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Korea-France Year to kick off in Paris this week

Korea and France will kick off their bilateral cultural event with artists and musicians performing Korea’s royal ritual music Jongmyo Jeryeak at the Chaillot National Theater in Paris on Sept. 18.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports said that the 2015-2016 Korea-France Bilateral Exchange is being organized to commemorate the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two sides next year.

The event will have some 150 cultural programs featuring traditional and contemporary Korean music, visual arts, films and literature to be hosted by renowned artists in France, starting in Paris. 
Performers play instruments during a cultural event at Jongmyo Shrine in Seoul. The ancient Jongmyo Jeryeak ritual music will kick off the Korea-France Year in Paris on Sept. 18. (Yonhap)
Performers play instruments during a cultural event at Jongmyo Shrine in Seoul. The ancient Jongmyo Jeryeak ritual music will kick off the Korea-France Year in Paris on Sept. 18. (Yonhap)

More than 100 people, including 80 musicians and dancers, will perform Jongmyo Jeryeak -- a ritual for the late kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) which was designated UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001.

Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is expected to open the bilateral event in Paris during his official trip to France where he will meet President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

The two-day Jongmyo Jeryeak performance will be attended by French government officials including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin.

Starting this September, the Korean Year in France under the 2015-2016 Bilateral Exchange will take place in various French cities such as Paris, Nantes, Lyon and Nice and will run until August next year. The French Year in Korea will start four months later and will run throughout 2016.

Programs range from performances of Korea’s modern and traditional music such as pansori, jazz and electronic music to exhibitions of Korean artists’ visual artworks, fashion, design and photographs.

Korean artist Lee U-fan will present 100 paintings on the aesthetics of the Joseon Dynasty. Lee Bul will present her latest pieces at the contemporary art museum Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

Over 70 Korean films will also be shown at French theatres, and a retrospective of revered filmmaker Im Kwon-taek will be held at the Cinémathèque Française for about a month. His films including award-winning “Seopyeonje” and “Painted Fire” will be screened.

A festival will be organized to introduce Korean street food and culture in Paris on Sept. 25-27.

“We will use this opportunity to further boost cultural exchanges to another level with the aim of sustaining the relationship,” said Choe Jun-ho, art director of the 2015-2016 Korea-France Bilateral Exchanges organizing committee, in a press statement.

Korea will host the France-Korea Year in the country from January to December next year.

About 60 programs featuring visual arts, musical performances and movies will be prepared for the occasion in Korean cities such as Seoul, Busan, Daejeon and Daegu.

There will be a special program introducing French movies at the Busan Film Festival next year.

The two sides have been preparing the joint cultural event following President Park Geun-hye’s state visit to France in November 2013 when both countries agreed to designate 2015 and 2016 as Korea-France Bilateral Exchange Years.

Last year, the two countries set up organizing committees to plan their respective cultural programs in French and Korean cities.

By Park Hyong-ki (