Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the ceremony of the remisedes insignes of Commander in the National Order of Merit in Brigitte Engerer, of Knight in the National Order of Merit in EnkiBilal, from Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters to ChristopheFerré, and José Lévy

Dear Brigitte Engerer,
It is a great pleasure to meet you again a few months after the launch
of the year Liszt for which you had interpreted Song of Love,
captivating by the richness of your game the entire audience.

The piano, for you, is a matter of «body and soul», like
Claude Rawlings in the beautiful novel by Frank Conroy. Living the
music in full body is to live a life transfigured by a gift,
full of friendships and loves, trips that will lead you as well
at Carnegie Hall that in these «islands called Liszt, Brahms...» -
in your own words. It’s also this pantagruélique appetite for music
and emotions, so that the power of dreams will open the gates of heaven.

Born in Tunisia with Italian and Yugoslav origins, is a
double French and Russian school, it is a Slavic tropism, with Tchaikovsky,
Rachmaninov and Chopin, who will have forged a rare sensitivity
to tell, in music, the human race in all its dimensions.

Music, from your aunt’s piano-toy in Tunis to the halls of
concert from all over the world, you practice it from an early age. But it
you had to go on an adventure in Russia and meet the master
Stanislav Neuhaus, son of Heinrich Neuhaus, at the Moscow Conservatory,
to understand that you really love her.

Winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition, you
are spotted by Karajan who invites you to play with the Orchestra
Philarmonic of Berlin then to join the celebrations of the centenary of
the orchestra.

Great performer of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto n°1, Concerto en la
Schumann miner under the direction of Emmanuel Krivine, we you
must also, among others, the integral of Chopin’s Nocturnes, the
Brahms' German Requiem with the Accentus and Boris Choir
Berezovsky, or the Stabat Mater of Dvorak. I know that you put
time to enjoy playing for a microphone without direct communication
with the public. The maturity, power and delicacy engraved in these
recordings leaves us a lasting testimony of your genius

When you are touring the world, in a life of asceticism
punctuated by coffee, tobacco and rehearsals, you jump on the beast
with a hollow stomach, «hungry for music», to communicate
Instant magic, giving flesh to your dreams, in a decanted game,
free from the obstacles of matter, carried by the inner journey.

This body which, despite its wickedness, has not prevented you from
work on the disc L'Invitation au voyage and create the festival in 2006
«Pianoscope». The day after your operation, the corridors of
the Curie Institute echoed chords of a piano that you had succeeded in
unearth. Every day your accomplice and cellist friend Henri
Demarquette joined you there to work on the Invitation to travel. I do not
know whether these facts are true or whether they are
perfumes that surround these living myths that are the greatest
soloists: the important thing for all those who love you is that they
say something about your love of life and music.

«Pianoscope»: You designed this festival in your own image, open and
generous. For almost five years, Beauvais has been offering
to the public, young musicians and composers, dialogues of
cultures, schools, forms, genres, musical languages around the
keyboard king and his multiple universes, in the hands of great performers
as Nicholas Angelich, Boris Berezovsky, Anne Queffelec, Michel
Béroff or Omar Sosa and Jacques Taddei.

In your concern to transmit, beyond the courses to the Conservatory and
of the many master classes you offer, you play for
audiences who do not always have access to music. I am thinking of particular
that you gave to the Chapelle-Saint-Louis de la Pitié-
Salpêtrière as part of the concerts organized by the Carla-
Bruni Sarkozy and Radio France in favour of ignored and neglected audiences.

Dear Brigitte Engerer, with you, one of the greatest names in piano
happily joined the generosity and grace. On behalf of the President of the
Republic, we make you Commander in the national order of

Dear Enki Bilal,
Your name is one of the greatest stars of the ninth art
French. It is also the son of Tito’s tailor, who went to Paris in
“business trip” to prepare for your family’s exile in France. Born
a father from Herzegovina and a Czech mother whom you admire very early
your childhood in La Garenne-Colombes will remain marked by the
memory of a lost sun, of a Yugoslavia that no longer exists, of its
collective illusions and a certain happiness of living. A marked childhood
also by the click for the French language, before starting later a
School of Fine Arts, which you leave to do your
first steps to Pilote, where Goscinny and Charlier welcome you. After La
Cruise of the forgotten, your first album, follows The Cursed Bowl, where we
can read the influence of Lovecraft, then the meeting with Pierre Christin, who
marks the beginning of a more than fruitful collaboration, before
the 1980 turn of La Foire aux immortaltels, also published in Pilote, then
of La Femme piège in 1986, which became classics.

At the same time, you are also consolidating the creation of an imaginary
very singular - and recognizable among all - by your activity as an illustrator
from Jules Verne to Dan Franck, Conan Doyle and
Ray Bradbury.

The world of Bilal, they are the cloaks of the dead - the skins of prisoners,
or patched uniforms of the Red Army, as in Hunting Party.

And then women with blue hair, absolute and inhuman vamps,
like after an internment never really
left in suspense. Opposite, Nikopol with broken mouths,
athletic and already tired of existing, mutilated by steel, that of weapons,
that of trains. Prostheses too, which pull towards a Science fiction
biotech, somewhere between titistic suburbs and techno futurism, at
crossing of Ridley Scott and cyberpunk, which also reminds
Masamune Shirow from Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell. The world of
Bilal, they are sick men, too, men of stone who
crumbling, worn-out physics, guinea pigs, mutants, bodies
inhabited by bulky and powerful hosts, manipulated by
mysterious corporations or organ replacement companies –
blood, tubes, connections, intravenous. Hair
red or blue for future Grace Jones, three-day beards
for Nikopol service: at Bilal, the heroes are tired.

In this very creative generation of illustrators and screenwriters
1970s and 1980s, there are often political or
scientists painted under lines sometimes clear, sometimes
By contrast, there is an aesthetic of the dirty, of the
dust, dirty and polluted snow of a Moscow under
Equator, sand winds from climate change
irreversible, tracks that lead nowhere, studios of
production without films. These are the old images of our future
possible, such as traces that are already outdated, that
return to the surface of the bubbles. There are also Egyptian gods,
who control your dystopias and contemplate the inconsequency of humans
of their suspended pyramid. Universes also populated by cats,
black panthers and other transforming felines and telepaths, which hide
reincarnations in ravaged, dilapidated cities, where we recognize
the features of Paris divided by a wall of Berlin, New York with taxis
that circulate in the air, from a post-ottoman Belgrade where
love in tagged red star bulbs, which collapse.

Bilal’s policy is all the malignant forms of biopouvoir, the
totalitarian police control, syringes and manipulations, the
terrorism, transfigured in a world of secret clubs and dictatorships
where we find, pushed to the climax, often to the burlesque, this
that the conflicts of the past century have left us. With Le Sommeil du
Monster, first album of a tetralogy where everything begins in a
Sarajevo under the bombs, the Yugoslav civil war joins Francis
Bacon, in boxes that are as many selected shots of a film, drawn
in large format.

Because the teenager inspired by the Pasolini of Pigsty and the Kubrick of
2001, Odyssey of Space will never cease to multiply the round trips
between cinema and comics, to search, voice-over, Blade
Runner in forgotten Belgrade. It is not surprising that you
be caught up in the temptation of film creation, and
now also by the theatre, with the complicity of Evelyne Bouix
Théâtre du Rond-Point. For the cinema, Alain Resnais will have you
stretched the pole. With Bunker Palace Hotel, co-written with Christin and shot
in Belgrade in 1988, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Carole Bouquet, Jean-Pierre
Léaud, Maria Schneider, the greatest are here – Michel
Piccoli also appeared in Tykho Moon in 1996 as dictator MacBee.

With Immortal in 2004, you open your universe to virtual and 3D.

With Cinemonster, it is the sound tracks of Goran Vejvoda
occupy the foreground, and you have since launched, with Animal’s,
in the animated film. But at the time of the graphics tablets and
green costumes for shooting special effects, it’s acrylic and
pastel still reigning in your work as an illustrator - and
collectors make no mistake considering the success of your
signature on the art market.

Your name has long been in the French school hall of fame
But Enki Bilal the illustrator, the screenwriter,
he is also the director and director of the non-functional
contemporary geopolitics, populated by the dark dreams of our twentieth
in regions of our imagination where tenderness is
sad, where humor is black, where redemption through love, too, is still

Dear Enki Bilal, on behalf of the President of the Republic, we make you
Knight of the National Order of Merit.

Dear Christophe Ferré,
If I dared, I would say that for you literature is - as sociology is
was a few years ago at the cinema - «a fighting sport», of these
extreme sports that engage the body as much as the mind. I know that
you practice them with pleasure: crossing the highest chains of
mountain, face the body to body of the Greco-Roman struggle, feel
shaking his muscles under the shock of the rugby scrum, that doesn’t make you
not afraid, it stimulates even your brilliant and corrosive mind where the
The story-teller of the modern world fights with the talent-teller.

You know indeed that the writer reads the cards of his time, deciphers
the unconscious of men, reveals and updates the profound nature of
things and events. News is a prism and it’s through its
crystal you stage modern society in what it can
have futile, carefree, even dangerous. The little history, the intimate
is confronted with history with the “great axe” in your texts,
as Pérec liked to say. Provocateur, you have a saint
horror of watered-down literature, tales of rose water, scripture
of compassion, even going so far as to list in an article Seven
ways to write a bad novel».

Admirer of the Mémoires d'Outre-tombe, Madame Bovary, des
Dreams of the lonely walker, Nabokov or Proust with whom you
share Illiers-Combray – cradle of your paternal family - you
borrow a rhythmic, harsh and tense style to update the springs of
world in which we are immersed. Student at the Hoche high school of
Versailles, then at Lakanal High School in hypokhâgne-khâgne, you went up
already plays with your friend Denis Podalydès at the Théâtre Montansier de
Versailles. After qualifying for the Ecole Normale Supérieure, you
become an arts teacher at the age of 21. You discover yourself
addiction to writing. In 1995, your first novel, La Chambre
is one of the revelations of the literary season by its tone
radical. Of the spectacle of death given on the beach of the Basques in Biarritz,
drownings on the deadly pole of a parasol, you compose
that the tides of blood do not move. In 1999, thanks to
this resolute choice of cold darkness, between Luis Buñuel and Quentin
Tarantino, you get, for its adaptation for France Culture, the
International Radio Grand Prix, dethroning Nancy Huston.

In The Seventh Night, you succeed in the challenge of evoking, again
fresh, the abyss of melancholy. Then you choose the sharp humor
in a cruel tale, at once bizarre and serious, Turquoise Paradise, which puts
Marcelin, a lonely and lost terrorist, ready to commit crime to get out of
anonymity and gain fame. With the «black celebrity» - including you
make some sort of disease of the century - you warn against
dangers of the «entertainment society» and the narcissistic search for
celebrity and honors. Committed writer, as you like to say,
you are among those who plunge their pen into the world as it goes with
its technological illusions, its multiplied egos, its culture of
widespread violence. In 2007, you offered a critique of society
current French in the Year of Blood and warn against
dangers of uniformity of mind, self-censorship of the press, in
Recalling that democracy is an accident of history that requires to be
preserved and guaranteed. In June 2010 you get the Grand Prix of the new
of the French Academy for La Photographe, a magnificent account of
men and women faced with the tragedy of September 11, 2001, when
nostalgia for the present moment barely lived echoes with
the collapse of a future that will not. Here again the frail dodge of
the individual shatters over the chaos and the raging seas of time

Your quality as a playwright is also known, recognized and
awarded. You receive the Beaumarchais Scholarship from the
Playwrights and Composers (SACD) for Les Laves de l'Etna; the
Price «Write for the street» in 2002 for your piece La plage Miramar.

Two other successes, among others, tie your reputation as an author to
success. This is The Bath of Light, the fruit of a collective adventure
by Jean-Michel Ribes at the Théâtre du Rond Point. This macabre farce
“makeover” to cosmetic surgery for three actors, one
bathtub, two chairs, two cow roars and yogurt
old-fashioned. You can sense your creaky humour, dark tones and
crazy, that would not deny a playwright you wrote about
and you won’t be indifferent: the brilliant Fernando Arrabal. More
Recently it was your Bike Bobo piece that met its audience.

The walks of dissension can sometimes seem very lonely
in the silence of a writing firm. But as you said, the
literature feeds on conflict: in the «novel factory», you have
made the choice to embrace the world to the root of evil, without modesty, nor
restraint. You have worn the requirement of musicality in your style as
in the construction of your narratives where darkness disputes humanity, where
the hidden dimension weighs as much as the spoken word.
Dear Christophe Ferré, because you are one of the most
talented women of your generation, because you were able to
singular and rare universes, because you also carried the
“rustle of your tongue” (Roland Barthes) on the boards as
on the air, on behalf of the French Republic, we make you
Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.

Dear José Lévy,
You are a unique creator, an artist-born, you are also and especially in
quest, quest, a permanent, tireless, infinite quest. You have
illustrated in very different fields, which make you a key to everything
virtuoso: fashion of course, but also design, interior design,
visual arts. In 1990, you launched your label «José Lévy in Paris» and
sign your first collections. Inspired by Tati and Jacques Demy, from
these funny worlds mixing poetry and quirky humour - your creations are
feed your imagination as much as they stimulate the imagination of
those who observe them. In you the blue of the mariners the dispute to
the delicacy of the well-dressed young man. At home
the world of romance and comics is never far apart
the stylist’s pen and board.

Alongside your own creations, you collaborate with large
houses, such as the prestigious British house Holland & Holland,
founded in 1835, with sublime and delicate fabrics, whose only names
evoke the universe of an Agatha Christie or that of a Virginia Wolf - but
also Nina Ricci, Cacharel, Emanuel Ungaro. Concerned about a fashion that
we wear and we see, you also work with signs
more popular, at a time when this Rubicon was rarely crossed by the
stylists. You then impose yourself as a great fashion figure
men, benefiting from an international reputation, from the
Japan. Epris of freedom, creator endowed with a keen sense of poetry, you
have defended your independence against all odds
of your claw.

Smelling the air of time, you have fashion a global design: for
you, it is a posture, a state of mind, a second nature. Man of
all “correspondence” - as Baudelaire defines it -
you have always been committed to fostering dialogue between disciplines and
approaches, working with photographers, visual artists, visual artists,
architects, musicians too. It is the famous Swedish crooner Jay Jay
Johanson who composes soundtracks for your shows; it’s Philippe
Parreno or Jean-Pierre Khazem who appeal to you for their

Since 2007, your creative work has focused on the visual arts and
decorative arts, but also design. In 2009, you collaborated with the
manufacture in Sèvres, for which you create unique pieces.

The world of ceramics and porcelain fascinates you: its whiteness
perhaps, the distinction of a certain art of living also, the memory of the
Manufacture, its rare pieces and its singular vocabulary without
doubt. You have worked with other houses specializing in
interior design and table arts and you do not hesitate to
shake the codes of style furniture, family furniture. You have
was an imaginary dresser, today you dress our interiors and
our daily universes with your eye and your excessive taste of rarities
forgotten and microcosms offered to view.

You are a «man of taste», you know how to dress everything: a silhouette
of course, but also a shop, a furniture, a light. At home the
World is a palimpsest where you can write a history of the Beautiful.

Perhaps it is this quest for a buried ideal, a memory to reveal, that
led you to recently apply to the Kujoyama villa, in
Kyoto, where you will be in residence from next fall. In the
a permanent dialogue that characterizes you between heritage and creation,
you will cross paths with your own grandfather, who always brought
Japanese art pieces from his travels and those of this artisans and
manufacturers of paper lamps that transmit know-how and
tradition. As often in your itinerary, the quest for
and origins is never far from the epic breath of history and
of the collective adventure. It is moreover you who draw the costumes of
Arthur Nauzyciel’s next play inspired by Yannick Haenel’s book
Jan Karski, which will be presented at the next Festival d'Avignon. Again,
the keeper of time rubs shoulders with the poet of the moment and the bearer of the sensitive.

Dear José Lévy, as you know, fashion always confronts its
limits, it constantly invents new forms, imagines of
new territories for clothing. I believe, however, that the
and insolence are a matter of state of mind more than appearance. In
your career as an artist so eclectic, so rich, accomplished by jumps and
gambades» as Montaigne would say, you have always obeyed your
instinct and your sense of Beautiful. Because you wear high the requirements
of Creation, because your work blends subtly inheritances and
their re-invention, because you know how to offer the ephemeral fashion
taste of eternity that makes it the price, on behalf of the French Republic, we
make you a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters.