Well known for its language courses, the French Institute (FIAF) also offers a range of activities on French culture. Located in a Beaux Arts-style building, built circa 1925, it operates two theaters.
Every Tuesday there are screenings of French films, featuring everything from the great classics to premieres of films by new and established directors; all are subtitled in English. Florence Gould Hall hosts innovative dance, music and theatrical productions that have earned the hall a reputation as one of the city's premier venues for the French performing arts. Offerings have included world music (Zap Mama), popular music (Patricia Kaas, Jane Birkin), opera (l'Opèra de New York), theater (Endgame by Samuel Beckett), modern dance (l'Esquisse), chamber music (Florence Gould Hall Chamber Players) and Baroque music (Boston Camerata, Concert Royal).
The institute was founded in 1898 by American Francophiles as a means of encouraging the appreciation of French language and culture and fostering cross-cultural exchange. It is not affiliated with the French government.
The institute presents lectures on literature, the arts and politics in both French and English. Its language center offers classes in modern and classic literature, history, filmography, and French-American relations. Students taking French classes receive a free one-year FIAF membership.
Young Audience Series: Targeted for students in grades 5 through 9, this free series offers subtitled French film, world music, mime and dance performances. Other available programs include French storytelling and music workshops. These activities take place in the institute's two theaters and often include a question-and-answer session with the performing artists (in English).