Guess who else turned 50?

French in Hawaii: Alliance Française Turns Fifty
a new 54-minute documentary by Marc Delorme

Sunday, November 25 | 4 pm – 5 pm | KHON2

Patricia Lee and Masao Tamura - Generations Magazine - October-November 2012

Honorary French Consul Patricia Lee awards Masao Tamura with the medal of the Legion of Honor.

GM: Tell us about Alliance Française.

MD: Well, if you are not familiar with the institution, you could easy mistaken it for a political action committee or something along those lines. But, in fact, Alliance Franç aise is strictly a cultural organization. It was founded in Paris in 1883 by French art and science philanthropists, such as Jules Verne French and Louis Pasteur. The alliance wanted to encourage the propagation of the French language and culture and to foster friendly relations between France and the rest of the world. Now, it has a worldwide network and our Hawai‘i chapter celebrated its 50th year during 2011-2012. The chapter sponsors French classes, conversations groups, and cultural events such as the French Film Festival at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

GM: Why focus on this organization?

MD: First, I wanted to acknowledge a cultural association,which has survived 50 years in the Islands. But, it was also an opportunity to identify a small French-speaking community within Hawai‘i’s rich diversity.

GM: What should we expect to see?

MD: I documented some of the activities of Alliance Franç aise and interviewed six local French-speakers, including the violinist Iggy Jang, Tahitian artis Jeanne Moua Larsen, astronomer Christian Veillet, French-speaking former Miss Hawai‘i Malika Dudley and her mother Kamila, Chef Mavro and Honorary French Consul Patricia Lee.

GM: Do you speak French?

MD: Yes, I am a native French speaker, along with approximately 1,000 Tahitians and 2,000 natives from the French Mainland who live in Hawai‘i.

GM: Any surprises?

MD: For me, I was pleasantly surprised when some of the interviewees really opened up in front of the camera, people like Chef Mavro and Malika Dudley.

That is always very gratifying for a filmmaker. For you, the surprise is that this documentary is 90 percent in French with English subtitles.