Jesús Franco was a Spanish filmmaker and actor, best known for his stylish exploitation films, directing around 160 feature films. Of Cuban and Mexican parentage, Franco was born in Madrid and studied at the city's Instituto de Investigaciones y Experiencias Cinematográficas and the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques in Paris, he began his career in 1954 as an assistant director in the Spanish film industry, performing many tasks including composing music for some of the films as well as co-writing a number of the screenplays. He assisted a number of directors such as Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent, Leon Klimovsky and Juan Antonio Bardem. After working on more than 20 films, he decided to get into directing films in 1959, making a few musicals and a crime drama called Red Lips. In 1960, Franco took Marius Lesoeur and Sergio Newman, two producer friends, to a cinema to see the newly released Hammer horror film The Brides of Dracula and the three men decided to get into the horror film business.
His career took off in 1961 with The Awful Dr. Orloff, which received wide distribution in the United States and the UK. Franco wrote and directed Orloff, supplied some of the music for the film. In the mid-1960s, he went on to direct two other horror films proceeded to turn out a number of James Bond-like spy thrillers and softcore sex films based on the works of the Marquis de Sade. Although he had some American box office success with Necronomicon, 99 Women and two 1969 Christopher Lee films — The Bloody Judge and Count Dracula — he never achieved wide commercial success. Many of his films were only distributed in Europe, most of them were never dubbed into English. After discovering Soledad Miranda, Franco moved from Spain to France in 1969 so that he could make more violent and erotic films free of the strict censorship in Spain, it was at this point that his career began to go downhill commercially as he turned to low-budget filmmaking with an accent on adult material. Soledad Miranda starred in a series of six erotic thrillers for Franco, all made within a one-year period, after which she was killed in a tragic automobile accident in Portugal in 1970, just as her career was taking off.
A year or two after Soledad Miranda died, a grieving Franco discovered a new leading lady in actress Lina Romay. At the time, the teenage Romay was married to a young actor/photographer named Ramon Ardid, but as she and Franco became more involved in their film projects together over the years, her marriage to Ramon ended in divorce around 1975. Franco was married at the time to Nicole Guettard, Ms. Guettard being replaced in Franco's life by Lina Romay. Franco and Lina Romay worked together for 40 years, lived together from 1980 onward, although they were only married on 25 April, 2008; until her death in 2012, Romay was his most regular actress, as well as muse. Although Romay was listed in the credits of several films as a co-director, actor Antonio Mayans stated in a recent interview that Franco used to credit her in that manner for business reasons, although she never co-directed any of their films together. Although he produced a number of successful horror films in the early 70's, many people in the industry considered him a porn director due to the huge number of X-rated adult films he began turning out.
Franco returned to low-budget horror in a brief comeback period from 1980-83, but after 1983, his career took a second downturn as he returned to making pornographic films, most of which left nothing to the imagination. In his years, he did, get the opportunity to turn out two rather big-budget horror films — Faceless and Killer Barbys — both of which showed what great work he could still do when his projects were adequately funded; the entirety of his work after 1996 was direct-to-video films of low quality, none of which were distributed theatrically. Romay died of cancer in 2012, after which Franco died in April 2013 from natural causes, aged 82. Franco sometimes worked including David Khune and Frank Hollmann. A fan of jazz music, many of his pseudonyms were taken from jazz musicians such as Clifford Brown and James P. Johnson. Franco's themes revolved around lesbian vampires, women in prison, surgical horror, sadomasochism and sexploitation, he worked in other exploitation film genres, such as cannibal films, spy films, crime films, science fiction, jungle adventure, Oriental menace, exorcist films, war movies, historical dramas and nunsploitation.
His sex movies contained long, uninterrupted shots of nude women writhing around on beds. Most of his hardcore films starred his lifelong companion Lina Romay, who admitted in interviews to being an exhibitionist. Franco was known for his use of a hand-held camera and zoom shots, which he felt lent realism to his films. He
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War began in French Indochina on December 19, 1946, lasted until July 20, 1954. Fighting between French forces and their Việt Minh opponents in the south dated from September 1945; the conflict pitted a range of forces, including the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps, led by France and supported by Bảo Đại's Vietnamese National Army against the Việt Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh and the People's Army of Vietnam led by Võ Nguyên Giáp. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and extended into the neighboring French Indochina protectorates of Laos and Cambodia. At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, the Combined Chiefs of Staff decided that Indochina south of latitude 16° north was to be included in the Southeast Asia Command under British Admiral Mountbatten. Japanese forces located south of that line surrendered to him and those to the north surrendered to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. In September 1945, Chinese forces entered Tonkin, a small British task force landed at Saigon.
The Chinese accepted the Vietnamese government under Ho Chi Minh in power in Hanoi. The British refused to do in Saigon, deferred to the French there from the outset, against the ostensible support of the Việt Minh authorities by American OSS representatives. On V-J Day, September 2, Ho Chi Minh had proclaimed in Hanoi the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam; the DRV ruled as the only civil government in all of Vietnam for a period of about 20 days, after the abdication of Emperor Bảo Đại, who had governed under Japanese rule. On 23 September 1945, with the knowledge of the British commander in Saigon, French forces overthrew the local DRV government, declared French authority restored in Cochinchina. Guerrilla warfare began around Saigon but the French retook control of the South and North of Indochina. Hô Chi Minh agreed to negotiate the future status of Vietnam, but the talks, held in France, failed to produce a solution. After over one year of latent conflict, all-out war broke out in December 1946 between French and Việt Minh forces as Hô and his government went underground.
The French tried to stabilize Indochina by reorganizing it as a Federation of Associated States. In 1949, they put former Emperor Bảo Đại back in power, as the ruler of a newly established State of Vietnam; the first few years of the war involved a low-level rural insurgency against the French. In 1949 the conflict turned into a conventional war between two armies equipped with modern weapons supplied by the United States and the Soviet Union. French Union forces included colonial troops from the whole former empire, French professional troops and units of the French Foreign Legion; the use of metropolitan recruits was forbidden by the government to prevent the war from becoming more unpopular at home. It was called the "dirty war" by leftists in France; the strategy of pushing the Việt Minh into attacking well-defended bases in remote parts of the country at the end of their logistical trails was validated at the Battle of Nà Sản. However, this base was weak because of a lack of concrete and steel.
French efforts were made more difficult due to the limited usefulness of armored tanks in a jungle environment, lack of strong air forces for air cover and carpet bombing, use of foreign recruits from other French colonies. Võ Nguyên Giáp, used efficient and novel tactics of direct fire artillery, convoy ambushes and massed anti-aircraft guns to impede land and air supply deliveries together with a strategy based on recruiting a sizable regular army facilitated by wide popular support, a guerrilla warfare doctrine and instruction developed in China, the use of simple and reliable war material provided by the Soviet Union; this combination proved fatal for the bases' defenses, culminating in a decisive French defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. At the International Geneva Conference on July 21, 1954, the new socialist French government and the Việt Minh made an agreement which gave the Việt Minh control of North Vietnam above the 17th parallel; the south continued under Bảo Đại. The agreement was denounced by the United States.
A year Bảo Đại would be deposed by his prime minister, Ngô Đình Diệm, creating the Republic of Vietnam. Soon an insurgency, backed by the north, developed against Diệm's government; the conflict escalated into the Vietnam War. Vietnam was absorbed into French Indochina in stages between 1858 and 1887. Nationalism grew. Early Vietnamese resistance centered on the intellectual Phan Bội Châu. Châu looked to Japan, which had modernized and was one of the few Asian nations to resist European colonization. With Prince Cường Để, Châu started two organizations in Japan, the Duy Tân hội and Vietnam Cong Hien Hoi. Due to French pressure, Japan deported Phan Bội Châu to China. Witnessing Sun Yat-sen's Xinhai Revolution, Châu was inspired to commence the Viet Nam Quang Phục Hội movement in Guangzhou. From 1914 to 1917, he was imprisoned by Yuan Shikai's counterrevolutionary government. In 1925, he was captured by French agents in spirited to Vietnam. Due to his popularity, Châu was spared from execution and placed under house arrest until his death in 1940.
In September 1940, shortly after Phan Bội Châu's death, Japan launched its invasion of French Indochina, mirroring its ally Germany's co
Neuchâtel, or Neuchatel. The city has 34,000 inhabitants; the city is sometimes referred to by the German name Neuenburg, which has the same meaning. It was part of the Holy Roman Empire and under Prussian control from 1707 until 1848; the official language of Neuchâtel is French. Neuchâtel is a pilot of the Council of Europe and the European Commission Intercultural Cities programme; the oldest traces of humans in the municipal area are the remains of a Magdalenian hunting camp, dated to 13,000 BC. It was discovered in 1990 during construction of the A5 motorway at Monruz; the site was about 5 m below the main road. Around the fire pits carved bones were found. In addition to the flint and bone artifacts three tiny earrings from lignite were found; the earrings may have served as symbols of fertility and represent the oldest known art in Switzerland. This first camp was used by Cro-Magnons to hunt reindeer in the area. Azilian hunters had a camp at the same site at about 11,000 BC. Since the climate had changed, their prey was now wild boar.
During the 19th century, traces of some stilt houses were found in Le Cret near the red church. However, their location was not well documented and the site was lost. In 1999, during construction of the lower station of the funicular railway, which connects the railway station and university, the settlement was rediscovered, it was determined to be a Cortaillod culture village. According to dendrochronological studies, some of the piles were from 3571 BC. A Hallstatt grave was found in the forest of Les Cadolles. At Les Favarger a Gallo-Roman and at André Fontaine a small coin depot were discovered. In 1908, an excavation at the mouth of Serrière discovered Gallo-Roman baths from the 2nd and 3rd Centuries AD. One of the most important Merovingian cemeteries in the canton was discovered at Les Battieux in Serrières. In 1982, 38 graves dating from the 7th century were excavated many of which contained silver-inlaid or silver-plated belt buckles. In Serrières at the church of Saint-Jean, the remains of a 7th-century shrine were excavated.
In 1011, Rudolph III of Burgundy presented a Novum castellum or new castle on the lake shore to his wife Irmengarde. It was long assumed that this new castle replaced an older one, but nothing about its location or design is known. At the time of this gift Neuchâtel was the center of a newly created royal court, developed to complement the other royal estates which managed western estates of the Kings of Burgundy; the first counts of Neuchâtel were named shortly afterwards, in 1214 their domain was dubbed a city. For three centuries, the County of Neuchâtel flourished, in 1530, the people of Neuchâtel accepted the Reformation, their city and territory were proclaimed to be indivisible from on. Future rulers were required to seek investiture from the citizens. With increasing power and prestige, Neuchâtel was raised to the level of a principality at the beginning of the 17th century. On the death in 1707 Marie d'Orleans-Longueville, duchess de Nemours and Princess of Neuchâtel, the people had to choose her successor from among fifteen claimants.
They wanted their new prince first and foremost to be a Protestant, to be strong enough to protect their territory but based far enough away to leave them to their own devices. Louis XIV promoted the many French pretenders to the title, but the Neuchâtelois people passed them over in favour of King Frederick I of Prussia, who claimed his entitlement in a rather complicated fashion through the Houses of Orange and Nassau. With the requisite stability assured, Neuchâtel entered its golden age, with commerce and industry and banking undergoing steady expansion. At the turn of the 19th century, the King of Prussia was defeated by Napoleon I and was forced to give up Neuchâtel in order to keep Hanover. Napoleon's field marshal, became Prince of Neuchâtel, building roads and restoring infrastructure, but never setting foot in his domain. After the fall of Napoleon, Frederick William III of Prussia reasserted his rights by proposing that Neuchâtel be linked with the other Swiss cantons. On September 12, 1814, Neuchâtel became the capital of the 21st canton, but remained a Prussian principality.
It took a bloodless revolution in the decades following for Neuchâtel to shake off its princely past and declare itself, on March 1, 1848, a republic within the Swiss Confederation. Neuchâtel has an area, as of 2009, of 18.1 square kilometers. Of this area, 1.84 km2 or 10.2% is used for agricultural purposes, while 9.74 km2 or 53.8% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 6.42 km2 or 35.5% is settled, 0.03 km2 or 0.2% is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2 or 0.1% is unproductive land. Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 2.2% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 18.0% and transportation infrastructure made up 10.1%. While parks, green belts and sports fields made up 4.3%. Out of the forested land, 51.8% of the total land area is forested and 2.0% is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land
Carlo Fortunato Pietro Ponti Sr. was an Italian film producer with more than 140 productions to his credit. He was the husband of international film star Sophia Loren. Ponti was born in Magenta, where his grandfather had been mayor of the city. Ponti studied law at the University of Milan, he joined his father's law firm in Milan and became involved in the film business through negotiating contracts. Ponti attempted to establish a film industry in Milan in 1940 and produced Mario Soldati's Piccolo Mondo Antico there, starring Alida Valli, in her first notable role; the film dealt with the Italian struggle against the Austrians for the inclusion of northeastern Italy into the Kingdom of Italy during the Risorgimento. The film was successful, because it was easy to see "the Austrians as Germans" during World War II; as a result, he was jailed for undermining relations with Nazi Germany. Ponti accepted an offer from Riccardo Gualino's Lux Film in Rome in 1941, where he produced a series of commercially successful films featuring the comedian Totò.
In 1954 he had his greatest artistic success with the production of Federico Fellini's La strada. However, Fellini denied Ponti's role in its success and said that "La Strada was made in spite of Ponti and De Laurentiis". Ponti produced Boccaccio'70 in 1962, Marriage Italian Style in 1964, Yesterday and Tomorrow in 1965, he produced his most popular and financially successful film, David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, in 1965. He subsequently produced three notable films with Michelangelo Antonioni, Blowup in 1966, Zabriskie Point in 1970 and The Passenger in 1974. In 1946, he married Giuliana Fiastri with whom he had a daughter, Guendalina, in 1951 and a son in 1953. While serving as a judge in a beauty contest in 1951, Ponti met a minor actress named Sofia Lazzaro, he subsequently cast her in films such as Anna. In 1952, his friend Goffredo Lombardo, head of production at Titanus, changed Lazzaro's name to Sophia Loren. Five years Ponti obtained a Mexican divorce from his first wife and married Sophia Loren by proxy.
Divorce was still forbidden in Italy, he was informed that were he to return there, he would be charged with bigamy, Loren would be charged with "concubinage". Ponti co-produced several films in Hollywood starring Loren, establishing her fame, although most were box-office failures. In 1960, he and Loren returned to Italy and when summoned to court, denied being married. In 1962, they had the marriage annulled, after which Ponti arranged with his first wife, that the three of them move to France and become French citizens. In 1965, Giuliana Ponti divorced her husband, allowing Ponti to marry Loren in 1966 in a civil wedding in Sèvres, they became French citizens after their application was approved by then-French President Georges Pompidou. Ponti and Loren had two children: Carlo Ponti Jr. Edoardo Ponti Their daughters-in-law are Sasha Alexander and Andrea Meszaros, they have four grandchildren. Loren remained married to Ponti until his death on 10 January 2007 of pulmonary complications; when asked in a November 2009 interview if she were likely to marry again, Loren replied "No, never again.
It would be impossible to love anyone else." Two unsuccessful attempts were made to kidnap Ponti in 1975, including one involving an attack on his car with gunfire. He was tried in absentia in 1979 for smuggling money and works of art abroad, fined 22 billion lire, sentenced to four years in prison. Ponti did not attend the hearing, he was cleared of the charges in 1990. Ponti owned works by, among others, Georges Braque, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Giorgio de Chirico and Canaletto, his collection was renowned for containing ten works by Francis Bacon. These included examples from his early Van Gogh series, self-portraits and pope paintings, which were publicised or lent to public exhibitions. In 1977 the Bacon paintings valued at an estimated $6.7 million, were seized and turned over by the Italian government to the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. When Ponti reached a deal with the Italian government and was cleared of the charges brought against him in 1990, he regained possession of 230 confiscated paintings.
At some point, the collection is said to have been split between Loren. Over the years, several works have been sold privately. In 2006 two Bacon paintings, in the Ponti collection were exhibited in an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in London. One, a vertical composition of four self-portraits, had been sold to the American collector Steven A. Cohen. In 2007 another pope painting by Bacon, sold by Ponti in 1991, was sold in a private deal brokered by Acquavella Galleries in New York for more than £15 million; that same year, Study for Portrait II was consigned by Loren at Christie's. Ponti died in Geneva, from pulmonary complications on 10 January 2007, he was survived by Sophia Loren. His body rests in the family tomb in Lombardy. Carlo Ponti on IMDb
Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, song and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality and immediacy of the experience; the specific place of the performance is named by the word "theatre" as derived from the Ancient Greek θέατρον, itself from θεάομαι. Modern Western theatre comes, in large measure, from the theatre of ancient Greece, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, many of its themes, stock characters, plot elements. Theatre artist Patrice Pavis defines theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that differentiate theatre from the other performing arts and the arts in general.
Modern theatre includes performances of musical theatre. The art forms of ballet and opera are theatre and use many conventions such as acting and staging, they were influential to the development of musical theatre. The city-state of Athens is, it was part of a broader culture of theatricality and performance in classical Greece that included festivals, religious rituals, law and gymnastics, poetry, weddings and symposia. Participation in the city-state's many festivals—and mandatory attendance at the City Dionysia as an audience member in particular—was an important part of citizenship. Civic participation involved the evaluation of the rhetoric of orators evidenced in performances in the law-court or political assembly, both of which were understood as analogous to the theatre and came to absorb its dramatic vocabulary; the Greeks developed the concepts of dramatic criticism and theatre architecture. Actors were either amateur or at best semi-professional; the theatre of ancient Greece consisted of three types of drama: tragedy and the satyr play.
The origins of theatre in ancient Greece, according to Aristotle, the first theoretician of theatre, are to be found in the festivals that honoured Dionysus. The performances were given in semi-circular auditoria cut into hillsides, capable of seating 10,000–20,000 people; the stage consisted of a dancing floor, dressing scene-building area. Since the words were the most important part, good acoustics and clear delivery were paramount; the actors wore masks appropriate to the characters they represented, each might play several parts. Athenian tragedy—the oldest surviving form of tragedy—is a type of dance-drama that formed an important part of the theatrical culture of the city-state. Having emerged sometime during the 6th century BCE, it flowered during the 5th century BCE, continued to be popular until the beginning of the Hellenistic period. No tragedies from the 6th century BCE and only 32 of the more than a thousand that were performed in during the 5th century BCE have survived. We have complete texts extant by Aeschylus and Euripides.
The origins of tragedy remain obscure, though by the 5th century BCE it was institutionalised in competitions held as part of festivities celebrating Dionysus. As contestants in the City Dionysia's competition playwrights were required to present a tetralogy of plays, which consisted of three tragedies and one satyr play; the performance of tragedies at the City Dionysia may have begun as early as 534 BCE. Most Athenian tragedies dramatise events from Greek mythology, though The Persians—which stages the Persian response to news of their military defeat at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE—is the notable exception in the surviving drama; when Aeschylus won first prize for it at the City Dionysia in 472 BCE, he had been writing tragedies for more than 25 years, yet its tragic treatment of recent history is the earliest example of drama to survive. More than 130 years the philosopher Aristotle analysed 5th-century Athenian tragedy in the oldest surviving work of dramatic theory—his Poetics. Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods, "Old Comedy", "Middle Comedy", "New Comedy".
Old Comedy survives today in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while Middle Comedy is lost. New Comedy is known from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander. Aristotle defined comedy as a representation of laughable people that involves some kind of blunder or ugliness that does not cause pain or disaster. In addition to the categories of comedy and tragedy at the City Dionysia, the festival included the Satyr Play. Finding its origins in rural, agricultural rituals dedicated to Dionysus, the satyr play found its way to Athens in its most well-known form. Satyr's themselves were tied to the god Dionysus as his loyal woodland companions engaging in drunken revelry and mischief at his side; the satyr play itself was classified as tragicomedy, erring
Toto Looks for a Wife
Toto Looks for a Wife is a 1950 Italian comedy film directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia and starring Totò, Ave Ninchi and Marisa Merlini. The film's art direction was by Alberto Boccianti. In 1950 in Australia Aunt Agatha writes to Toto, informing him not to send him in Italy a penny until he is married. Toto is in fact a great bachelor who dabbles in sculpture and live in luxury with the money of her aunt. Now Toto is threatened and forced to be with a woman just because Aunt would soon come to Rome to meet the new couple. Thanks to a friend Toto is helped but the women that gives him are horrible or are ammogliate, which causes many misunderstandings. At the end bull is mistaken for a delinquent because of mistaken identity and misunderstanding continues when they come into the house of Toto's aunt and the new "wife", or a woman, made to pay for pretending to be his wife Toto. Totò as Toto Ave Ninchi as La zia Marisa Merlini as Luisa, la modella Aroldo Tieri as Pippo, il pittore Paul Muller as Carlo secret agent Z-15 Mario Castellani as Filippo Nerio Bernardi as Giacinto Bruno Cantalamessa Giovanna Galletti as secret agent K-8 Enzo Garinei as Il figlio di Bellavista Zoe Incrocci Elvi Lissiak as Adelina Anna Maestri as La nera australiana Nino Marchesini as Il signor Marco Mario Meniconi as Alberto Moliterno, Gino.
The A to Z of Italian Cinema. Scarecrow Press, 2009. Toto Looks for a Wife on IMDb
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona