Posts tagged with "French"

Hotel created by Alejandra Villagra from 360 Magazine use by 360 Magazine

Hotel Motto Opens in Vienna

MOTTO Group, a Vienna-based lifestyle hospitality brand, announces the opening of Hotel MOTTO in the heart of Vienna on October 2, 2021.

Hotel MOTTO is a stylized study in Renaissance and Baroque architecture with the interiors rendered in Art Deco geometric lines and accented with industrial grit. The 83 rooms and 8 suites showcase fabric-covered walls with floral patterns; custom-designed carpets and tiles are inspired by the framework of the original vintage furniture, and the herringbone hard-wood flooring is seen throughout the property. Every piece of furniture has been tailor-made for the hotel: from the brass door handles to the in-room lighting concepts have been crafted for each individual space. Central to the new property is the restaurant Chez Bernard – Restaurant et Bar, which offers a menu of eclectic dishes, a curated natural wine selection, and an extensive cocktail program.

The open-air rooftop garden and bar provide unobstructed views of the city and the adjacent vineyards while, on the ground floor, the on-property boulangerie and patisserie ‘MOTTO Brot’ invoke memories of both Vienna and Paris with a traditional outdoor terrace the locals call ‘Schanigarten’. The exciting mix of opulence and simple modernity turns every space into a work of art, including the private fitness and sauna rooms as well as the meeting and event spaces with their cozy break-out living rooms that spill into the hotel’s foyer.

“Hotel MOTTO is a locally-rooted visual story. I wanted to combine the traditional Viennese architecture with the glamour of 1920s Paris, but infuse the design with some personal design touches inspired by the Scandinavian comfort and the Japanese ‘WABI SABI’ culture.”, says Bernd Schlacher, owner and creative director of the MOTTO Group. In addition to the popular, ’MOTTO am FLUSS‘ restaurant, a homonymous catering service, and the MOTTO Brot bakery, Mr. Schlacher, originally a restaurateur from Styria wanted to add a unique hospitality concept to his portfolio.

The historic building has housed hotels for over three centuries with the first property, The Golden Cross, opened in 1665. The Golden Cross morphed into Hotel Kummer in 1872 and became a social hub for artists, painters, sculptors, writers, actors, and musicians who gathered for coffee, wine, and Austrian delicacies in the hotel’s public spaces. In 1904 the building was refurbished by Ludwig Schwarz, who preserved the original slanted corners and the oversized columns that frame the lobby and entryway to the hotel. The décor of the upper floors was especially elaborate and the interiors have been partially preserved to this day, even after the allied occupation of post-World War II Vienna when the hotel was taken over by the French from 1945 to 1955.

The architecture is infused with Renaissance and Baroque nods layered with elements of the gothic and byzantine styles: towers and domes as well as the configuration of the façade, originally constructed by the top artisans of the Vienna Artisan Craft movement, are fully preserved and play a pivotal role in the layout of the property. In the realm of classical music history, Hotel MOTTO was the birth home of Josef Strauss, son of the famous composer Johann Strauss, who called the hotel home in 1827. In addition, Hotel Motto’s latest iteration, Hotel Kummer, was the setting of the celebrated John Irving’s novel The Hotel New Hampshire360 Magazine is impressed with the interior design of the new hotel and excited to see how the turnout will be for the hotel.

The on-property restaurant, Chez Bernard – Restaurant et Bar, occupies the top two floors of the hotel and sits under a gargantuan glass dome, a new addition to the original building by Arkan Zeytinoglu Architects. The brilliantly lit restaurant presents diners with a curated menu of modern Austrian dishes with French and North African influences. Chez Bernard is also an organic restaurant rooted in the idea that the ultimately culinary experience must also be a sustainable one using local, seasonal, and organic products; sourcing natural wines from continental Europe; and repurposing the leftover stale bread to brew its own beer.

The interior design of the restaurant is reminiscent of 1920s Paris with artfully arranged botanicals framing the contemporary art collection on display. The luxurious green leather booths are juxtaposed with modern wooden tables to achieve a stylish yet cozy living room atmosphere. The unexpected touch lies in the green oasis on the wrap-around roof terrace that houses a 40-seat bar and additional lounge seatings with a superb view over Vienna’s rooftops.

An overnight stay for a double room starts at $359. Further information is available at www.hotelmotto.at.

illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

Netflix’s Halston Recap

“You are only as good as the people you dress” – Halston.  

To the world, he is better known as Halston: the first American fashion designer who changed fashion forever. The new Netflix limited series Halston tells the story of fashion legend Roy Halston Frowick.

Created by Ryan Murphy and directed by Daniel Minahan, the five-episode series is adapted from the 1991 book Simply Halston: The Untold Story by Steven Gaines. It focuses on the rise and fall of the late designer (played by Ewan McGregor) known for dressing socialites and celebrities–notably Babe Paley, Liza Minnelli, and Jackie O.

With being the designer that brought American fashion onto the grid, many have been interested in Halston’s life. It is not the first time that his glamorous and tortured story has been put in the spotlight (2019 documentary Halston). But Ryan Murphy takes Halston and produces a version of him that does not try to escape his queerness. Some might not agree with this version of him, but Halston definitely shows us that with fame and status, stardom can also be very lonely.

Episode 1: “Becoming Halston”

The opening shot brings us to Halston’s hometown in 1933: a farm in Evansville, Indiana. Quite creative since his early days, Episode 1 shows Halston taking feathers from the chicken coop and making a hat for his mom. By 1961, he is known for designing Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hats. Unfortunately, by 1968 Jackie O stops wearing them, and Halston’s hats become an afterthought.

The intro shows us how quick trends fade, and Halston sets out on his journey to rebrand himself. He tries to take a page from Ralph Lifshitz (now globally known as Ralph Lauren). Halston tries to create an exclusive American couture line for Bergdorf Goodman. However, the fashion world is not interested in his black and white dresses and not a single piece sells.

Unfazed, Halston meets up with illustrator Joe Eula (played by David Pittu), convincing him to join the Halston team. Eula tells Halston, “You want to be Balenciaga. There’s already a Balenciaga. What we need is to figure out your signature.” At the same time, Halston is introduced to Liza Minnelli (Krysta Rodriguez), who compares Halston’s pillbox hats to her famous mother Judy Garland: “You and me are living under the shadow of something, and we’re both trying to do the same thing.” Minnelli becomes Halston’s first muse, shaping her into a friend and collaborator over the course of the series.

Securing funding of $100,000, Halston gathers a small crew to set up shop: Joe Eula, model Elsa Peretti (Rebecca Dayan), and junior partner Joel Schumacher (Rory Culkin). Halston takes Schumacher’s idea of a flowy, dyed fabric and makes dresses out of them. Though the show doesn’t lead to any sales, it gains American socialite Barbara “Babe” Paley’s interest. During the meeting with Paley (Regina Schneider), Halston shows her Ultrasuede synthetic trench coats, claiming “It’s sexy. It’s comfort. It’s freedom.” She takes one in every color.

Episode 2: “Versailles”

The star of this episode is the iconic Battle of Versailles, which pitted French designers against American designers. In the French establishment is Yves Saint LaurentPierre CardinEmanuel UngaroMarc Bohan (Dior), and Hubert de Givenchy. The American establishment is composed of Oscar de la RentaStephen BurrowsBill BlassAnne Klein, and Halston.

Though at first, Halston was not interested in the 1973 fundraiser for the Versailles, which also doubled as a means to get the American fashion name out to the world. Despite every woman in Central Park wearing his Ultrasuede, Halston tells publicist Eleanor Lambert (Kelly Bishop) that he can’t do a fundraiser because he’s broke. Trying to balance art and commerce, Eleanor sets Halston up with David Mahoney who wants to buy Halston’s licensing, proposing mass production. However, Halston initially refuses, saying “you’re only as good as the people you dress.”

Norton Simon sponsors Halston’s team to go to the Versailles show, and Halston convinces Minnelli to tag along and perform for him. With his entourage, they travel to Paris with 24 designs in an attempt to show their worth to the fashion industry. While nothing seemed to be going right at first – the backdrop size is wrong, costumes have not arrived, looks need to be designed – Minnelli forces Halston to pick himself up as his nerves get the better of him. And Halston does, slaying the runway with a 70s purple sequin dress, topped with a feathered hand fan that gets him a standing ovation. Original designs can be seen here.

By the end of the episode, we see a glimpse of Halston wanting protection from his “magical” childhood that was actually lonely and scary. He signs the contract with David, “If I sign that contract, I must never, ever, be left to feel unappreciated, underfunded, unprotected, unsafe. Promise me that, David.” While not everyone agrees with him selling his name, Halston gets new cash flow at the expense of his trademark name, pushing him through to stardom.

Episode 3: “The Sweet Smell of Success”

Focusing on Halston’s first fragrance, the third episode reminds us of Halston’s roots and the scents that created him. In the opening scene, we watch Elsa design a sensual perfume bottle for Halston, though the gravity defying perfume stopper is not sold to Mahoney. In an interesting conversation about phallic symbolisms, Halston is told the stopper is impossible to manufacture.

Arguing that creativity wins commercialism, Halston writes a check for $50,000 to pay for his own manufacturer, unwilling to compromise the exclusivity of the design. To create his scent, we are met with Adele (Vera Farmiga), who forces Halston to dig into his past for scents that evoke emotions. Adele bends Halston to her demands, and we get to see Halston’s inner, broken child more than ever in this episode. They discuss different scents and the memories Halston has connected to them: his fascination with scentless orchids, spring grass, tobacco, and his lover’s jockstrap.

Liza is off getting married and Halston has a breakdown. His lover boy, Victor Hugo (Gian Franco Rodriguez), points out that Halston just wants yes men and loyalty, and not everyone can do that for him. While work-life balance is not something that Halston achieves, his perfume becomes one of America’s best-selling perfumes, achieving $85 million in sales within the first two years. This led Halston to launch a plethora of new products–including suitcases, sunglasses, and carpets.

Despite all his success, we see that Halston does not find much love at Studio 54. In the heartbreaking final scene, we watch Hugo witnessing his lover having sex with another partner. While people are lined up buying products by Halston, he does not seem to have anything for himself.

Episode 4: “The Party’s Over”

Studio 54-era of Halston’s life: This episode shows Halston’s spiral into drugs and partying. The surplus and gluttony in overwhelming success and his cocaine addiction has him dropping the ball on his business, Liza faints on the dancefloor due to her drug habit, and there is a vent death at Studio 54.

Calvin Klein takes reign as top designer, and Halston spends his time cursing his competitor out. David Mahoney believes that jeans could be Halston’s next best creation and proposes the idea to Halston, in which is declined. As he loses his self-control, Halston designs have stopped selling at a growing rate. On the other hand, Elsa starts to be successful at Tiffany’s as a jewelry designer. Halston’s ego takes a problem with this, as he thinks he is the only one with talent and that Elsa should be thankful for him and give him credit. Belittling everyone around him due to jealousy, Halston pushes everyone away, left with nothing but his own name.

Halston’s mother dies unexpectedly, and this changes his mind about designing jeans when he sees a Calvin Klein commercial (starring Brooke Shields, originally from the 1980s). His ego takes a beating when David tells him he is “six months too late,” and Halston is no longer setting the fashion trends.

Things don’t look up for Halston either, as Mahoney tries to take Norton private and fails, resulting in a change of management. The AIDS pandemic is seen through the lens of Victor who tests positive for HIV, and Liza checks into rehab. Unsurprisingly, Halston is left in isolation by the end of it. With no other choice, he becomes the inhouse designer for JCPenney for some petty cash, and we no longer see the Halston that believed in exclusivity and creative control.

Episode 5: “Critics”

With designing how JCPenney, Halston is no longer having any fun. With pushing everyone around him away, he is only left with his assistant by his side and that is only because she is “getting paid to do so.” Halston begins showing up to the office at dinner, pushing off his deadlines, all while snorting large amounts of cocaine.

The company replaces Halston with designer John David Ridge (Jack Mikesell), the first person that lets Halston know he is an embarrassment, “How dare you be so irresponsible with the empire you spent your whole life working for?”

After being diagnosed with HIV and forced to retire, Halston’s life is put into perspective, and he really thinks about what he wants out of this life. Perhaps afraid that he might die without a final design to call his own, he seeks out his friend Martha Graham, and designs a spandex collection for her show. The reviews for this design gives Halston the acceptance that he was searching for the entire life and he finally admits that “Halston” was not just him, it was his entire team.

The series ends with Halston leaving to the West Coast and spending the rest of his days along the Pacific Ocean, mixed with tearful snippets of him watching Graham’s Persephone.

“We’re given one name… just one. And that’s all we have when we’re on the earth. And that’s all we leave behind us when we’re gone. I wasn’t precious enough with mine.” – Halston to Joe Eula, Halston Episode 5.

While five episodes is not enough to talk about Halston’s magnificent life, we get to see the grandeur of Halston’s reign in Ryan Murphy’s rendition. Captivating and intoxication, we see his friendships and intimate scenes unfolding in the series. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, you cannot deny the legacy that is Halston.

“Halston” premiered May 14 on Netflix.

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Beau-Rivage Palace Celebrates 160th Anniversary

The Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel marks its 160th anniversary with a gender revolution.

When Lausanne’s iconic Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel opened its doors on the shores of Lake Geneva in 1861, it was financed by men, managed by men, promoted by men, and staffed almost entirely by men. Women were engaged to make beds and wash dishes. 

What a difference 160 years make. In 2021, the Beau-Rivage Palace’s general manager, its resident celebrity chef, and its chief concierge are all women. And today, it is largely men who clean the hotel’s guest rooms, schlepp the luggage and park the cars.

MAKING HISTORY

The site of many milestone moments in history, it was the Beau-Rivage Palace’s Jacques Tschumi who, in 1893, opened the Lausanne Hotel School in order to train his hotel staff. Now, 128 years later, the École Hôtelière de Lausanne continues to be regarded as the best hospitality school in the world, and many of its students still undergo on-the-job training at the Beau-Rivage Palace. The hotel’s Cinq Mondes spa was totally refurbished in 2020, ready to underscore the hotel’s growing devotion to wellness.

Host to celebrities from Charlie Chaplin and Coco Chanel to Matt Dillon and Christopher Walken, not to mention Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and U.S. presidents, the hotel was and is host to world-changing events as well. Highlights of its history include:

  • 1912 – Signing of the First Treaty of Lausanne (or Treaty of Ouchy) at the Beau-Rivage Palace, ending the Italian-Turkish War
  • 1923 – Hosting of the conference of the Treaty of Lausanne that draws the borders of present-day Turkey
  • 1945 – Coco Chanel lived at the Beau-Rivage Palace from 1945 to 1954 and is buried in Lausanne
  • 1968 – Albert Cohen publishes his novel Belle du Seigneur, inspired by the romantic atmosphere of the Beau-Rivage Palace
  • 2009 – Anne-Sophie Pic, the world’s most celebrated female chef, opens her eponymous restaurant at the Beau-Rivage Palace. In October, Michelin awards the restaurant two coveted stars 
  • 2015 – Nathalie Seiler-Hayez appointed general manager of the Beau-Rivage Palace
  • 2015 – The months’-long negotiations at the Beau-Rivage Palace conclude with the Iran Nuclear Treaty. 

IT’S ALL ABOUT 2021

The celebratory year will feature an array of special events and offerings focusing on wellness and healthy living, including:

On August 27, the now traditional Anne-Sophie Pic Market will offer the opportunity to discover local delights produced by the chef’s partners. A special highlight will be the signing of Michael Berthoud’s book on wild harvesting – Anne-Sophie Pic wrote the preface in homage to their friendship. An “eat and be fit” section will also be presented in collaboration with Jérémy Peltier to respond to the growing demand for health preservation through food, a subject dear to Anne-Sophie Pic’s heart. 

From September 1, the Absolute Infusion Menu will be featured at the Beau-Rivage Palace’s Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant. An exclusive alcohol-free food and drink pairing offers an unprecedented new culinary experience.  

Finally, on November 24th, Anne-Sophie Pic and team will present “1861,” an extraordinary three-course gala menu reinterpreting the dishes served at the Beau-Rivage Palace’s very first dinner, 160 years ago.

ABOUT THE BEAU-RIVAGE PALACE

The Beau-Rivage Palace is situated on ten acres of private gardens, adjacent to Lake Geneva with spectacular views of the Swiss Alps. The property’s two Michelin starred restaurant, Anne-Sophie Pic at the Beau-Rivage Palace, features France’s only female chef with three Michelin stars. Other amenities include two bars and terraces, two tennis courts and a special program for children.

photo by Lillet for use by 360 Magazine

Lillet By The Waterfront

By: Kai Yeo

French, smooth, and loved by James Bond – meet Lillet, our new favorite bottle for the summer. Last night, we got to sit down with Lillet for an intimate dinner event at The Waterfront in Venice Beach, serving delicious food options paired with handcrafted Lillet cocktails perfect for the season.

As soon as we got seated, oysters were ready with the Lillet Spritz, a wonderful Rosé blended with The Waterfront’s house soda water topped with a fresh orange slice. The Lillet Rose is a clear, salmon pink rose that has a light aroma of berries, orange blossom, and grapefruit. The fruity sweetness of Lillet mixed with the bitterness of tonic water makes it an ideal pre-dinner drink, best served fresh.

While waiting for more dishes to be prepared, guests at the table got to make conversation and get to know one another better over our glass of Spritz. Brand ambassador and host of the evening, Lauren Trickett, also gave us an expert rundown of the wines we were having and a little background information on Lillet as we were getting settled. For the unfamiliar, Lillet is a French aromatized aperitif wine made with a blend of Bordeaux grapes and fortified with a blend of citrus liqueurs. There are three varieties to choose from: Lillet Blanc (a white wine made with Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes), Lillet Rosé (a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sémillon grapes) and Lillet Rouge (a red wine with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon).

Known for its’ layered and lively notes of fruit and florals, we got to pair the Lillet Blanc with our Entrée for the evening (a medium rare Steak and fries for our table). Honeyed, floral with jasmine, candied orange with lemon and fresh mint aromas, our cocktail had a lovely, long aftertaste with evergreen notes. Lillet says, “The golden madame is the oldest aperitif of the range. Ready at your service, long aromas that will last to the end of your journey!”

Everything that was brought out to us was a delight, but the star of the evening was without a doubt the Lillet Froze that was served for dessert. On the menu, a “thirst quenching frozen classic” blending watermelon and Lillet Rosé with coconut water, lime, and lavender. Bubbly goodness made even fresher! Looks are deceiving because I remember gasping after taking the first sip.

With scrumptious food options and even better cocktail options, our evening with Lillet and The Waterfront was wonderful. It is safe to say Lillet will be all we’re drinking for the rest of the summer.

Menu Highlights: Summer Corn Agnolotti (a personal favorite), Rotisserie Chicken (the guests next to us ordered this… and we traded them for our steak.)

Drink Highlights: Froze (don’t miss out – this drink is perfect for the summer!)

LILLET SPRITZ

  • 5 oz Lillet Blanc or Lillet Rosé
  • 5 (or your favorite sparkling water)
  • Fresh orange slice

Preparation: In a wine glass, combine equal parts Lillet and club soda over ice and finish with a fresh orange slice.

NOMAD SPRITZ 

  • 2 oz Lillet Rosé
  • 2 oz soda water
  • 2 oz sparkling Rosé wine
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • Fresh citrus garnish

Preparation: Combine over ice in wine glass and garnish with fresh lime or orange.

LILLET FROSÉ 

  • 3 oz Lillet Rosé
  • 3 oz fresh lemonade
  • Fresh lemon wheel

Preparation: Add all ingredients to blender with ice and blend to desired consistency. Garnish with lemon wheel

More Lillet cocktail recipes can be found on their official website. Bon Appetit!

photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

photo by Kai Yeo for use by 360 Magazine

photo by Lillet USA for use by 360 Magazine

Chateau de Benac via Eric Sander for Geoffrey Weill for use by 360 Magazine

French Affaires Offering New Fall 2021 Programs

French Affaires, a specialty trip planning company promoting French travel and culture, is hosting several one-of-a-kind journeys to southwest France this fall and beyond. Regarded as one of the country’s best kept secrets, the region offers a taste of France at its most authentic, boasting cliffside villages, majestic fortress castles, bucolic countryside, ancient cave paintings and excellent food and wine.  

Following France’s reopening to international travelers in the summer of 2021, French Affaires will host two trips to southwest France this fall, taking advantage of the region’s postcard-perfect autumn weather. The first trip, Southwest France Photography Tour, is a week-long photography immersion from September 30 through October 7, 2021, featuring celebrated French photographer Eric Sander. He will lead the small group through the landscapes, gardens, and architecture of his home territory, the Périgord region, offering photography instruction and coaching sessions along the way. The group will stay at Le Vieux Logis, a historic Relais & Chateaux property in the heart of the quaint village of Trémolat.

The second trip, Fall in Southwest France (October 6-15, 2021), will be a tour through the charming towns of Sarlat, Beynac, Trémolat, Rocamadour, St. Emilion and the city of Bordeaux. The itinerary includes vineyard visits and tastings; outdoor markets; visits to chateaux led by their owners; tours of renowned gardens with experts; and special viewings of prehistoric cave art with a local archeologist.

Beyond southwest France, French Affaires is planning trips to Normandy, Burgundy and Lyon this fall, as well as a trip to Paris over the holidays. 2022 tours will include Corsica, the Basque country, the Loire Valley and Brittany. Especially remarkable will be the Provence trip (May 6-21, 2022), which offers guests a chance to experience life as a local with language classes at the local institute and stays in apartments.

About French Affaires

Founded by Elizabeth New Seitz, a PhD and former university French professor, French Affaires offers highly curated trips to France that celebrate French culture, language, and “l’art de vivre.” These small group journeys, led by Elizabeth Seitz herself, offer travelers authentic and perfectly cadenced experiences throughout the country, including expert-guided wine tastings in Bordeaux, eating through Corsica, photographing in southwest France, and antique shopping in Provence. To keep the spirit of France alive while at home, French Affaires also offers both virtual and in-person experiences, including French language courses, wine tastings, cooking classes, history lessons, guest speakers and even shopping tips.

Orava featured inside of 360 Magazine

French Multi-Instrumentalist Orava Releases His Stunning Debut Album, ‘Behind The Wave’

Orava – the French-born, London-based multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer – has just released a stunning debut album, ‘Behind The Wave.’ A graduate of the Musician Institute of London, Orava draws inspiration from French touch, classic electronic, DnB, and traditional rock, blending analog with digital, homemade recordings with elaborate production, and vintage instruments with synthetic textures.

We last heard from Orava upon the release of his captivating music video for “Going Backwards,” which was shot on a beach in southwest France. Opening with an ambient grand-piano and melancholic vocal melody, “Going Backwards” deals with the impact of time on people’s personal growth and “the wish to go back in time to make better choices,” Orava explains. The reverse sequence music video features a mysterious figure emerging from the ocean and slowly walking backwards to the top of a dune, and the powerful connection between the video and the song offers viewers a shortcut in understanding the deeper meaning behind Orava’s lyrics.

Born Axel Gerard and crafting his music between England and his native France since 2018, Orava is named after a stream in north-western Slovakia that roughly translates as “roaring river.” Inspired by artists like Daft Punk, Phoenix, and Depeche Mode, Orava’s compositions tackle the common hopes, doubts and fears of his generation, drawing mostly from his own experiences. Written, composed and produced entirely by the artist, “Going Backwards” follows the release of his previous singles “Behind The Wave,” “The Rest is Noise,” and “Now I Know.” 

Check out ‘Behind The Wave’ wherever you get your music, and be sure to keep an eye on this promising new artist. We’re sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Orava over the next few years.
 
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Netflix article about Idris Elba illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE.

Netflix – The Take

By Cassandra Yany

Netflix has fixed a technical issue that left many viewers confused while watching one of the streaming service’s latest releases. 

The 2016 film The Take starring Idris Elba was added to Netflix’s library Wednesday. The partly-French film had a bug with the subtitles where only the English lines were captioned and the French lines remained untranslated.

Subscribers quickly took to Twitter to alert Netflix of the issue. One user wrote, “Okay just finished The Take on Netflix and I’m very confused as to why the English subtitles were not included. Half the movie was in French.” Another said, “You can’t watch The Take on @Netflix unless you are past Level 5 French on Rosetta Stone.”

Despite this issue, the film currently holds the no. 3 spot in the Netflix ‘Top 10,’ sitting higher than the streaming service’s most recent original film The Devil All The Time. Netflix resolved the problem as of Monday afternoon and the movie now includes translations of the scenes in French.

The film— known internationally as Bastille Day, according to Essence— stars Idris Elba and “Game of Thrones’” Richard Madden. Forbes reports that the film was set to be released in Europe in early 2016, but was pushed back later in the year due to the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. It was pulled out of theaters days after its July release due to the truck attack in Nice.

The film was not popular in the U.S., as it was only shown in 100 theaters nationwide. It earned just over $50,000 from its release in the states. 

According to television and film news outlet Looper, the action film is about a pickpocket (Richard Madden) who steals a woman’s bag that contains a bomb, intended to go off in an empty building. He disposes of it and the explosion kills four people. He is then taken into custody by a CIA agent (Idris Elba), who quickly realizes that Madden’s character did not mean to take part in the attack. They learn that it was part of a plan by a group of corrupt police officers to rob the French National Bank. The two team up to clear the pickpocket’s name and stop the officers.

Despite the criticism over incorrect subtitling, it seems that the movie is finally getting the attention that it missed during its original release in 2016.

Netflix – Cuties

By Cassandra Yany

One of Netflix’s newest films, Cuties, has garnered much attention and backlash since its Sep. 9 release on the streaming platform. The coming-of-age film depicts a young girl as she tries to navigate her life as a pre-teen growing up in a Muslim family living in Paris.

Many critics have spoken out against the film, which currently holds the no. 7 spot in Netflix’s ‘Top 10,’ for its depiction of 11-year-old girls dancing and behaving in an indecent manner. According to the New York Times, the movie was first deemed controversial in the U.S. in August when Netflix released the promotional artwork. The original marketing for the film displayed an image of four young girls in skimpy dance costumes posing provocatively.

This, along with the trailer, prompted opposers to start petitions online and call for the removal of the film from Netflix’s catalog. Netflix apologized and changed the artwork for the film to a more innocent photo of the same four characters walking down the street with shopping bags, donning bras and underwear over their clothes.

Last week’s release of the film has sparked conversation once again amongst parents, politicians and others, causing #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter. Lina Nealon, the Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has spoken out against the film saying “While we commend Director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.” She called for Netflix to cut the “sexually-exploitive” scenes from the film, or remove the film from the platform altogether.

On Friday, Hawaii Rep. Tulse Gabbard tweeted, “@Netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children… Netflix you are now complicit.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz penned a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr Friday calling for the Department of Justice to start an investigation into the production and distribution of the film to “determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved in the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

Cruz wrote that “the film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial nudity” falsely claiming that there’s a scene exposing a “minor’s bare breast.” The Associated Press reported that one of Cruz’s representatives, Lauren Aronson, said that the senator has not seen the film.

According to the Washington Times, some critics are even calling on the Obama’s— who have a production deal with Netflix— to take action against the film. Deadline stated that “The reality appears to have been lost in the storm, and the truth is very few of the people reacting so strongly will have actually seen the film.”

Netflix told USA TODAY “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up— and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Director Maïmouna Doucouré defends the film, saying that it works to shed light on these issues so they can be fixed. Cuties first premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, where it won the Directing Jury Award for the dramatic film category. According to the New York Times, the movie did not stir up much conversation in France after its theatrical release (as Mignnonnes in French) in August.

Deadline reports that Doucouré did not see the promotional material prior to when it was circulated on the internet. She said that she received death threats as the outrage grew over these images. She told the news site that the film is not apologetic about the hypersexualization of children, but instead is her “…personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home.”

Cuties was Doucouré’s feature directorial debut. Similar to the film’s main character, Amy, Doucouré is of Senegalese descent and grew up in a Muslim culture in Paris. In an interview at Sundance, she said she first had the idea for the movie after attending a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-old girls doing a stage performance of a “sensual” dance. She was shocked to see girls that age dance like that in short clothing. “We can’t continue to close our eyes about that,” she told the interviewer.

Doucouré researched for a year and a half, meeting with hundreds of pre-teens who told her their stories. She learned about their ideas of femininity, and how their self image is affected by the emphasis of social media in today’s society. According to IndieWire, the young actresses’ parents were on board with the project to spread awareness of the issue, and there was a psychologist working with the girls throughout filming who is still helping them throughout the release process.

The film is centered around Amy, an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a housing development in a poor suburb of Paris with her Senegalese, observant Muslim family. She looks out for her brothers, takes care of responsibilities around the house, and is in the process of being taught how to ‘be a woman’ by  her aunt.

One day after prayer, Amy walks by the laundry room and sees a girl her age dancing to music playing from her phone. In a subsequent scene, Amy is seen trying to straighten her hair with a clothing iron, burning part of it off as a result. 

Amy learns that her father, who is still in Senegal, has taken a second wife and will be coming to Paris soon to have the wedding. Her mother, Mariam, tries to hide her reaction to the news, but Amy sees her grow upset and take her frustrations out on herself. This is where Amy’s behavior begins to shift; she starts to reject her culture and identity, and instead tries to conform to fit in with the other girls at school. 

At school, Amy is teased for her clothes and lack of fashion sense, so she begins to wear her younger brother’s t-shirt to match the crop tops that her classmates wear. After seeing a group of girls her age dancing after school, Amy steals her cousin’s iPhone to learn how to dance, herself. She comes across their social media accounts and begins taking selfies, imitating what she sees on their profiles. 

Amy finds herself a spot in the girls’ friend group and dance troupe, and as a result, begins to neglect her responsibilities at home. Amy starts to show more self expression, wearing her hair natural rather than pulling it back. She also begins to explore the internet more, finding videos of almost-naked women dancing rather suggestively and moving their bodies in ways that an 11-year-old probably shouldn’t be watching. 

Taking what she found online, Amy practices dancing with her friends and teaches them how to twerk. This is where the movie begins to make viewers slightly uneasy. It was jarring to see these young, innocent girls tainted by this inappropriate content and doing dance moves that they didn’t understand the implications of. It appears that this was the intention of director Doucouré, as she stated in an interview with Netflix that the film is “…a mirror of today’s society; a mirror sometimes difficult to look into and accept but still so true.”

Some of the scenes, frankly, are very disturbing to watch. These include the girls dancing provocatively for two older male workers at a laser tag facility so that they wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking in, as well as Amy beginning to undress for her cousin once he found she had stolen his iPhone in an attempt to smooth over the situation. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when Amy takes a picture of her genitals to post on her social media profile so that people at school would think she’s mature. While there was no nudity shown in this scene, the implied action was horrifying to watch. 

At the end of the film, Amy performs with her dance troupe at a local competition. Dressed in revealing outfits, they dance immodestly in front of a crowd of people who quickly seem unsettled. (This is the scene from which the original promotional photos were taken.) Toward the end of the song, Amy freezes as she begins to think about her mom, then runs off the stage crying. She goes home where she asks her mom not to attend her father’s wedding. Her mom continues to get ready for the event, but tells Amy that she doesn’t have to go.

Instead of going to the wedding, Amy steps outside and begins jumping rope. This scene depicts a mixture of her two identities: she is wearing jeans and a crop top with her hair down, but is surrounded by people of her culture dressed in traditional garments. After suppressing her family’s background for a majority of the movie, Amy is finally able to find the balance where her multiple cultures intersect in order to be her honest self. 

After watching Cuties, it is evident that it is not meant to promote this behavior among young girls, but instead provide commentary on what is happening today and warn the adults who see the movie. The harsh reality is that more pre-adolescents are exposed to this type of content than we think. Any child who has access to a smart device and social platforms have the potential to see a video not meant for them. Take TikTok for example: racy dances to Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as a recent trend where women make “thirst traps” to Beyoncé’s “Rocket” are some of the most popular videos on the app right now. Young TikTok users can easily see creators on their For You Page enjoying themselves while engaging in these trends, causing the young viewer to want to do the same.

When speaking to Deadline, Doucouré said, “What happens is young girls see images of women being objectified, and the more the woman becomes an object, the more followers and like she has— they see that as a role model and try to imitate these women, but they’re not old enough to know what they’re doing.” In a separate interview, she posed the question, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

Overall, Cuties shows the dangers of uncensored media for young children and displays how impressionable they can be. It also shows the journey of Amy’s self-discovery and learning how to blend her multiple cultures in order to shape her identity. Unfortunately, the risqué nature of the film overshadows the storyline and the message is lost for a number of audience members.

In various articles, Doucouré is quoted discussing the meaning of the film in the broad context of femininity and what it means for young girls to enter womanhood in this digital age. During her aforementioned interview with Netflix, she stated “The real question of Cuties is can we, as women, truly choose who we want to be, beyond the role models that are imposed upon us by society?”

Bastille Day Cocktail illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

D’USSE Bastille Basil

As you may know, the bold, yet remarkably smooth character of D’USSE Cognac was conceived at the prestigious Château de Cognac – a 200-year-old venue and one of the oldest Cognac houses in France. Thus, making it an opportune time to explore an exclusive cocktail from the brand to celebrate Bastille Day! 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Parts D’USSE
  • 1 1/2 Parts French Rosé Wine
  • 3/4 Part Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Part Simple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 Part Sparkling Water

Garnish

  • ​4 Basil Leaves
  • 1 Lemon Wheel

Method

Add D’USSE, Rosé, lemon, simple syrup and basil leaves into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a sprig of fresh basil.

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wine, 360 MAGAZINE

Bastille Day Gourmet Tasting Kit

With Bastille Day just around the corner, Francophiles are getting ready to celebrate Le Quatorze Juillet in true Parisienne style. To help you join in on France’s most festive fête from the comfort of your home, beloved French liqueur brand St-Germain and NYC-based Gastronome Catering have teamed up to design an exclusive gourmet tasting kit, Menu du Quatorze Juillet, scheduled to launch on July 14 (details below).

While New Yorkers have started slowly venturing out since the Phase 2 reopening last month, the vast majority have realized the truth of the matter – apartment dining will not be going away any time soon. But preparing a meal for two doesn’t have to be a laborious chore. In fact, quite the opposite. The deluxe Bastille Day tasting kit – created by St-Germain and Gastronome whose high-profile clientele includes Fendi, Alice & Olivia, One King’s Lane, Tribeca Film Festival and Mark Cross to name a few – offers a 4-star tasting experience in the comfort of our homes.

Available for purchase through August 14, the kit will be equipped with everything you need to enjoy an elevated evening – including a Drizly code for the ingredients to make a St-Germain Spritz cocktail, paired with a Parisian-inspired tasting menu from award-winning chef Alex Ureña (bio below). This collaboration is an extension of the St-Germain Moment du Jour social initiative that aims to inspire creativity, elevate daily rituals and design special moments in people’s daily lives at this time.

ABOUT ST-GERMAIN MOMENT DU JOUR

In collaboration with a collective of lifestyle experts and local bartenders from around the country, The St-Germain Moment Du Jour platform offers a series of lifestyle tips — spanning culture, gastronomy, style, and home décor — and cocktail pairings to help inspire creativity and design special moments in our daily lives. The program brings together local artisans and bartenders, who have been impacted in these challenging times, to share weekly tips on the St-Germain Instagram.