We DON’T HAVE WORDS for how excited we are for the 2020 International Festival of the Arts to start up THIS FRIDAY!
Wanna know what’s made us even more pumped? We got a sneak preview of some of the awesome exhibits that are coming to the festival this year. To our delight, one of those exhibits goes hand in hand with the new Beauty and the Beast Sing-along film that’s opening in the Palais du Cinema. Wait until you see the GORGEOUS France Pavilion exhibit — “Tale as Old as Time: French Storytelling on Stage and Screen!”
The gallery is all-new for 2020 and is intended to showcase “a collection of costumes, music, artwork, and more” while highlighting “French literature in cinema, theater, ballet, and opera.” C’est magnifique! No, really. We LOVED this exhibit!
The exhibit hall holds six different cases with props, costumes, and paraphernalia from eleven classic French stories. Some of the props are Disney, some are not. In fact, many pieces in the exhibit are on loan from various theaters including the Orlando local Winter Garden Theater.
But enough about how the exhibit came to be, let’s take a look at the installation! Right when you enter, you’ll see a sign that introduces the exhibit. We love the ornate storybook graphic, it really reminds us of the classic storybook opening for Disney films! Ultimately, Tale as Old as Time is a celebration of lauded French literature making its transformation from page to stage and screen.
First up, we stopped by the display case dedicated to Sleeping Beauty and Giselle. You’ll notice in all of the cases that the use of storybooks continues! Here, we could read about the history of Sleeping Beauty and the villainous Maleficent! Did you know that Maleficent’s original name in the 1889 Russian Ballet was Carabosse?
This case also talks about Giselle, an enchanting Victor Hugo story (we’ll see a lot of those in this exhibit!) that was adapted into a ballet. AND, the performance is widely considered to be the most difficult ballet of all time! The two dresses in this case are both gorgeously-detailed costumes from a performance of Giselle.
Next, we moved on to the Beauty and the Beast case which holds props and a costume from the live-action remake of the classic Disney film. And, yes! That is the actual traveling outfit that Emma Watson wore in the film! Beauty and the Beast is the perfect addition to this exhibit, especially because we’re standing one room over from the Beauty and the Beast Sing-along. Plus, Belle is one of the most iconically French princesses!
Our favorite parts of this case were the Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip props! Or, should we say costumes 😉? There’s also the beautifully ornate mirror that Belle and Beast use to communicate. Comme c’est romantique!
The next case celebrates perhaps the two most famous French plays of all time — The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. Phantom of the Opera is an enchanting story about a mysterious Opera Ghost and was inspired by the actual collapse of a chandelier at the Opera House in Paris.
Fun fact: You can actually visit the Phantom’s Box #5 at the Opera Garnier in Paris! The case contains an iconic half-mask worn by a performing Phantom and a full Valjean costume from a staging of Les Miserables.
We particularly loved looking at this gorgeous printing of Les Miserables (another Victor Hugo classic) and learning more about the tragic story!
La Boheme and La Traviata were the two stories occupying the next case. La Traviata is the most performed opera of all time and the two costumes in this case come from a production of the tragic love story,
La Boheme is another famous opera, however, most people know it in a different form. This French classic famously inspired the mega-popular musical, Rent. That certainly helps explain the song “La Vie Boheme,” doesn’t it?
You’ll recognize another set of paraphernalia from a live-action Disney flick with the Cinderella and The Three Muskateers case! You can see a concept sketch of Cinderella’s ball gown, her scullery dress, and one of those iconic glass slippers! We can’t say that the shoe looks too comfy but it is definitely gorgeous!
This recent film celebrates the famous 1950 Disney version of the classic French tale, Cendrillon from the 17th Century. Did you know that Cinderella’s slipper used to be a ring in original versions of the tale?
If you’re a fan of heroism and brotherhood, then the rest of this case should interest you with items from The Three Musketeers! Look at that iconic hat and sword!
We can’t help but love the story that inspired “Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers.”
Aaaand finally, the last case is our personal favorite with a celebration of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Cyrano de Bergerac.
Cyrano, of course, is an iconic French tale about a very adventurous man with a very large nose. The story has some similarities to Romeo and Juliet. A famous film adaptation of this story starred Steve Martin as the funny-nosed man himself!
The reason this case is my favorite though is because of the celebration of Hunchback of Notre Dame, one of my favorite stories of all time! This is yet another Victor Hugo story. That’s why the gargoyles in the Disney film are named Victor and Hugo.
This story was recently adapted into an English musical using songs from the Disney film and story elements from the original book. Check out this costume from the production and then go give it a listen!
You can check out this wonderful exhibit at the Palais du Cinema in the France Pavilion (right before you head into that ALL NEW Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along!) after it opens on January 17 .
What do you think of this artsy French exhibit? Let us know in the comments!