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Black Tie International:
France Honors Mahen Bonetti, Norman Manea and Jackie Raynal


France Honors Mahen Bonetti, Norman Manea, and Jackie Raynal

Bonetti, Manea and Raynal Awarded Order of Arts and Letters


Jackie Raynal, Norman Manea and Mahen Bonetti, having received France's Order of Arts and Letters at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy on April 12

Jackie Raynal, Norman Manea and Mahen Bonetti, having received France's Order of Arts and Letters at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy on April 12.

Photo by: Amaury Laporte

New York - On Monday, April 12, Kareen Rispal, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy,  confered upon Mahen Bonetti, Norman Manea, and Jackie Raynal the Order of Arts and Letters. Mahen Bonetti is the founder and executive director of African Film Festival (AFF), a non-profit arts organization founded in 1990 to showcase the works of African filmmakers in the United States. Every year, AFF collaborates with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and BAMcinématek to produce the annual New York African Film Festival (which is being held from April 7 to May 31 this year); the organization also curates other film programs with U.S. and foreign partners. Born in Sierra Leone, Bonetti has lived in the United States for the past 30 years; through the AFF she hopes to harness the power of film to provide a forum for the African voice in the U.S.

Norman Manea
's works have been translated into 20 languages, and his short fiction and essays have appeared in periodicals and collections throughout the world, including Les Temps Modernes and Le Monde in France, as well as The New Republic, The New Yorker, and the Paris Review in America.

Born in Romania in 1936 in a Jewish family, he survived the Transnistria concentration camp only to flee communist persecution in the late eighties, seeking refuge in America in 1988. Originally trained as an engineer, he began writing in 1974 and never looked back. American novelist Philip Roth talks of �his bookish thoughtfulness, his intellectual subtlety and his affection for complexity, his quiet wit. He is currently the Francis Flournoy Professor in European Studies and Culture and Writer in Residence at Bard College.

Jackie Raynal
is an accomplished film editor and director, and was the film curator at the now legendary Bleecker Street and Carnegie Hall cinemas from 1975 to 1992.
Originally from Montpellier, France, she studied at the Sorbonne and became an assistant editor for films such as Jean Renoir�s The Elusive Corporal. She went on to edit several films, including many by Eric Rohmer (La Boulangère de Monceau,
La Carrière de Suzanne
, Nadja à Paris and La Collectionneuse). She made her directorial debut in 1965, with two prize-winning films that particularly stand out:
Deux Fois (1969) and New York Story (1981). She is currently working on Gougnette, an homage to her parents who fought in the French resistance during World War II.

The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) was created in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as individuals who have contributed to the recognition of French culture in the world. The Order is given out twice annually to only a few hundred people worldwide. Among the Americans who have received this award are Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and
Uma Thurman.




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