkeli Faha from Togo. Faha sings in French, as well as other West African languages such as Mina, Wolof and Dioula. His talents have taken him to New York and now Asia. Another major highlight of the day is an exhibition of Henri Michaux's literature and painting. Born in Belgium in 1899, Michaux, who died 20 years ago, was initially a medical student, but he soon dropped out and started travelling. He had a passion for Chinese writing and painting, and was also a great poet. Jean-Pierre Martin, a university professor and one of France's leading specialists on Michaux, will give a talk about the works presented at the exhibition. French Speaking Day takes place on March 20 at the Fringe Club. Admission is free. For further details contact the Alliance Francaise on 2527 7825 or log on to their website at www.alliancefrancaise.com.hk .