12 free tickets to family Opera in Nyon, Aubonne and Morges

On the 9th, 10th and 12th May, over 120 students of COV (the Conservatoire of West Vaud) will perform “Marco Polo and the Princess of China”. This is a family friendly opera, at just one hour and quarter long, it’s a great introduction for all ages to the world of opera, live orchestral music, fabulous costumes and scenery.

Living in Nyon recently spoke to Anastase Démétriadès, the director of the school who said; “This is a massive opportunity for all the students to get together and perform. The youngest member is 6 years old, there are adult students too, three choirs involved, 45 in the orchestra alone, it’s a big event! It is also a good opportunity to see the work of this prestigious music school”.

Photo below – The COV orchestra in rehearsal

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Living in Nyon has 12 free tickets on offer for this event.

2 pairs for the performance in Morges on Saturday 9th May,

2 pairs for the performance in Nyon on Sunday 10th May,

and 2 pairs for the performance in Aubonne on Tuesday 12th May.

To be in with a chance with winning, email info@livinginnyon.com by Sunday 3rd May, title the email “Marco Polo” and state which venue you would like tickets for ( Nyon, Morges or Aubonne)

For more details of the concert and and to purchase tickets see here (click on the word “representations” to buy tickets online)

The Complex Colours of Egypt – The Tent Makers of Cairo

A fascinating insight into the life and work of artisans in Egypt    

Screening today  -Tuesday 21st April at 18:30 at the Grande Salle Colombière and Wednesday 22nd April at 12:00 at the Salle Communale.  Tickets and info here

“You can’t buy thousands of dollars of fabric and give a needle and thread to anyone”, opines a UPS delivery guy whilst picking up a parcel from a shopkeeper in Cairo. The shop in question, sells beautiful hand sewn designs which have been made on the premises by extremely skilled artisans. The designs are now works of art which are hung on walls of homes but traditionally they were used to line and decorate the inside of tents. However, the quote is an analogy for what’s going on in the country at the time, the delivery guy is bemoaning the lack of skill and expertise in Mohamed Morsi, the country’s new leader.

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For over three years, Kim Beamish the director of  “The Tent Makers of Cairo”  followed a community of artisans whose craft has remained largely unchanged for centuries, and in this film, not only do we see the rich, complex colours and intricate work of their designs, but we hear them discussing the current and complex political situation going on in Egypt.  Discussions continue during power cuts and involve lots of smoking and lots of coffee. Breaking news happens and they continue sewing and giving their opinion. A heated argument happen in the street over a traffic issue and a tent maker watches with interest, only to leave his needle and thread aside to try and calm the situation down. There are some lovely, touching scenes when we see the artisans at home with their families.

Khiamiah / Street of the Tentmakers

Yet despite the turmoil outside and the long hours of work, there is also laughter, jokes are made about the government from both sides, about each other and a joint bemoaning that times are tough.

The artisan’s work is invited to be shown at a quilting exhibition in Pennsylvania and we see them preparing for the trip. Once in the U.S. A , their work is greatly admired and in demand. Here we see not only the visual contrast between the sights and sounds of Cairo to the sights of Pennsylvania, but also a contrast of how their work is cherished. Back in Egypt, the skilled tent makers reflect on how lovely it was to be appreciated for their work in America “unlike in this country”.   When they are then invited to Paris to a sewing fair, they are again valued for their skills.  Although some worry that the trade will die out, there are others who are teaching the art to their sons in the hope that it will continue.

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This film is a fascinating insight into the life and work not only of the artisans, but also an interesting perspective of the political situation in Egypt during the time of filming. A perspective through the eyes of Egyptians themselves, not through news anchors or “experts”.  A country of complex colours of different designs. Just like the artisan’s  thread, the country travels in different directions throughout the film resulting in a rich and interesting work of art for the viewer.

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Bill Drummond – the Musician, the Maverick, the Man who burned a million pounds – Film Review

Bill Drummond, the musician, the maverick, the man who burned a million pounds.  

Film review “Imagine waking up tomorrow and all music had disappeared” from Visions du Réel in Nyon 2015

Screenings today Sunday 19th April at 19:00 at the Théâtre de Marens and tomorrow Monday 10:00 at the Salle Communale.

Click here for Info and Tickets 

Bill Drummond is no Gareth Malone. Malone, a British TV presenter, natty dresser and populariser of choral singing, travels around the United Kingdom encouraging workplaces to form choirs and inspires them to enter into competitions while filming their progress for a series of very successful TV programmes.  The uplifting nature of these programmes have won Malone many awards and accolades.

Whereas Drummond in the film, although he travels around the UK forming a choir of sorts, he does so in very different circumstances in the film, “Imagine waking up tomorrow and all music had disappeared” . The choir is made up of folk he finds along the way, and although he does occasionally enter into a few workplaces, all he asks if that the workers sing just one note or two. He then records the collective sound to be added to other recordings to make just one choral piece on its own. A sound that will be deleted after it has been played and never to be heard again. Drummond travels from place to place in a scruffy Landrover wearing an even scruffier long leather jacket as he cajoles and persuades members of the public to sing or make a sound for this experiment called The 17. Among the group he finds are nuns, taxi drivers, construction workers, children in a primary school and more, a diverse cross section of society. Although Drummond is a charismatic character – some warm to him and happily go along with his project, other are not so keen and they squirm with embarrassment.

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Drummond, a musician was once part of the band The KLF and in 1991 he was in one of the biggest-selling singles act in the world. In this film we see snippets of what his life for him was like then including the famous incident when The K foundation  (an art duo consisting of  Drummond and Jimmy Cauty), burned one million pounds sterling and filmed it all. The subsequent backlash and publicity surrounding it are shown in the film along with the obvious question being asked to the musician. Do you regret burning all that money? 

The premise and title of the film “Imagine waking up tomorrow and all music had disappeared” is Drummond’s way of questioning our instant access via the Ipod, Iphone etc to music, does this ease of access mean that we don’t stop to listen to the music around us any more? The sound of the street outside, the wind, the music in simple things such as the noise we hear as we change gear in a car or as in Drummond’s case, the gear stick in his trusty Landrover.

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Director Stefan Schwietert follows Drummond as he pursues The 17 across the country, through urban and country landscapes and into Drummond’s own personal space and into his home. We see his possessions, his posters, his books and remnants of his past, from his school reports to a print of  an “epic video the band made”.  The 17 isn’t the only music/ art project Drummond has instigated, he has done others around the world.

This film is a fascinating and interesting insight into an extraordinary character. Whether you think the film fulfils the premise of the title, or whether this film will be just another self promoting publicity stunt for Drummond, you can judge for yourself. At the end of the film Drummond asks those who have watched the film to contribute to his world choir by singing something there and then in the cinema itself. Whether a usually reserved Swiss audience will take up his challenge, will remain to be seen.

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From the Bike Couriers of Lausanne to Mature Gigolos on Cruise Ships – Visions du Réel 2015

With over 160 films to choose from at the Visions du Réel film festival this year, there is a lot on offer with films being screened from around the world. Many of the films are either shown in English or subtitled in English. Alongside the films, there are film workshops and conferences which are open to the public, even the local shopkeepers have got in the act by decorating their windows in the theme of the festival. Directors, producers, journalists, film reviewers, film buyers from TV stations and cinemas descend on the town for eight days of film related events.  Tickets to all films can be booked online or at the box office.

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As in previous years, Living in Nyon will be reporting back from the festival over the next eight days and reviewing a selection of films.

Film reviews – “Cyclique” – A fascinating insight into the bike courier world with a local perspective.

                          “Die Letzen Gigolos – The Last Gigolos” – A touching, funny and poignant film.

“I sometimes feel like I am flying”, reflects Caroline (bike “number 67″), one of the bike couriers in “Cyclique”  a documentary focussing on the world of bike messengers in Lausanne.  In the film we see the couriers shooting red lights, getting shouted at, chasing deadlines, picking up parcels from CFF trains, from local offices, large corporations and deluxe hotels whilst cycling up and down the hilly streets of the city. They struggle to find addresses or pick up points and work both day and night.

This film which concentrates mainly on two long standing couriers, Caroline and Raphaël. The latter, a maverick as shown by his home life, he doesn’t hide his heavy dope smoking from the camera or that he wants a change and wants out from his current situation. Yet the appeal of biking keeps hims on the road. “I love the idea of being on a mission”. Caroline, although she too loves biking, “the feeling of freedom is addictive” is looking for a job that has more long term potential and continues the search for a job in journalism in between making deliveries.  We also follows the training of a new recruit and see him learning the ropes.  The film is superbly shot. The director Frédéric Favre was a courier himself for ten years and from the opening scene, the camera follows the bikers at their level, criss-crossing the city in all conditions, you can hear the wet pavements, the wheels of their bikes, the wind as they whizz to make deliveries and you can an almost feel the cold yourself as the bikers make deliveries in all weathers and return back to base, cold, wet and shivering. As to whether Caroline and Raphaël stay in the job that they have a love/ hate relationship with, you will have to watch the film itself.  A fascinating insight into the bike courier world with a local perspective.

Cyclique is in the Helvetique section of the film festival.

Screenings Tuesday 21st April at 14:00 at the Théâtre de Marens and on Wednesday the 22nd at 16:30 at Grande Salle Colombière. Click here for tickets 

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The two main protoganists in Cyclique, if not exactly at the start of their working lives, they are still young and have a lifetime of experiences ahead of them, whereas the two main male characters in “Die Letzen Gigolos – The Last Gigolos” directed by Stephan Bergmann are men in the third stage of their life. Retired with successful careers behind them, due to various personal circumstances these men have found themselves alone and lonely in their twilight years. However they discover that a new lease of life awaits them as they can be in great demand as hosts on luxury cruise ships, their job being to entertain the ladies on board by dancing with them each night.

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The superb opening sequence of the film shows one of the gentleman laying out a selection of ties for an upcoming cruise. “Light blue tie with pink stripes –  youthful. Beige –  modest and classy. Orange/ Blue – a club tie. Dark blue with green stripes -modest and refined”.  The film itself focusses on two particular  men as we see them doing the rhumba, foxtrot and tango and other dances each night with a selection of different ladies.  Life on board is a daily round of cocktails or wine in the afternoon, on board games, dips in the pool, trips out to various port of call and then dressing for dinner followed by dancing. We also see life below deck,  staff cooking the guests’ meals, ironing laundry, and taking German lessons so they can communicate with the guests.

Not all of the men on board are ship’s hosts, Some are there just for a holiday, but in conversation they reveal their loneliness. The men in particular, miss their careers and status that came with it. “I was a judge for 40 years “says one passenger “and in Germany I  presided over major terrorism processes. When you turn 65, judges have to retire whether they like it or not. On the one hand you have a position that you curse, because you have body guards and such things, on the other hand you enjoy the importance and then one day, it’s  gone”. 

“I was an attorney” says another, “and a good one, now I just whittle away my time going on cruises”.

Yet not everyone on board is melancholy, one guest, a mature lady is much more pragmatic about her situation, she embraces life on board by chatting to everyone, taking part in all the activities, dressing to the nines, dancing and flirting the night away. She catches the eye of one of the hosts and they make a handsome pair whirling and twirling across the dance floor. However, there are strict rules on the comportment of the hosts and above deck at least, flirting is a far as it can go and everything has to be “above board”. What happens below deck and away from the camera’s eye is left to the viewers’ imagination.

This is a touching, funny and poignant film and although perhaps a tad too long, is one definitely worth seeing.

Screenings Tuesday 21st April at 16:15 at the Théâtre de Marens in Nyon and on Wednesday the 22nd at 18:00 at the Théâtre de Grands Champs in Gland. Click here for tickets 

Note there are free navette buses running between Nyon and Gland before and after the screenings. Full details on the festival website.

Win tickets to Visions du Réel and Happy Easter!

There are 10 free tickets on offer for 10 lucky people (one ticket each) to a film of their choice at the upcoming Visions du Réel Film festival in Nyon. The festival starts on the 17th April and continues until the 25th. To be in with a chance of winning tickets, send an email with your full name to info@livinginnyon.com

Closing date Saturday 11th April. Winners will be informed on Sunday 12th April.

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Living in Nyon is now taking a short Easter break and will be back on the 10th April with more news and events that are happening around the Nyon and La Côte area. Happy Easter!