On the way to the grocery store, “Family First” director Sophie Dupuis got a call that made her wish she wasn’t wearing jeggings. Not only was her first feature film Canada’s official entry into the Oscar foreign film race, but she needed to announcement it live within the hour.
“I was sure it wasn’t going to be us,” the Quebec native told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at a Q&A on Tuesday following a screening of the crime drama.
“Family First” is a 90-minute journey into the dysfunctional world of debt collectors, brothers JP (Jean-Simon Leduc) and 19-year-old Vincent (Theodore Pellerin). While older brother JP begins to have doubts about helping the cartel collect their money, a group lead by their uncle Dany (Paul Ahmarani), Vincent’s explosive, care-free personality leads him deeper into Dany’s web. Canadian actress Maude Guerin plays the on-again off-again alcoholic mother to JP and Vincent in the film.
Despite the circumstances, each member of the family feels unconditionally tied to one another. Dupuis told the audience at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles that she hopes that with “Family First” audiences can experience a movie where “love is the winner,” not necessarily a specific character.
And despite it being her first feature, Dupuis elaborated to say that she wanted to go for gold by making a crime drama that “the audience could feel physically.” To add that level of tension, Dupuis made sure the story included more than one version of violence, she said. Not only would audiences see physical violence, but emotional and situational as well.
Situational violence takes form when the family is home at the apartment. No matter what is going on, Vincent will constantly hover over everyone and won’t let them sit still. He will spontaneously pull their hair, smooch their forehead or make them answer his needs by berating them until they surrender to his will. With the assistance of hand-held cinematography, scenes in the apartment of the family attempting to tame Vincent are meant to evoke a sense of despair and imprisonment, Dupuis told the audience.
Finding the right person to play the role of Vincent was key for Dupuis.
“I was afraid it would be really hard to find him,” Dupuis said.
Pellerin had actually come in to audition for the role of JP, which was initially supposed to be much younger than the Leduc character is in the final film. At one point, Pellerin mentioned he was also interested in the Vincent character. The moment Pellerin began to improvise what his version of the character would be like, Dupuis exclaimed, “He was already Vincent.”
The rehearsal process took five weeks, during which time Dupuis collaborated with the cast to mold their characters into what they would later become. That’s because for Dupuis, the casting process is where she finds actors who will work well on her production. It’s during rehearsals when she is able to put a face to those characters by working with the actor to find their sweet spots.
This includes the character of JP, who attempts to remain calm and in control during chaotic moments. Dupuis said Leduc was picked in a crop of 200 or so auditions for his ability to evoke “sensitivity and sensibility.”
The final product would be a film that was nominated for best film, best director, best actor and winning best actress at the Quebec Cinema Awards and is now in the crop of films vying for a shot a best foreign film at the Oscars.
“Family First” premiered in Canada in March and will premiere in France and Belgium this week. Producer Etienne Hansez, who was also in attendance, told the audience they are still currently looking for a U.S. distributor.
www.thewrap.com | 11/14/18
The former head of Tate Modern had to resign from his last job after protests. France’s culture ministry said he will take over one of the country’s largest exhibition spaces.
www.nytimes.com | 11/8/18
Set in 17th-century France, Chris Womersley’s novel “City of Crows” features a mother who succumbs to witchcraft and a grifter with a gift for the tarot.
www.nytimes.com | 10/26/18
Ecuadorian director Jamaicanoproblem has spent his life looking for treasure in the Amazon. In his new documentary-drama hybrid “A Son of Man,” Jamaicanoproblem wanted to film his recent quest for both ancient Incan gold and a newfound bond with his son.
“Through the arts, I have created a relationship with my son,” Jamaicanoproblem told TheWrap’s Steve Pond at a Q&A on Monday following a screening of his film, Ecuador’s entry into the Oscar foreign language film race. “Treasure doesn’t always mean gold. Treasure can be finding the unknown.”
“A Son of Man” follows both Jamaicanoproblem (real name Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador y Campodonico) and his son Pipe (Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador y Boloña) in their real-life journey to find ancient Incan gold, which legend has it is hidden in the “eye of Atahualpa.”
Producer Lily van Ghemen said shooting in the jungles of South America was like “trying to shoot a space movie in space.” They were able to use drones to capture much of what is seen in the dense jungles.
Jamaicanoproblem told the audience at the Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles that the inspiration for “A Son of Man” began with a fear of losing his own father, who first set out to find the treasure decades ago. Even though Jamaicanoproblem had never made a film before, capturing his own journey through the jungle would be a way to immortalize the man who got it all started.
He captured more than 500 hours of footage, with about 1,500 crew members across years of filmmaking. The sheer magnitude of the project is a reason why the production had early trouble finding backers — and a filmmaker to oversee it. “To bring this vision to reality, I talked to many directors,” Jamaicanoproblem said. “Nobody wanted to take the film. The concept seemed very strange and impossible.”
Luckily, Jamaicanoproblem found van Ghemen, who was fascinated by making “a fiction narrative out of a real story.”
Even though Jamaicanoproblem has found success with the film, which has also been submitted in the documentary feature category, he told the audience that this will most likely be his first and final film.
“That’s what he says now,” van Ghemen joked.
And does he think the treasure is still out there?
“I can absolutely assure you it’s there,” Jamaicanoproblem said.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/23/18
CANNES — France’s TeamTO and China’s UYoung Culture & Media Co. have struck a longterm development, production and distribution alliance. The agreement gives the Beijing-based UYoung, one of China’s foremost children’s entertainment production-distribution companies, the opportunity to co-develop and co-produce TeamTO shows. UYoung has also acquired Chinese distribution rights to the series, as well as […]
variety.com | 10/13/18
"Isn't art always, to a certain extent, therapy for the artist?" Oscilloscope Labs has debuted an official US trailer for the cinema documentary Searching for Ingmar Bergman, which first premiered as a Cannes Classic at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The documentary celebrates Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman's 100th birthday, by taking an extensive and fascinating look at his life and creative inspiration. The doc presents key scenes and recurring themes in his films and his life, and journeys to the places at the center of Bergman's creative achievement and the focal points of his life such as the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, locations and landscapes from his masterpieces, and his stations in Sweden, Germany, Spain, and France. This looks like a profound, entrancing, wonderful look at the life of a true master filmmaker. US trailer (+ posters) for Margarethe von Trotta's doc Searching for Ingmar Bergman, from YouTube: On the 100th anniversary of his birth, internationally renowned director Margarethe ...
www.firstshowing.net | 10/11/18
One year after the launch of the #MeToo movement with the New York Times’ and the New Yorker’s award-winning exposés of indie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood insiders say that there have been some significant changes to address sexual misconduct in the industry.
Many studios, networks and other entertainment companies have tightened contract language and increased employee training programs to prevent harassment in executive offices, on film and TV sets and even in audition rooms, executives and entertainment lawyers said.
Despite the career downfall of high-profile men such as Weinstein, CBS CEO Les Moonves and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons following multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, though, questions linger about how effective these steps have been to change Hollywood’s culture.
“The law has remained the same. What’s different is the volume of reporting is just exponentially more,” Elsa Rama, an entertainment lawyer, told TheWrap.
“More people are reporting bad behavior and employers are more sensitive to handling it and adhering to the law, whereas before our industry was probably a bit too casual about it,” she added.
And many companies are trying to get ahead of the accusation wave by educating employees about acceptable behavior with mandatory training sessions across departments. Angela Reddock-Wright, a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in sexual harassment and discrimination, estimated that the number of prevention trainings that she gives has increased 50 percent in the last year.
“In light of what’s happening, companies and studios want to make sure they are re-educating their managers and supervisors on what to do when issues of sexual harassment are reported to them,” she said.
Contracts have also come under focus in the last year. Although sexual harassment was always considered a breach of contracts, experts told TheWrap that legal language that was purposefully broad before #MeToo is now being tightened to provide clearer consequences for cases of sexual harassment and assault.
“[Many contracts] are much more specific in terms of providing a sexual harassment policy that’s curtailed to production setting, having a reporting mechanism that’s very clear, but also having the ability for grounds for termination, as well as what to do with allegations outside the workplace environment,” Rama said.
Another entertainment attorney, who asked not to be named, told TheWrap that the main differences have come at the negotiating table. Whereas agents once had more leeway to negotiate morality clauses out of contracts for talent, studios are now more likely to insist that they remain.
Moreover, the attorney said that morality clauses were previously intended to address criminal convictions and actors going to jail, but now they are getting broadened to include various forms of sexual misconduct that may not require legal outcomes.
Reddock-Wright said the effectiveness of any policy change is ultimately dependent on people’s willingness to follow it — or not. “So the real question is — if we have had laws and policies against sexual harassment in the workplace for years, why does harassment continue to happen? Why is the #MeToo movement so prevalent?” she said.
“It ultimately comes down to power — those who use their power and influence to exercise control over individuals, and to make individuals believe that if they do not succumb to their sexual propositions, they will not make it in this town,” she said. “Some use their powers for good. Others use them to take advantage of others.”
The advent of the #MeToo movement has raised general awareness of the issue — which has taken down both executives like Weinstein as well as on-camera stars like Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K.
Stars and prominent Hollywood figures like Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes helped launch the Time’s Up initiative, a fund that aims to support employees who encounter sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace.
The major Hollywood guilds have also released new guidelines since last fall intended to protect their members from harassment and other abuse — though many are not legally or contractually binding. In April, SAG-AFTRA released a guideline calling on producers to refrain from holding professional meetings in hotel rooms and private residences, and urged actors to avoid high-risk locations as well.
The move came after Weinstein was accused by several women of misconduct inside hotel rooms in cities around the world, from Beverly Hills to New York to Cannes, France. (He has denied any accusation of nonconsensual sex.) These guidelines were contractually adopted by the Network Television Code in July, which SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris described as a “real victory.”
The union is also working to develop rules that will better protect actors during on-screen nudity and sex scenes.
“There’s so much more exposure to your body and there’s more [on-screen] intimacy taking place,” Carteris told TheWrap. “Our conversations actually deal with the whole process of being a performer… and the vulnerabilities you have, and then we’re creating structures around those vulnerabilities.”
Even Carteris admits she does not know whether #MeToo advocates can make lasting change to how Hollywood does business.
“I know there’s been a shift. It’s happening in the audition room, it’s happening on set,” she told TheWrap. “We’re going to have to wait and see if it’s a sustainable shift. Kudos to those people who really recognize that there needs to be a change.”
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www.thewrap.com | 10/5/18
Charles Aznavour, one of France’s greatest singers, composers and film stars, has died. He was 94.
According to multiple media reports, the French Culture Ministry announced his death on Monday. A representative for the Culture Ministry has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
According to the BBC, Aznavour died at one of his homes in the south east of France.
Aznavour was perhaps best known for his 1974 hit, “She,” and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. He was also named entertainer of the century by CNN in 1998. In a career spanning over 80 years, he released more than 1,200 songs and wrote or co-wrote over 1,000. According to The Guardian, he was regularly referred to as France’s Frank Sinatra. He sang for presidents and royal families at numerous charitable and humanitarian events.
He often sang about taboo subjects. His 1955 song “Apres l’Amour” was banned in France because it depicted a couple in post-coital happiness, while 1972’s “What Makes a Man” was about a gay transvestite. His singing partners included Sinatra, Elton John, Celine Dion, Sting and Liza Minnelli.
Apart from selling more than 180 million records, Aznavour also starred in 80 films and TV movies, including 1974’s “And Then There Were None,” as well as 1979’s “The Tin Drum,” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1980.
Aznavour was born on May 22, 1924 in France to Armenian parents who had fled Armenia’s genocide to start a new life in Paris. The Guardian reported that he left school at the age of nine to become a child actor, appearing in Francois Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player.” During the occupation of Paris during World War II, he forged his singing career performing in cabarets as his family hid Jews and communists in their apartment while fighting with the resistance.
Aznavour was also an activist for the Armenian people. After the 1988 Armenian earthquake, he founded an organization with his friend Levon Sayan, and in 2009, he was appointed the ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, as well as Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva.
According to the BBC, the singer was set to embark on a seven-date tour across France and Switzerland starting in November this year.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/1/18
Roman Polanski apparently has something to say about a man being wrongfully convicted of a crime. The infamous director has started production on his next film “J’accuse,” his first project in the #MeToo era.
The film tells the story of the Dreyfus Affair, a political scandal in which Jewish French captain Alfred Dreyfus was wrongfully convicted of treason in 1894, and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s island.
Polanski, a French-Polish filmmaker, fled the U.S. in 1977 after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977. He was imprisoned for 42 days, after which he was released and put on probation as part of a plea bargain. When Polanski learned the judge planned to revoke the plea deal, the director fled to Paris before the sentencing.
Since the accusations and revelations of roughly 30 years of sexual harassment and assault against former power producer, Harvey Weinstein came to light nearly a year ago, the #MeToo movement has toppled a number of powerful men in the industry. The accusations against Bill Cosby have led to the comedian serving anywhere from three to ten years in prison.
Polanski, however, has managed to not only stay out of jail but continue to write, produce and direct films.
“J’accuse” will begin filming this fall in Paris. Louis Garrel will star as Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the real-life French-Jewish soldier wrongly convicted of spying for the Germans. While imprisoned, evidence arose identifying the actual culprit, but it was suppressed by the French military, which then falsified documents used to accuse Dreyfus of further crimes. Dreyfus became a cause celebre however, and after more than a decade was fully exonerated. But the matter exposed deep strains of antisemitism in France with profound effects during the following decades.
Academy Award-winning actor Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) will star as the counter-espionage officer who vindicated Dreyfus. Mathieu Amalric, Olivier Gourmet, and Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner round out the cast. Polanski has been developing the film since 2012, from a script penned by British novelist Robert Harris.
Polanski has already let his opinion be known on the subject of the #MeToo movement, calling it a “Total hypocrisy.” Now he’s getting the chance to explore a man reeling for a wrongful accusation through his art.
In May, Polanski was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with Cosby. He was expelled 15 years after his film “The Pianist” took home Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor at the 75th Academy Awards. The film was nominated for Best Picture, but lost to “Chicago.”
The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter
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www.thewrap.com | 9/29/18
James Lipton is leaving “Inside the Actors Studio” as its host and executive producer, Ovation TV announced Monday.
The 92-year-old Lipton created the show in 1994 that features his one-on-one interviews with A-list film and television stars about the evolution of their careers. It will be moving from its long-time home on Bravo to Ovation TV in the Fall of 2019, where a rotating list of guest hosts will conduct the interviews.
“It’s very gratifying to see the legacy of ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ being carried forward for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy,” Lipton said in a statement.
Also Read: James Lipton: I Was a Pimp in France
“I made a vow early on that we would not deal in gossip — only in craft, and Ovation, as a network to the arts, will continue that tradition with the next seasons of the series,” he added. “I’m excited to see the new hosts engage with the guests and students and continue to entertain viewers in the U.S. and around the world.”
The show began as a craft seminar for students at New York’s Actors Studio Masters program at Pace University, and was a joint venture between the Actors Studio and New School University. Paul Newman was the first of Lipton’s more than 200 guest interviews that included everyone from Brad Pitt to Barbra Streisand, and from Clint Eastwood to Martin Scorsese.
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www.thewrap.com | 9/25/18
Students from the University of Southern California have been named recipients of four Student Academy Awards for 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday.
The four USC wins make it the only school to take more than one award. The school was recognized by one nomination in the animation category, one in the documentary category and two in the narrative category.
The other American films schools that won awards were Florida State, CalArts, Ringling College of Art and Design, NYU, the University of California at Berkeley and Chapman University.
In the four international categories, the winners came from schools in the U.K., France, Hungary, Switzerland and Sweden.
While the Academy announced the winners on Wednesday, it will not reveal the medal that each film has won until the Student Academy Awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. While the three levels of prize — gold, siver and bronze — carry different cash awards, all winners are now qualified for the 2018 Academy Awards in the short-film categories.
Past winners of Student Academy Awards include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter, Cary Fukunaga, Trey Parker and Pete Docter.
Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Animation (International Film Schools)
Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Documentary (International Film Schools)
Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Narrative (International Film Schools)
www.thewrap.com | 9/12/18
Legendary actress Cecily Tyson and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy are among this year’s Honorary Oscar winners, the film academy announced Wednesday.
Tyson (“Fried Green Tomatoes,” “The Help”), who is 93, will receive the AMPAS prize along with publicist Marvin Levy and composer Lalo Schifrin. Prolific film producers and husband-and-wife team Kennedy and Frank Marshall will receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
For the 10th year, the Academy governors will hold the honorary ceremony prior to the official Oscars telecast, this year on Nov. 18 at Hollywood and Highland’s Dolby Ballroom.
The award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy,” an announcement said.
The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is not an Oscar statue but a bust of the motion picture executive, is presented to creative producers “whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
Read career highlights for this year’s honorees:
Levy began his career in publicity working for MGM in New York City before joining Columbia Pictures in Hollywood, where he guided the advertising for films including “The Deep” and “Kramer vs. Kramer.” His work for the 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” marked the beginning of a four-decade-long partnership with Steven Spielberg. Levy has held positions at Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Studios and Amblin Partners, and has worked on publicity campaigns for such films as “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “American Beauty,” “Gladiator” and “Lincoln.” Levy is the first publicist to receive an honorary Oscar.
Born and raised in Argentina, Schifrin studied classical music and jazz in France before beginning to compose for film in Buenos Aires in the mid-1950s. He has written scores for more than 100 films, including “The Cincinnati Kid,” “Bullitt,” “Dirty Harry,” “Enter the Dragon” and “Rush Hour.” His memorable theme for the television series “Mission: Impossible” has been a hallmark of the recent film series. He has received six Oscar® nominations, for the original scores for “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “The Fox” (1968), “Voyage of the Damned” (1976) and “The Amityville Horror” (1979), the original song “People Alone” from “The Competition” (1980) and the adaptation score for “The Sting II” (1983).
Raised in Harlem, Tyson began her career as a model and a theater actress, appearing both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. After playing small roles in feature films and television, she was cast as Portia in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” in 1968. Four years later, she received an Academy Award® nomination for her leading performance in “Sounder.” Her other notable film credits include “The River Niger,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “The Help,” “Alex Cross” and “Last Flag Flying.”
The Kennedy/Marshall producing partnership, formed in 1991, has generated Best Picture nominations for “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Seabiscuit” (2003), “Munich” (2005) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008). Kennedy/Marshall Company productions also include “Congo,” all five “Bourne” films, and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Prior to forming Kennedy/Marshall, the duo co-founded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg, sharing a Best Picture nomination for “The Color Purple” (1985). Additionally, Marshall received a Best Picture nomination for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), while Kennedy was nominated in the same category for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), “War Horse” (2011) and “Lincoln” (2012). Kennedy is the first woman to receive the Thalberg Award.
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www.thewrap.com | 9/6/18
It’s difficult to ask hard questions about change and technology and progress — particularly to consider whether “progress” is actually progress or not — without sounding like a cranky old man, but writer-director Olivier Assayas has now done it twice. 2008’s “Summer Hours” contemplated a world in which new generations seemed uninterested in preserving art history and cultural treasures of the past, and now a decade later, with “Non-Fiction,” he asks similarly pointed questions about the future of books and literature in the internet age.
That he does so with a minimum of breast-beating and a surfeit of sparkling wit no doubt helps the message go down, particularly since it’s clear that he’s not offering answers but instead merely asking the questions.
The film introduces us to a group of friends, lovers and colleagues, all of whom engage in spirited conversations about the state of writing, acting and politics, areas that have been forever changed by online habits. Alain (Guillaume Canet, “Tell No One”) runs a venerable publishing house, trying to weigh the benefits and consequences of pivoting to digital. He’s having an affair with Laure (Christa Théret), the woman running that digital transformation, even though she has extreme ideas about what counts as literature (she equates tweets with haiku) and about the extinction of books and libraries.
Alain’s actress wife Selena (Juliette Binoche), spinning her wheels on a police drama, knows he’s cheating and rekindles a fling with author Léonard (Vincent Macaigne, “The Innocents”), whose latest manuscript Alain does not want to publish. Léonard is infamous for writing novels that are merely thinly-veiled accounts of his own life and love affairs — he insists it’s “auto-fiction” — and Selena lobbies for the publication of his book even though she inspired one of the characters. (It’s telling that Alain seemingly never notices this.)
“Non-Fiction” is Assayas’ talkiest film to date, but it’s also probably his funniest. (There’s a running gag about a movie-theater sex act and Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” that keeps paying off brilliantly.) Assayas seems to be channeling the spirit of Éric Rohmer and his marathon dialogue-fests, but this is smart, insightful talk, delivered by an exemplary ensemble of performers (which also includes Nora Hamzawi as Léonard’s girlfriend, who works for an idealistic politician).
Assayas is undoubtedly snobby about popular culture — the bit we see of Selena’s cop show looks as dreadful as the superhero movie that Binoche goes to see in “Clouds of Sils Maria” — but he’s never overly precious about the topic at hand.
Books are, of course, wonderful things, but when Laure and other characters make a case for cheaper, more accessible e-books, the movie doesn’t necessarily disagree. “Non-Fiction” makes just as many barbs at the current state of the book industry, where authors sell books via controversy caused by writing barely-concealed roman à clefs about their real lovers and enemies.
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Unlike Rohmer, who favored long takes and frequently locked down his camera, Assayas keeps these many conversations vibrant with the help of editor Simon Jacquet, who keeps each scene vibrant without ever overplaying his hand, as well as cinematographer Yorick Le Saux (“A Bigger Splash”), who captures the warmth of the characters’ bourgeois surroundings but also clearly had a blast faking that cop show.
As with “Summer Hours,” “Non-Fiction” traffics in ideas and concerns without handing out leaflets; first and foremost, this is an empathetic and charming character piece, featuring top-notch actors (Binoche revels in a rare opportunity to be funny) enjoying richly clever dialogue. And if it encourages viewers to support their local indie bookstore afterward, then so much the better.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/31/18
Pierre Hache, who performs as Kiddy Smile, is taking the energy and inclusive spirit of Paris ball culture to the masses — and even to the presidential palace.
www.nytimes.com | 8/27/18
A version of this story on Lynn Novick first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Lynn Novick has worked with Ken Burns on a series of celebrated, epic-length documentaries: “Baseball” in 1994, “Jazz” in 2001 and “Prohibition” in 2011 among them.
Their latest collaboration is “The Vietnam War,” a 10-part examination of the war in Southeast Asia that took a decade to make and includes interviews with 79 different witnesses from all sides of the conflict.
The show’s four nominations include one for Novick and Burns for directing Episode 8, which deals with the stormy period in 1969 and 1970 when opposition to the war intensified in the U.S. and protests on college campuses were met with violence.
What was the biggest challenge of the series?
If the history is still traumatic, how do you get people, particularly in Vietnam, to open up and talk about it honestly?
It seemed clear, the more times we went there, that there was a hunger for talking about a subject that is difficult to talk about there, which is what the war was really like. The price they paid and the internal conflict. It was a war of liberation as a civil war.
When you started working on the series, did you realize it would be in 10 parts over more than 17 hours?
And as we collect the material, we start to shape it. The narrative of the people and their stories happens in the edit room. I think we originally said it will be six or seven shows, somebody said eight or nine, and by the end we had 10.
Why should we learn about Vietnam now?
It seems as if Vietnam was the war where we started to ask a question that we’ve asked in every subsequent conflict: “What are we fighting for?”
It was extremely healthy for our democracy and extremely inspiring to see the American public challenging the government and saying, “Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing.”
This year’s Emmys have 40 male directing nominees and only four women. What’s wrong with that picture?
I think we’re seeing more awareness of that, but going from awareness of a problem to opening up opportunities to different kinds of people is a slow process — way too slow.
To read more of TheWrap’s Down to the Wire issue, click here.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/19/18
If the MTV Video Music Awards have ever been about the awards themselves, that era is long past. The most unpredictable and frequently over-the-top awards show remains one of the last-standing watercooler TV events by delivering iconic moments year after year. Here are a few of the most legendary from the show’s nearly 35 year life.
Madonna performed her single “Like a Virgin” at the very first VMAs in 1984, donning a wedding dress for a performance that looks downright tame by modern standards but raised a few eyebrows in its day.
Looking to top her last performance when she returned to the VMAs stage in 1990, Madonna went for an elaborate 18th Century France-inspired aesthetic for her rendition of Video of the Year nominee “Vogue.”
Michael Jackson and then-wife Lisa Marie Presley shocked the audience when they locked lips for an awkwardly long and stilted kiss while introducing the 1994 VMAs.
In 1995, Courtney Love crashed Madonna’s live post-VMAs interview by throwing makeup at the pop star and screaming across the room. “Courtney Love is in dire need of attention right now,” Madonna deadpanned before being forced to cede her airtime to the Hole singer’s antics.
In hindsight, the idea of Fiona Apple appearing at the VMAs seems like an odd fit, but one gets the sense it never made less sense to anyone than to Apple herself, who famously proclaimed “This world is bulls—” while on stage to collect her Best New Artist award.
Lil Kim’s racy outfit at the 1999 VMAs grabbed the attention of many a red carpet photographer, but the rapper’s one bare breast also captured the imagination of her co-presenter Diana Ross, who couldn’t resist giving Kim’s chest a gentle onstage tap.
Upset about his band’s loss to Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford bum rushed the VMAs stage in 2000, attempting to bring the entire night to a literal crashing halt by scaling the background. He failed and spent the night in jail.
Former Disney star Britney Spears had no shortage of moments marking her new persona as an adult pop star, but none more iconic than her 2001 performance of “I’m a Slave 4 U” with an albino burmese python named Banana wrapped around her shoulders.
In 2002, Britney Spears presented Michael Jackson with a lifetime achievement trophy in honor of his birthday, but her use of the phrase “artist of the millennium” seemed to capture Jackson’s imagination, leading him to deliver a speech accepting an award definitely does not exist.
For decades Madonna stood as the biggest provocateur at the VMAs, and inviting Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to join her on stage in a re-creation of her iconic “Like a Virgin” performance was meant to be something of a torch-passing. What no one was expecting was for the three performers to up the ante by making out on stage.
Britney Spears has had many ups and downs throughout her decades-long career, but her glassy-eyed performance of “Gimme More” at the 2007 VMAs stands as one of her most public fumbles, a warning sign of the rocky road ahead.
With four now-legendary words — “I’mma let you finish” — Kanye West ensured that Taylor Swift’s career would be inextricably tied to his own. Whether its a feud between stars, a troubled friendship or a media narrative from which one party would like to be excluded, the story of Kanye and Taylor has transcended debate about whether or not Beyonce made the best music video of all time.
Lil Mama effectively tanked her career when the spirit of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’s “Empire State of Mind” carried her out of her seat in the audience and onto the VMAs stage. Confused viewers may have at first believed the stunt was intentional, but by the time Jay-Z attempted to shoo her off like a dirty New York pigeon, her fate was sealed.
Despite a long career in New York and two giant singles in “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” Lady Gaga was still far off from the mainstay pop star she is now when she performed “Paparazzi” in 2009. A self-consciously arty and borderline-manic performance that ended with her bloodied body being lifted into the air, Gaga’s VMAs debut was a bold statement by an artist looking to stake her position in the pop landscape.
A year after the interruption heard round the world, West returned to the VMAs to debut “Runaway,” a haunting toast to “douchebags” and “assholes” that’s widely regarded as one of the best and most self-reflective singles in the rapper’s catalogue.
If there’s an image from the 2010 VMAs that will endure the test of time, it’s Lady Gaga, who showed up wearing a dress made out of raw meat, accepting her Moonman from Cher, wearing a re-creation of one of her most iconic ’80s costumes.
Blue Ivy Carter made her television debut at the 2011 VMAs, when Beyonce took the stage to perform the immaculate throwback single “Love on Top.” “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me,” she told the audience, nailing every dance step and key change before surprising the crowd by unveiling her baby bump.
The VMAs have come to be defined by flashy costumes, big energy and even bigger stunts, but in 2011 Adele showed everyone up by slowing it down. Accompanied by just a piano and a spotlight, the British songstress brought the house down with her world-conquering ballad “Someone Like You.”
Rihanna opening the 2012 VMAs with a medley of her hits “Cockiness” and “We Found Love” isn’t often the first performance that people remember, which is a shame because the seamless shift between the DGAF attitude that would later become her trademark and the party-starting pop star persona that defined her early career was so skillfully executed.
If Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMAs didn’t launch the thinkpiece industry, it certainly sent it into high-gear. Conversations about race and culture online have since become commonplace, but for many, it was Cyrus’s wagging tongue that led them to first encounter the phrase “cultural appropriation.”
When Beyonce accepted her Video Vanguard Award in 2014 with a 15-minute medley of the songs from her groundbreaking self-titled visual album, it was the fact that she stood in front of the word “feminist” that caught people’s attention. But looking back, it’s the other parts that are most notable — the effortless stylistic shifts and confident swagger that would later be honed and refined into her staggering, two-hour performance at Coachella years later.
Ahead of the 2015 VMAs, much of the conversation revolved around a social media spat between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift over well-deserved criticism of the lily white list of nominees. That feud was publicly put to bed by the two artists when they opened the show together, but before the night was over, Minaj had trained her sights on a different target. Firing off a warning shot from the stage in the direction of the night’s host, Minaj spat, “Miley, what’s good?”
Kanye West’s public statements have gotten him more attention than his music in recent years, a phenomenon which dates back to at least 2015, when he was awarded the Video Vanguard Award and opted out of a performance in favor of a long, rambling speech. To this day, it remains unclear whether or not he was serious when he threatened to make a bid for the White House in 2020.
Without a host, the 2016 VMAs had an erratic energy that felt liable to unspool at any moment, but thankfully Beyonce was there to salvage the show. Performing the hits from her 2016 album “Lemonade” with commitment and ferocity, she held the entire night together through sheer force of talent.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/17/18
This story about “Queer Eye” first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
When rebooted “Queer Eye” was first getting off the ground at Netflix, showrunner Jennifer Lane knew it was going to live or die on its cast. The new Fab Five — the five gay men who would serve as personal lifestyle advisers and spiritual guides — would not only have to live up to the cast of the original cult-favorite Bravo series, they’d also have to stand on their own.
“We were almost overly cautious,” Lane said. “It was really important to us that our Fab Five remember the original Fab Five and be excited to take their place. But we knew the whole time we had something special with these guys.”
The new quintet — Bobby Berk, design; Karamo Brown, culture; Tan France, fashion; Antoni Porowski, food and wine; and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming — popped off the screen from the jump. Overflowing with charisma and an easy chemistry, the cast turned what could’ve been just another stop on the way to the bottom of the TV reboot barrel into a phenomenon.
Fans latched onto them too, creating memes out of things like Brown’s many bomber jackets or conspiracies about Porowski’s cooking ability. So did the participants (“heroes,” in show parlance) who at first often seemed overwhelmed by opening up their homes and their lives to five exuberant strangers, but quickly found themselves changed for the better by the experience.
Lane observed the phenomenon from the first episode. “It was so special in that last scene where you can see that he’s really sorry to see them go,” she said. “You realize that they’ve really made a difference in his life, even though it was only four days.
“This wasn’t just bulls— — so long as we treated our heroes with respect, we could really make a difference in their lives.”
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www.thewrap.com | 8/16/18
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent out a call for five-word movie summaries on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. And thousands of people responded — including “Terminator” star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It’s a refreshingly off-brand idea from the Academy, being a hell of a lot more succinct than the typical Oscar acceptance speech, and the responses have been pretty fun and often very clever. For instance, Schwarzenegger, who not surprisingly picked the plot of his career-defining hits “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2.”
CNN anchor Bill Weir picked Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir “Chinatown,” though his contribution is less a summary of the plot and more just a recitation of the film’s second most famous line.
Our personal favorite comes from Twitter user John Bousfield, who offered up this perfect summary of the plot of Christopher Nolan’s 2001 film debut “Memento”:
(For those of you who might have forgotten, Memento plays out in reverse chronological order to simulate the experience of the main character, played by Guy Pearce, who is unable to form short-term memories.)
User Alex Benjamin had this pithy take on 2004’s Tina Fey-written dramedy “Mean Girls”:
Jessie McFadden meanwhile had this to say about John Hughes’ 1985 coming-of-age classic “The Breakfast Club”:
Christopher Buehlman got a Matt Damon threefer with this sum up of the plots of “Interstellar” (where Damon plays an astronaut who must be rescued in space), “Saving Private Ryan” (where Damon plays a soldier who must be extricated from World War II France), and “The Martian” (where Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars):
Here’s Pixar’s “Up”:
A certain 1994 British romantic comedy:
Re-litigating the final scene of that one Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet movie:
Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”:
And speaking of Spielberg, people have opinions about how best to sum up “Jurassic Park.”
And quite a few “The Big Lebowski” stans showed up.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/1/18
For someone so smart, how can Mark Zuckerberg be so very, very dumb?
Maybe it’s a lack of what we used to call a “liberal arts” education — a foundation in basic philosophy, history, ethics — although they used to teach that stuff at Harvard. Maybe it’s the moral confusion we sometimes see in very leftie liberals who are afraid to offend anyone at any time.
Zuckerberg clearly does not understand that free speech is the bedrock of a democratic society, but that it has its limits. This confusion is very concerning in someone who controls as large a platform as Facebook.
For example: Holocaust denial, which is banned in both Germany and France because of the evident danger to free society posed by spreading poisonous lies. Denying the Holocaust is not an academic point of view or the result of random confusion — it is a deliberate tactic used to sustain and justify anti-Semitism. Those kinds of lies once led to the near-extinction of Zuckerberg’s own ancestral group, European Jews.
But bizarrely, Zuckerberg this week used Holocaust denial as the example of free speech that he would not want to suppress on Facebook.
In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher (one of the only journalists whom he seems to grant interviews), Zuckerberg said when asked about regulating speech on Facebook:
Here Swisher correctly interjects that this is probably not the case.
Zuckerberg plows on:
That was a lot of words, and none of them very eloquent. Did Zuckerberg just compare Holocaust deniers to himself when he misspeaks in public?
For the record, Holocaust denial is usually the textbook example of why you sometimes need to regulate speech. (Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is another one.) Instead, Zuckerberg is using it as an example of why Facebook prefers to let everyone hash it out in public.
After thoughtful people criticized him on Wednesday, Zuckerberg followed up with a note to Swisher saying he was misunderstood — “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.” But that explanation still did not reflect an understanding that this is not a subject of debate among people of good will or that Facebook should have a position on this.
Yesterday, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Abraham Cooper said that Facebook officials told the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2009 that Holocaust denial content would be removed from the platform.
“Holocaust denial is the quintessential ‘fake news,'” Cooper said in a statement. “The Nazi Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in history, allowing the canard of Holocaust denial to be posted on Facebook, or any other social media platform cannot be justified in the name of ‘free exchange of ideas’ when the idea itself is based on a falsehood.”
Get it, Mark? People who control mass communication platforms have a responsibility to think about the intent of the people using the platform. Uncomfortable as it may be, Facebook morally and ethically must make judgement calls about the content being posted. Those of us in news organizations do it every day.
The same goes for denying that the Sandy Hook massacre ever happened. It is immoral for Facebook to exercise no judgement around this content, aimed at spreading misinformation.
And yes, it’s complicated and sticky and a lot harder than coding Xs and Os.
The reality is that Zuckerbeg is winging it when it comes to making value judgements about the vast array of content on his platform. He doesn’t want to have to make decisions, dammit, that’s not why he started the thing.
Zuckerberg has demonstrated before his extreme discomfort with monitoring content, and his unwillingness to step in and make judgement calls. This moral abdication — this doing nothing — dovetails with Facebook’s profitable but questionable practice of mining the data of his users and then selling it to third parties even when he said he wasn’t doing so.
So now we can add Holocaust Denial to the list of things that the man who controls a communications platform with 2 billion-plus users does not understand.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/19/18
CAN YOU BELIEVE these cuties?? Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Bobby Berk (interior design), Karamo Brown (culture), Tan France (fashion), and Antoni Porowski (food and wine) have taken 2018 by storm with their Netflix reboot! And NOW they've been nominated for FOUR Emmys! Wow! While each of the Fab 5 are special in their own way, everyone has a [...]
perezhilton.com | 7/12/18
Keira Knightley challenges the patriarchy and flirts up a storm — with both sexes — in the first trailer for Wash Westmoreland’s indie biopic “Colette” about the early-20th-century French novelist best known in the U.S. for the novella “Gigi.”
Knightley could be gunning for her third Oscar nomination for the showy role as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris when she marries a successful writer known commonly as “Willy” (Dominic West).
Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a best-seller and a cultural sensation.
After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression.
The cast also includes Eleanor Tomlinson, Elaine Gough and Fiona Shaw.
In addition to directing, Westmoreland wrote the script with Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
Bleecker Street is planning a September 21 release.
Watch the trailer above.
www.thewrap.com | 7/11/18
Radu Jude’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” won the Grand Prix Crystal Globe, the top jury prize at the 2018 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The international competition winner tells of an artist who reenacts a real-life ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Romanian army in 1941, this time as an artistic installation.
The movie is a coproduction of six countries, led by Romania. In 2015, Jude won Berlin’s Silver Bear for best director for his film “Aferim!”
The festival at Karlovy Vary, nestled in a spa town outside Prague, Czech Republic, also awarded a special jury prize to Ana Katz’s “Sueño Florianópolis,” and awarded a best director prize to Olmo Omerzu for “Winter Flies.” Mercedes Morán (“Sueño Florianópolis”) and Moshe Folkenflik (“Redemption”) won best actress and best actor, respectively.
Vitaly Mansky’s “Putin’s Witnesses,” which featured a trove of unaired, potentially damning footage from the early days of the Russian president’s rule, took best documentary. The jury also gave special mention to Ivan I. Tverdovskiy’s “Jumpman,” about a peculiar orphan who can’t feel physical pain until his estranged mother resurfaces.
Actor and director Tim Robbins joined a long line of American stars like Robert De Niro and Casey Affleck in receiving a special prize for his contributions to world cinema, TheWrap previously reported.
“Good Time” star Robert Pattinson was also handed this year’ President’s Award.
Read the complete list of winners:
GRAND PRIX – CRYSTAL GLOBE (25 000 USD)
“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (15 000 USD)
BEST DIRECTOR AWARD
Olmo Omerzu for the film “Winter Flies”
BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Mercedes Morán for her role in the film “Sueño Florianópolis”
BEST ACTOR AWARD
Moshe Folkenflik for his role in the film “Redemption”
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“History of Love”
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
EAST OF THE WEST GRAND PRIX (15 000 USD)
EAST OF THE WEST SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (10 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY FILMS – COMPETITION
DOCUMENTARY FILMS JURY
GRAND PRIX FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (5 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
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www.thewrap.com | 7/7/18
[RFI] French President Emmanuel Macron received a rock-star welcome at Nigeria's New Afrika Shrine nightclub in Lagos on Tuesday. The venue, founded by Afrobeat star Fela Kuti, provided him the backdrop to launch his new African Cultural Season, which he hopes will change France's perception of African culture.
allafrica.com | 7/4/18
“Black Panther” and its star Chadwick Boseman won Best Movie and Best Actor at the 2018 BET Awards Sunday night, and Tiffany Haddish emerged as Best Actress for her breakout roles in multiple films, including “Girls Trip.”
Kendrick Lamar emerged as a big winner on the music front, winning Best Male Hip-Hop Artist and Best Album for “DAMN.”
Jamie Foxx hosted the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater, with Anita Baker earning a lifetime achievement award, and Nicki Minaj (above) delivering a memorable musical performance.
Here’s the complete list of winners.
Best Female R&B / Pop Artist Award
Best Male R&B / Pop Artist Award
Best Group Award
Best Male Hip Hop Artist Award
Best Female Hip Hop Artist Award
Video of the Year Award
Video Director of the Year Award
Best New Artist Award
Best Collaboration Award
Best Actress Award
Best Actor Award
Young Stars Award
Best Movie Award
Sportswoman of the Year Award
Sportsman of the Year Award
Album of the Year Award
BET Her Award
Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
The Best International Act Award
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www.thewrap.com | 6/25/18
Queer Eye‘s Fab Five have become fast friends with a few celebrities, including Gigi Hadid, Justin Theroux and Emma Stone, as well as newly engaged couple Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande.
“Couldn’t be happier for them,” Tan France told PEOPLE Now about the pair’s engagement after just a few weeks of dating.
“Super happy,” Antoni Porowski added as Jonathan Van Ness said, “And what’s crazy, what’s not crazy, everything’s crazy these days.”
When asked if any of the Fab Five could see themselves getting engaged as quickly as Davidson and Grande, both 24, did, Tan revealed his relationship history with husband Rob.
“I did, and I’ve been together with my husband for 10 years. We decided we would get married after five dates, and we’ve been together for 10 years. So it could work, you guys!” the fashion expert said.
“If it was right, I think I could,” grooming guru Van Ness shared.
“Cultural norms tell us that we have to wait a certain amount of time, but loves has no time limit, if you know now, go for it,” connoisseur of culture Karamo Brown advised.
The Saturday Night Live star finally confirmed he is engaged to Grande during Wednesday’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, telling the late-night host, “I feel like I won a contest, so sick. It’s f—ing lit, Jimmy. It’s so lit.”
RELATED: Queer Eye‘s Season 2 Features First Female and Transgender Subjects — and a Proposal!
While neither Davidson nor Grande has yet to reveal any wedding plans, Tan did share that the groom-to-be has requested his assistance.
“He has asked if I would give him a hand, and I will happily give him a hand,” the Netflix star said. “He’s a friend. We love him very much. He’s one of the best people I’ve met in a long time.”
PEOPLE confirmed Davidson and Grande’s whirlwind engagement on June 11, just weeks after they began dating in May. The comedian proposed with a dazzling 3-carat engagement ring from Manhattan-based jeweler Greg Yuna, whom he paid a jaw-dropping $93,000 in May.
“It’s a recent engagement. They’re just two people who found love quickly and make each other happy all the time. They both started talking about it this past weekend. It’s nothing they’ve been hiding,” a source close to the couple previously said.
Season 2 of Queer Eye is streaming now.
people.com | 6/21/18
Beyoncé didn’t need to go to the Met Gala this year — she and JAY-Z own the Louvre!
Along with a new nine-track album Everything Is Love, the couple dropped a new video this weekend. From its opening on a faux gargoyle to the slow reveal of Bey and Jay in front of the Mona Lisa, the Carter’s “Apes—” visuals are a tour de force.
The Ricky Saiz-directed video is also a tour de Louvre, showing off some of the museum’s beautiful locations and priceless works. Shot in two consecutive nights during their time in Paris for tour rehearsals in May, it’s a work of art involving several dozen masterpieces.
Here’s a culture lover’s guide to all of the fine art references in the video.
After a few teasing intro shots, including the gargoyle dancer in the Cour Napoleon and a brief glimpse of Delacroix’s Apollo Slays Python, music’s most famous couple appear in a slow tracking reveal in front of the world’s most enigmatic smile.
The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa (or La Joconde) was painted by Leonardo Di Vinci in the early 14th century. It’s not known precisely when the Louvre’s example was painted, but the museum’s copy is the best known of several versions. Interestingly, the model for the iconic image may have actually been a man posing! The hallmark of the museum, the painting went missing in 1911 for two years after it was stolen by an employee.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Sphinx
The video features a series of shots showing the couple seated in front of the museum’s celebrated Grande Galerie. The Winged Victory of Samothrace statue sits midway in its main stairwell, as does and the Sphinx (circa 2000 BC) — whose crypt guards the museum’s collection of Egyptology.
The Coronation of Napoleon and the work of Jacques-Louis David
Bey and Jay clearly have a thing for French neo-classicists. Their dancers work out in front of Jacques-Louis David’s epic Coronation of Napoleon (painted 1806-1807) and another painting by the master, The Intervention of the Sabine Women, also makes an appearance.
David’s celebrated portrait of Madame Récamier, a banker’s wife commissioned in 1800 can be seen (at 2:15) as well.
Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appraised by Dante and Virgil
At 2:37, the Louvre’s version of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appraised by Dante and Virgil, created by Dutch romantic painter Ary Scheffer, is seen in striking detail. The example is one of five known versions known to exist in the world — if you can’t make Paris, London or Hamburg, you can appreciate it in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Raft of the Medusa
JAY-Z steps briefly in front of Théodore Géricault’s extraordinary Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) a painting based on the true events of a shipwreck involving sharks and cannibalism. By “sampling” earlier works of John Singleton Copley and Francisco Goya, Géricault — who researched the work by interviewing survivors — created one of the earliest known “social media” events, showing the work in Paris and London while newspaper accounts of the tragedy were fresh in the public mind. The artist’s earlier 1812 painting The Charging Officer turns up at 3:23.
The Venus de Milo
Moving outside for courtyard shots in front of architect I.M. Pei’s brilliant pyramid structure, which has been the museum’s main entrance since 1989, we’re treated to the couple before the Venus de Milo. Uncovered by a farmer on the Greek island of Milos in 1820 and scurried back to France by a marine officer, she is rather modestly posed on a low pedestal down a stairwell.
Portrait d’une Femme Noire
Following a flash of Paolo Veronese’s Wedding at Cana, the clip comes to its most arresting image and perhaps, most significant reference: Portrait d’une Femme Noire (Portrait of a Black Woman). First shown at the Salon of 1800, it’s a striking work, quietly beautiful and hypnotic. It showcases extreme simplicity by an acknowledged master of the period — Marie-Guillemine Benoist, a woman.
people.com | 6/21/18
‘The Looming Tower’ Star Tahar Rahim on Playing a Muslim FBI Agent Instead of a Terrorist (as Usual)
A version of this story about Tahar Rahim first appeared in the Miniseries/Movies issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
When Tahar Rahim first met Ali Soufan, the real-life former FBI agent he plays in Hulu’s gripping limited series “The Looming Tower,” Soufan hit him with a pointed parting shot.
“He said, ‘And if you don’t accept this role, you will never again have the right to complain that you only get offers to play terrorists,'” Rahim said, laughing.
In fact, Rahim had complained about exactly that in the past. Although the French actor with Algerian ancestry had made a name for himself in such notable European films as Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet” and Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past,” he had spent fruitless years trying to land acceptable English-language projects.
“I always like to work with foreign directors, and I don’t want to be an actor of just one country,” he said. “My vision of cinema is that we can do this all over the world. And as long as you can speak another language, you should try.
“So I came to America and spent two years trying to get work. Maybe 50 percent of the parts I was offered were terrorists, and the others were stereotypical people. So I said to myself, ‘I’m done with this — maybe I’ll go to Asia and see if I can make movies there.'”
But then he landed the part of Judas Iscariot in Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene,” followed by the role in “The Looming Tower” as one of the few FBI agents who spoke Arabic in the years leading up to the 9/11 attack.
The limited series, executive produced by Dan Futterman and Alex Gibney, is full of powerhouse acting performances — Jeff Daniels, Bill Camp, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg are among the stars — but Rahim is in many ways its heart as a Muslim agent who is sick at the way his religion has been perverted.
He’s one of the few men who might have been able to prevent 9/11 if the government around him hadn’t been so inept.
With only a third of the miniseries’ scripts finished when he was offered the part, Rahim wouldn’t accept the role until he’d had a chance to speak to Soufan and hear what happened from the man who lived it. “After he told me the rest of his story, I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to do this,'” he said.
His preparation, he added, was simple. “When I met Ali, I was full of questions, like a good student who did his homework,” he said. “But when I started to talk to him, I felt stupid asking questions. I understood that the right thing to do was to just talk to the guy, to try to know him. What is his spirit, his soul? That’s more important than what he has for breakfast or what kind of soda he drinks. I wanted to spend my energy in knowing him rather than imitating him.”
In the aftermath of “The Looming Tower,” Rahim said he feels a change in his opportunities in the U.S. film industry. “”I started acting in 2008 and didn’t work in America until 2017, but I think it’s changing,” he said. “I played Judas, and then Ali Soufan, and I just finished a movie with Lone Scherfig where I play someone named Mark who runs a restaurant.
“I don’t want to stop working in France or Europe, but you have more cinema history in America. You’ve got types of movies and characters that we don’t have. I want to play a cowboy one day, I want to be in a Western. And if I want to be in a Western, I have to be in America.”
Read more of TheWrap’s Miniseries/Movies Emmy issue here.
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www.thewrap.com | 6/19/18
ANNECY, France— Annecy’s Brazil tribute looks like “the strongest showcase of the Brazilian animation sector at any festival ever,” says Brazilian Culture Minister Sergio Sá Leitão. Here’s a drill down on some – but just some – key titles. ‘ANGELI THE KILLER’ Coala Filmes A TV series in competition with the episode “A Crazy Love’s Delirium,” directed by Cesar Cabral, […]
variety.com | 6/13/18
Anthony Bourdain traveled the world in search of indigenous food and untold stories but struggled with profound loneliness. In this week’s cover story, we honor the food rebel’s final days, and his unconventional rise to fame that would touch the lives of millions.
Bourdain died of an apparent suicide inside his hotel room in Kaysersberg, a small village in the Alsace region of France, where he was filming an episode of Parts Unknown, the CNN series that chronicled the travel host’s quest for culture and cuisine. He was 61.
Those around him in the weeks before his death noticed a lighter mood, especially since the release of the June 3 Hong Kong episode of Parts Unknown, which his girlfriend Asia Argento directed.
“When I was working with him last week, he was giddy,” says CNN publicist Karen Reynolds. “He was texting me and e-mailing me, which he doesn’t normally do.”
RELATED: ‘I Like Being a Father — No, I Love Being a Father,’ and Everything Else Anthony Bourdain Has Said About Daughter Ariane
But spending some 250 days of the year on the road also took its toll. “Travel can be a struggle, because sometimes it’s easier to think of the place you’d rather be,” says Bourdain’s longtime photographer David Holloway. “He would rave about Rome, where his girlfriend lived. He would say it’s an amazing city to fall in love in.”
RELATED: Our Decision to Put the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number on This Week’s PEOPLE Cover
Raised with his brother Christopher in Leonia, N.J., by Gladys, an editor for The New York Times, and his late father, Pierre, a music industry executive, Bourdain had what he described as a “pretty normal” family: “We all ate together. I found it kind of oppressive, actually,” he told People in 2016. “I envied the broken homes of my friends because they were left alone to misbehave unsupervised.”
After two years at Vassar College, he dropped out to attend the Culinary Institute of America and eventually work as a chef where he would find the trouble he was looking for. In the 1980s Bourdain bounced from job to job at restaurants in New York City while struggling with a serious drug addiction.RELATED: Don’t Order Fish on Mondays, Plus 9 More Dining Out Tips We Learned from Anthony Bourdain
He eventually got clean in the early ’90s, and while working as the executive chef at French brasserie Les Halles in 1999, Bourdain solidified his role as a cook and a talented writer when his essay “Don’t Eat Before Reading This” was published in The New Yorker. He later expanded the article in his tell-all bestselling memoir Kitchen Confidential, which would make him famous.
For PEOPLE’s tribute to two icons: Talent & Tragedy, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.
He landed his first television show—A Cook’s Tour on the Food Network—at age 44 and in 2005 began hosting No Reservations on the Travel Channel. In 2013—by then wed to Ottavia Busia and a father—he launched Parts Unknown. It was a career he cherished. “I have the best job in the world,” he told People. “I decide where we go. If I’m not having a good time, it’s nobody’s fault, it’s a failure of the imagination.”
In 17 years on the road, Bourdain visited nearly 100 countries and left an unparalleled mark on the food industry—and the world.
“Tony’s thoughts connected with people,” says photographer Holloway. “Everyone has a picture and a story. These are real moments, because Tony was honest. People feel an honest loss.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
people.com | 6/13/18
Your best friends are back!
Netflix’s heartwarming “Queer Eye” reboot is back with Season 2, and the new trailer is here to make us teary-eyed already.
In Season 2, we’ll see a beard “that is out of order and out of date,” the Fab 5’s first female makeover, lots of tears, and… drumroll… a proposal! Honestly, we don’t know if our little hearts can take all of these warm and fuzzies.
Antoni Porowski (Food & Wine), Bobby Berk (Interior Design), Karamo Brown (Culture), Jonathan Van Ness (Grooming) and Tan France (Fashion) return to Georgia for the next round of makeovers, and will continue to forge relationships with people of different backgrounds to discuss faith, self-love, and homemade poke bowls.
“Queer Eye For the Straight Guy” creator David Collins executive produces the Netflix series, as well as his producing partners Michael Williams and Rob Eric. David Eilenberg, Adam Sher, Jennifer Lane and Jordana Hochman also executive produce in association with ITV Entertainment.
“Queer Eye” Season 2 premieres June 15 on Netflix.
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www.thewrap.com | 6/7/18
Franchises find a way. With three weeks to go until the release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the sequel to the 2015 dinosaur megahit is looking at an opening weekend of $130-$150 million.
“Jurassic World” became one of the biggest box office hits of all-time three years ago, standing as one of only six films to ever post an opening weekend of more than $200 million with its $208 million launch. It’s also one of only seven films to gross $1 billion outside the U.S. And with a global total of $1.67 billion, it held the record for the highest grossing summer release ever until “Avengers: Infinity War” passed it earlier this month.
However, as today’s tracking shows, “Fallen Kingdom” isn’t expected to match the results of its predecessor. Similar to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Jurassic World” had the anticipation that comes with being the first installment in its franchise in more than a decade.
“Fallen Kingdom” won’t have that advantage, though there will still be hopes for the film to reach $1 billion worldwide. Domestically, an opening weekend 30 percent down from “Jurassic World”‘s opening — in other worlds, in the $140 million range — would be a strong result for the sequel. “Fallen Kingdom” is on course to hit that target based on this first round of tracking, though current estimates could change substantially as the release date nears.
To get to $1 billion, Universal will start rolling out the film overseas this coming Wednesday in 48 countries, two weeks before the film’s U.S. release. Among those countries are France, Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, U.K., and UAE.
This early release is being done to give the film a week in theaters before the start of the FIFA World Cup, which traditionally weighs down overseas releases as audiences eschew the cinema in favor of watching the tournament. China, which contributed $228 million to the overseas totals for “Jurassic World,” will get “Fallen Kingdom” on June 15; while the U.S. will open day-and-date with Australia, Mexico, and South American markets.
The sequel sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return as the survivors of the Jurassic World massacre, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing. The dinosaurs have been living alone on Isla Nublar for three years, but when Claire discovers that a volcano eruption will soon kill them all, she persuades Owen to help her rescue them. Unfortunately, the pair are blindsided by an organization who plans to capture the dinosaurs for their own evil ends.
James Cromwell also stars in the film, with original “Jurassic Park” stars B.D. Wong and Jeff Goldblum returning as scientists Henry Wu and Ian Malcolm in cameo roles. J.A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls”) directed the film, with Colin Trevorrow returning as executive producer and writer for the film, sharing script credit with writing partner Derek Connolly. Steven Spielberg is also attached as executive producer.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/31/18
The new Fab Five are coming back to Netflix really, really soon.
The streaming service announced Thursday that it has set a June 15 premiere date for “Queer Eye” Season 2, just two months after the reboot was renewed for a second installment.
The new “Queer Eye” hit Netflix earlier this year, introducing us to the new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski (Food & Wine), Bobby Berk (Interior Design), Karamo Brown (Culture), Jonathan Van Ness (Grooming) and Tan France (Fashion).
Here’s the official logline for the next batch of episodes: This season, the Queer Eye Fab Five return to the Georgia heartland, forging connections with communities from a wide array of backgrounds and beliefs often contrary to their own, touching on everything from self-love and faith, to immigration and how to make the perfect homemade poke bowls and more!
“These series are indicative of what we’re trying to accomplish for Netflix unscripted: working with world-class producers to create the best unscripted shows on television,” said Bela Bajaria, vice president of content for Netflix when the show was renewed, along with several other series, in March. “These series elevate the genre with innovative takes on familiar formats. They deliver immersive and nuanced stories. They elicit so many emotions from viewers, from tears of laughter to tears of joy – and that’s just Queer Eye.”
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” creator David Collins executive produces the series under the Scout Productions banner, along with producing partners Michael Williams and Rob Eric. David Eilenberg, Adam Sher, Jennifer Lane and Jordana Hochman also executive produce for ITV Entertainment.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/24/18
Long before the red carpet was unrolled or a single film had screened, many in the press circled in on a narrative: The Cannes Film Festival, it was decided, was a festival in decline.
And the vast majority of those pieces had another thing in common: They were written outside of France. The disparity between views has never been clearer than it has this year.
While many in the international press groused about a festival in decline, their French counterparts once again seized upon the Riviera, covering Cannes with the same intensity of interest and breathless focus as others covered the Royal Wedding (if not more — Harry and Megs are over and done in a day, while this party lasted 12 days).
While many in the press — TheWrap included, admittedly — longed for sizzle, there was the cast of “Sink or Swim” flashing their pearly whites up and down the Croisette.
Broadly appealing, chalk full of stars and likely to make a splash at the French box office, the film was exactly the kind of attention-grabbing title many in the press wished had an American counterpart at this year’s festival.
The middle-aged dramedy about a bunch of sad sacks who form a synchronized swim team has a real murderer’s row of bankable local talent, including arthouse leading man Mathieu Amalric (“Ismael’s Ghosts,” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), comic star Virginie Efira (“Elle”) and heartthrob Guillaume Canet (who, alongside wife Marion Cotillard, makes up the country’s biggest celebrity couple)… and you’d better believe that all of them showed up.
Though the amiable crowd-pleaser won no points for originality, it offered the festival something of even greater importance: a dazzling red carpet, well-documented in the local press. While it offered critics little to chew on, it gave the French marketers the chance to plaster the Cannes logo upon the film’s poster, reinforcing the festival’s local prestige.
Don’t you forget: This festival is very much a product of its native country. The French government actually created it back in the 1940s, and it remains by far the largest cultural event in a land that defines itself by culture — and devotes a substantial part of its GDP to such pursuits.
Cannes occupies an almost mythic place in the French imagination, in turn receiving private and public subsidies commensurate to that heft. Despite what gets reported back, that is its primary identity.
So many of this year’s major trends stem from that. Those who remember last year’s go-round can attest that festival heads Thierry Fremaux and Pierre Lescure made Netflix feel very welcome in town. The impasse that led to this year’s blackout was not because the two honchos suddenly changed their minds. No, their hands were more or less tied by the country’s powerful exhibitor and distributor interests, many of whom sit on the festival’s board of directors.
Of course, Cannes has a powerful hand in shaping the film year — and years — to come. Think of it as the arthouse heavyweight championship, where promising new voices come to emerge as brand-name auteurs, and brand-name auteurs return to retain their title.
Some might not have heard of Nadine Labaki’s “Capharnaum” before its Thursday premiere, but heaven knows we’ll all get plenty of opportunities to misspell that title once the awards race gets into full swing. Spike Lee’s “BlackKklansman” was the most open of questions only one short week ago. Now it has ironclad critical support and a Cannes Grand Prize to its name. No account of the 2018 film year will be complete without it.
And Lee’s Grand Prize arrives, in a sense, at the expense of his “She’s Gotta Have It” partners at Netflix. Because if the festival wants to continue shaping the film year, it also has to let itself be shaped by larger local forces. Like letting French bigwigs call some shots. Like, say, programming “Sink or Swim,” and letting its glow of prestige shine down upon a film that will no doubt make exhibitors happy once it hits wide-release at the end of the year.
And hey, the film isn’t half bad! It has a fun hook and likeable stars. It’s the kind of project you can absolutely see the studios remaking in a couple years’ time.
But unless something changes soon, don’t expect to see the remake in Cannes.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/19/18
Netflix has acquired Cannes Film Festival award winners “Happy as Lazzaro” and “Girl.”
Just ahead of Cannes, the streaming service had closed a $30 million worldwide deal for the animated film “Next Gen.”
Below are the official descriptions and all of the relevant details for Netflix’s newest acquisitions and the latest Cannes sales.
“Happy as Lazzaro” (pictured above)
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www.thewrap.com | 5/19/18
After shocking the crowd in France, Gasper Noe has come away with the top prize at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, as his LSD-fueled odyssey “Climax” was awarded the Art Cinema Award by the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE).
Sold and co-produced by Wild Bunch, with A24 picking up the North American distribution rights earlier this week, “Climax” follows a dance troupe led by Sofia Boutella as they go through a physically demanding rehearsal, only to suffer the worst trip imaginable after unknowingly drinking sangria laced with LSD. Orgies, self-mutiliation and elaborate choreography to Daft Punk is included.
“The acid hits, the bottom falls out, and we’re off to the races, never looking back,” Ben Croll wrote in his review of the film for TheWrap. “The film’s style matches the various phases of the trip, with director of photography Benoit Debie’s fluid camera moving in lockstep with the legion of feral performers, tracking their bodies in unceasing motion as they dance through paranoia, ecstasy and delirium.”
Directors’ Fortnight is a sidebar run independently of the Cannes Film Festival and is officially a noncompetitive section. But several sponsors of the program hand out their own awards to films in the Fortnight.
Also winning was Gianni Zanasi’s “Lucia’s Grace,” which received the Europa Cinemas Label for the best European film at the Fortnight. Pierre Salvatore’s romantic comedy “The Trouble With You” won the SACD Prize for best French-language film. Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan’s short film “Skip Day” won the Illy Award.
“Lucia’s Grace” stars Alba Rohrwacher as a weary single-mother who is struggling with both personal and professional relationships. But her life is completely changed when she starts getting visions of a surly Virgin Mary who asks her to build a church where they first met.
“The Trouble With You” stars Adele Haenel as a detective on the French Riviera that gets entangled in an investigation as she discovers that her late husband, a supposedly heroic police officer, was actually a crooked cop deep in corruption.
“Skip Day” follows a group of high-school seniors in an industrial section of the Florida Everglades.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/17/18
John Travolta was honored with Variety’s first Cinema Icon Award at a party on Tuesday night at the Hotel du Cap in Cap d’Antibes in Southern France, following the world premiere in Cannes of his new mob biopic “Gotti.” Arriving alongside wife and co-star Kelly Preston, daughter and “Gotti” actress Ella Bleu Travolta, director Kevin […]
variety.com | 5/16/18
It’s been almost a week dodging raindrops and “No Selfies on the Red Carpet” warnings at the Cannes Film Festival, where all cylinders seem to be firing for filmmakers, sales agents and news-making stars in town.
The banished-ish Lars von Trier (“Melancholia,” “Antichrist”) returns to the festival after a seven year absence over a press conference blunder where the director said he had some sympathy for Adolf Hitler.
His latest, “The House That Jack Built,” has a first look trailer — and, as social media tells it, has festival organizers preparing for extreme reactions from the crowd.
Elsewhere, the conversation about former Cannes stalwart Harvey Weinstein continues, as embedded festival media reflect on his absence. In diametric opposition, the gender parity conversation moves from the red carpet to the big screen as films shine light on a world fighting the patriarchy.
Here’s what’s shaking in the South of France today:
Lars and His New “House”
Much has been made of von Trier’s return after being declared persona non grata by the festival in 2011, but little has been shared about what he’s bringing to the table in “The House That Jack Built.”
Ahead of his Monday night premiere, IFC Films dropped a teaser trailer for the Matt Dillon film, and it’s a doozy. The ’80s heartthrob appears to be a haphazard serial killer in the throws of an existential crisis. Uma Thurman and Riley Keough make Hitchcockian blonde cameos as von Trier seems to be commenting on his own body of work through Dillon’s character.
“Some people think that the atrocities we commit in our fiction are those inner desires we cannot commit in our controlled civilization,” Dillon’s character muses in between bashing Thurman in the face with a car jack, imprisoning Keough in a hotel room and dragging a body from the back of a van, as blood spills out onto the highway. Cute!
In the official Cannes program, a warning appears next to the film’s schedule times: “Certain scenes are likely to offend the sensitivity of the spectators.”
There’s even speculation on Twitter that the festival is putting medics on standby should moviegoers faint during the screening.
Here’s the trailer:
The Fallen “King of Cannes”
On the heels of Salma Hayek’s comments that Harvey Weinstein openly discredited her abuse claims because she’s a woman of color, one critic commented on the disgraced mogul’s absence.
“The late Harvey Weinstein (well, it feels that way) was famous for bossing the Croisette with his uniquely charming blend of proximal aggression and creative vulgarity,” writes The Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke.
He recounted a Weinstein anecdote about meeting Prince Albert of Monaco, who was allegedly introduced to the monarch by Roger Ebert as “the King of Cannes.”
A king no longer.
“The most horrible manifestations of his power lunacy have, following revelations last October, led to his virtual banishment from Cannes,” the critic said.
Equity On Film
TheWrap touched this week on the blazing dominance of women in Cannes this year, from jurors Cate Blanchett and Ava DuVernay protesting on the Croisette to Monday’s pledge from festival organizers to level a massive programming gender gap .
The unifying sentiment is perhaps a direct response to the toxic Hollywood culture exposed in the Weinstein scandal — and now it’s showing up on screen.
“Girls of the Sun” takes a hardened look at a female Kurdish unit fighting ISIS, and is being interpreted as a prism for the real-world events unfolding around the festival.
“If this year is one of reckoning for women, then ‘Girls of the Sun,’ screening in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, is the film for this era,” our own Sharon Waxman, CEO and editor-in-chief of TheWrap, wrote of the film.
“Any number of scenes swing between pathos and horror, but the film cannot possibly exaggerate the horrors that women in this part of the world have actually lived,” Waxman said.
Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times singled out “Girls” and Jafar Panahi’s “3 Faces” as titles that “battle the patriarchy.”
As political and empowering as it is to see parity steal Cannes’ thunder, it’s nice to see these social anxieties and battle cries for change show up in the movies. It is a film festival, after all.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/14/18
CANNES, France — Carlos (Cacá) Diegues presented his latest directorial feature at a Special Screening in Cannes. A celebration of magic, entertainment and cinema,”The Great Mystical Circus” is inspired by a poem from Brazilian poet Jorge de Lima. It follows a family of circus entertainers through five generations, told in a series of intertwining tales, all […]
variety.com | 5/14/18
Rehashes of the Vietnam War have become a genre onto themselves in American film — the province of prestige pictures, shoot-em-ups and even the odd romance. But France has been comparatively quieter in terms of depicting its own troubled history in Southeast Asia on the big screen.
With “To the Ends of the World,” which is showing in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar to the Cannes Film Festival, French director Guillaume Nicloux offers that slight a brutal corrective, dredging up his country’s colonialist past while offering its national cinema the widescreen, 35mm ‘nam pic it so richly deserves.
Gaspard Ulliel (of Xavier Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World”) plays Robert, a French soldier in what was then called Indochina and the sole survivor of a massacre that claimed the lives of 700 of his fellow countrymen, including his brother and pregnant sister-in-law. Given an improbable second chance at life, Robert chooses to immediately reenlist in order to track down and take vengeance on the elusive — and perhaps mythic — Viet Minh leader who ordered the attack.
On a purely visceral level, the film fits well into its long line of forbears. From the menacing green jungles to the brothels wafting with opium smoke to the tropical mists and beads of sweat that dampen every face, this is a familiar cinematic landscape. But it would be a mistake to hear La Marseillaise instead of the Star Spangled Banner and think you’re just getting “Platoon” à la Française.
For one thing, there’s the question of period. Set in 1945, the action unfurls while the embers of World War II still burn, and Nicloux uses that historical confluence to great effect. He subtly interrogates the Gallic hypocrisy of fighting to maintain colonial holdings while celebrating their own very recent liberation from German rule.
Indeed, the project’s very Frenchness (for lack of a better word) is what makes it so damned interesting. While “To the Ends of the World” may look and feel like your standard war pic, it speaks like a European art film, focusing on the ennui, indecision and violent stillness felt by Robert and his not-so-merry band of cohorts.
Stuck in that recognizable military morass, Robert turns his focus inward, obsessing over his unrequited love for prostitute Maï (Lang-Khê Tran), butting heads in games of machismo with fellow soldier Cavagna (Guillaume Gouix) and contemplating the provocations of expat author Saintong (Gérard Depardieu, of course), who responds to the brutality around him with the weariness a man many times singed by the fires of nationalism.
Confronted by some latest act of savagery committed on the Western settlers, Saintong simply replies, “Beheading is a French tradition.”
The film is rather like “Platoon,” however, in its morbid fascination with war’s effect on the human body. Robert’s own weariness is woven into his sunken cheeks and his broken spirit amplified by an unchanging wardrobe that grows baggier as the story goes on.
Curiously, Nicloux shies away from depicting any real on-screen violence, instead focusing on the mangled remains that rot on the ground and fester in the mind long after the perpetrators have fled.
In a way, this is a much more devious strategy. We’ve all seen firefights before, but once you stagger out of this one, with its necklace of human tongues and leech infections in the worst place a man could ever fear, you’ll have seen things you can only wish to forget. Talk about taking the war home with you.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/12/18
Most thought this would be a slow Cannes Film Festival, but we’re already on day four and movies have been bought, there’s a bidding war going on, and well, Jean-Luc Godard is back to mess with our heads.
Saban Films picked up the rights to two movies in the last two days, while Bleecker Street and Netflix (the latter of which backed out of submitting any films for the competition) have also emerged as players in the market.
Jessica Chastain’s female spy thriller “355” sparked a heated bidding war, with Universal emerging as the victor in an eight-figure deal.
Meanwhile, everyone else is still trying to get that one selfie on the red carpet despite a no-selfie policy — or get another glimpse at jury president Cate Blanchett.
See what everyone talked about during the fourth day at Cannes:Acquisitions, Acquisitions
May 11 saw the acquisitions of quite a heap of films. Neon acquired the troll love story “Border” following its world premiere at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section, while Bleecker Street picked up the rights to Mads Mikkelsen’s survival drama “Arctic.” The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday night.
Saban Films bought the rights to Keanu Reeves’ “Siberia,” a thriller by director Matthew Ross in the market that also stars Ana Ularu and Molly Ringwald.
In what might be the biggest deal so far at Cannes, Netflix picked up the worldwide rights, excluding China, to the animated film “Next Gen” for $30 million.
Netflix pulled out of submitting films to this year’s festival after organizers implemented a new rule that bans any films that don’t have theatrical distribution in France. The streaming company had the option to screen films out of competition — but passed.Speaking of Saban Films…
Saban Films sure is spending money this year. At the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Saban bought the North American rights to Craig William Macneill’s “Lizzie,” in partnership with Roadside Attractions.
The distributor has been busy at Cannes as well, having bought Gerard Butler’s “Keepers” on Thursday and Reeves’ “Siberia” on Friday. Saban came to conquer Cannes, that’s for sure.Jessica Chastain’s ‘355’ Bidding War
Everyone wanted a piece of “355,” Jessica Chastain’s female all-star spy thriller that will also star Lupita Nyong’o, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Fan Bingbing. Simon Kinberg (“X-Men; Dark Phoenix”) will direct.
Early Saturday, Universal announced it had acquired U.S. distribution rights to “355” in what the studio said was “a competitive situation” — i.e., a bidding war — believed to be worth eight figures.
Jean-Luc Godard’s newest film “The Image Book” debuted on Friday at Cannes, and early reviews are as jumbled and convoluted as the film itself seems to be.
“THE IMAGE BOOK: who f—in’ knows,” wrote one critic, while another said, “What do you want me to say?”
TheWrap’s Steve Pond wrote in his review: “‘The Image Book’ requires stamina, or more accurately surrender. (A section of the Grand Theatre Lumiere balcony devoted to press had at least a dozen walkouts during the film.)”
See some tweets about the film below.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/12/18
Netflix has acquired the worldwide rights to the animated film “Next Gen” for $30 million, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap.
The animated feature is directed by Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander. The worldwide distribution deal does not include China. The film features the voice cast of Jason Sudeikis, David Cross, Michael Peña and Constance Wu.
CAA Media Finance Group negotiated the deal that is one of the biggest deals to come out of the Cannes Film Festival so far.
“Next Gen” tells the story of two unlikely friends in a robot-filled world. The movie is based on the original comic 7723 by Wang Nima from Baozou, and Baozou is the producer and financier of the film.
Netflix pulled out of submitting films to the Cannes Film Festival this year after organizers implemented a new rule that bans any films that don’t have theatrical distribution in France. The streaming company had the option to screen films out of competition.
Deadline first reported the news.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/11/18
It is hard to find a French person born before 1960 who does not recall the upheaval that changed French culture and society over the course of a few weeks of often violent protest.
www.nytimes.com | 5/5/18
During the major strikes and student uprisings in France that year, the École des Beaux-Arts turned itself into a workshop for revolutionary messages.
www.nytimes.com | 5/4/18
Sir Ringo Starr has a birthday coming up, and to celebrate he wants us all to spread a little Peace and Love.
Everyone’s favorite knight of the realm will observe turning 78 on July 7 by inviting the world to come together in a moment of peace, love and unity. Starr himself will be in Nice, France at the Hard Rock Cafe — a fitting location considering he started the tradition 10 years ago at the Chicago branch of the franchise. But don’t worry if you can’t make the trip. All he asks is for everyone — everywhere — to think, say, or post “#PeaceandLove” at noon their local time, thus creating a wave of positivity that will travel across the globe.
The annual celebration began in 2008, when an interviewer casually asked Starr what he wanted for his birthday. The answer, of course, was “Peace and Love.” Since then, the idea has flourished into an international event, earning sponsors including Hard Rock and The David Lynch Foundation, an organization that teaches meditation to at risk individuals.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday, or a better gift I could ask for, than Peace and Love,” he says in a statement. “I was blown away last year with how far this idea keeps spreading — we started in New Zealand, had people sending Peace and Love from Antarctica, Japan, Costa Rica, India, Russia, Brazil, Europe, London, Liverpool and Hawaii. It was so far out. So here we are 10 years later and it keeps growing.”
Kicking off the festive mood, Starr has released a new music video for “Give More Love,” the title track to his 2017 album.
“There are a lot of people hurting out there, and if we give nothing else we have to give love,” he told PEOPLE of the song’s message in September. “I try and do that to the best of my ability. We have to remember we are not saints—sometimes there’s the other attitude, the reactive. I try not to get too much of that. But we’re doing the best we can.”Want to keep up with the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
This fall, the rock legend will spread Peace and Love in person as he heads out on the road with his All-Starr Band. Check out tour dates below.
Sept 1: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tulsa, OK
people.com | 4/21/18
Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, Denis Villeneuve, Chang Chen, Robert Guédiguian, Khadja Nin, Léa Seydoux and Andrey Zvyagintsev have been named members of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival Jury.
They will join Cate Blanchett, who was previously named president of the jury at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.
During the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the jury is made up of five women and four men, only the third time that women have made up a majority of the jury. All three times have come in the last 10 years.
The jurors are of seven nationalities and from five continents.
Blanchett marks the first female jury president since Jane Campion served in 2014. Other women to take on the role this century include Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert and Liv Ullmann. It is the 12th time in festival history a woman has headed the jury. Director, screenwriter and actress Jeanne Moreau served twice, with all others putting in one year each.
The Cannes Film Festival will take over the south of France from May 8-19.
See the full bios for the jury members courtesy of the festival organizers below.
Chang Chen – Chinese actor
Ava DuVernay – American writer, director, producer
Robert Guédiguian – French director, writer, producer
His film credits include “Marie-Jo et ses deux amours” (2002) “Le Promeneur du Champ de Mars” (2004) “Le Voyage en Arménie” (2007) “Lady Jane” (2008) “L’armée du crime” (2009) “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (2011). His latest film in date, “The House by the Sea” (2017), received enthusiastic response from critics and audience.
Khadja Nin – Burundian songwriter, composer, singer
Léa Seydoux – French actress
Kristen Stewart – American actress
Denis Villeneuve – Canadian director, writer
Andreï Zvyagintsev – Russian director, writer
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www.thewrap.com | 4/18/18
Netflix is threatening to withhold its films from screening at the Cannes Film Festival, a potential move that follows the festival’s change in competition rules which target the streaming giant, according to a filmmaker with ties to Netflix.
A filmmaker told TheWrap that they are of the understanding that Netflix will not participate in Cannes this year, but a final decision won’t be made until April 12, when Cannes announces its official lineup.
Netflix declined to comment, and representatives for Cannes did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In order to qualify for competition at the festival, a film has to have distribution in France. Conversely, Netflix believes that its films should have day-and-date releases on the platform, which has been a thorn in the industry’s side.
Netflix’s approach to distribution has frequently led to debate over whether it should be eligible for Academy Award recognition. This Cannes move could have big implications, as Netflix continues to attract high-profile filmmakers.
Last year, Netflix had two films in competition at Cannes — Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” and Bong Joon-Ho’s “Okja.” The French National Cinema Federation, a group representing the country’s theater owners, had called on Netflix to release its films in French theaters. This led to festival organizers changing the rules.
“After consulting its Members of the Board, the Festival de Cannes has decided to adapt its rules to this unseen situation until now: any film that wishes to compete in Competition at Cannes will have to commit itself to being distributed in French movie theaters,” festival organizers wrote at the time. “This new measure will apply from the 2018 edition of the Festival International du Film de Cannes onwards.”
Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings then took to Facebook, complaining that, “The establishment closing ranks against us. See Okja on Netflix June 28th. Amazing film that theatre chains want to block us from entering into Cannes film festival competition.”
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the decision by Netflix.
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www.thewrap.com | 4/7/18
What does the West want from Russia by stirring up the frenzy about the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal? Can Moscow tone the scandal down? Why doesn't Russian officials follow the example of the British Secretary of Defence, who publicly asked Russia to "go away and shut up?" What lessons should we learn from this scandal? Pravda.Ru talked about it in an interview with political scientist Karina Gevorkyan. "The events that took place in the UK fit into the scenario to delegitimize the Russian state, the Russian authorities, the Russian elites - everything. All of us, all of Russia, should just die, you see? This confrontation between Russia and the West will last forever. Russia is not exotic for the West like China, India or the Middle East. The West perceives the world as its prey, and Russia an alien, a shadow that must be killed. We can see it in many aspects of life - in history, in literature, in culture in general."Russia does not want to be like the West, she does not want to become a part of it, and every time the West tries to suppress Russia, Russia fights back. They hate it, and they can never accept the fact that Russia wants to preserve its own identity. "The West has been trying to deprive Russia of its historical identity for a very long time, because they see it as harmful and dangerous. One very smart and experienced English intelligence officer said in one of his interviews said that the British Foreign Ministry would rotate diplomats in Moscow every two years because they "fall in love with the Russians." "The West sees Russia as another Syria. For Western politicians, Syrian President Bashar Assad is a monster, who has infants for breakfast and then goes to poison civilians with chemical weapons in the afternoon. The West has delegitimised Assad - Western countries will never recognise his power because of their own accusations that they ascribe to him. "They think that they can break Russia and take her with their bare hands. They saw that the nation did not even move when the Soviet Union collapsed, so they assume that the nation will not move now either. "The world order that existed before the collapse of the Soviet Union had been working after WWII too. Special services would interact, and there were special agreements between them. For example, after the Second World War, if one country would arrest a foreign spy, they would not be allowed to use any type of psychological or physical pressure against the spy. I once talked to a veteran of the foreign intelligence service, a very experienced person, and was very surprised when he told me that they were following those rules indeed. There were no broken bone or anything. The French, however, had broken those rules several times, so both the British and the Soviet intelligence would treat the French intelligence with a certain amount of arrogance, because they considered them bonebreakers. "Then in the 1970s they agreed not to dig into personal life of intelligence officers. Those things were untouchable, even though it may seem very strange nowadays. "Now let's look at the case of Sergei Skripal. The most evil prosecutor here is British Prime Minister Theresa May. The British are incredibly eccentric people, they sometimes may do wild things, and they are aware of that. Theresa May marches here alongside Boris Johnson. "France and Germany took on the role of good investigators. They believe that the Salisbury incident was terrible, but one needs to look into it in detail. Of course, the UK instructed them what to say and what to do, but France and Germany still prefer to maintain a semblance of objectivity."All of a sudden, the United States that has always been the fist of this transnational paradigm, wants to act as the judge in this case. "This reminds me of a remarkable caricature that appeared in 1903 or 1905 in the American comic magazine Puck. Russia was shown there in the form of a bearded peasant, untidy, gloomy and stooped, standing on a pedestal with frightened representatives of other nations around him - the Japanese, the Turks, the French, the Germans, the British, the Americans - and they all look very noble. The vile, ugly and terrible Russia is judged by the spirit of civilisation, an androgyne, a cross between Apollo and the Statue of Liberty, a hermaphrodite, a beautiful creature rising above in impeccable white robes."Pravda.RuRead article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
www.pravdareport.com | 4/5/18
The culture of France and of the French people has been shaped by geography, by profound historical events, and by foreign and internal forces and groups. France, and in particular Paris, has played an important role as a center of high culture and of decorative arts since the seventeenth century, first in Europe, and from the nineteenth century on, world wide. From the late nineteenth century, France has also played an important role in cinema, fashion and cuisine. The importance of French culture has waxed and waned over the centuries, depending on its economic, political and military importance. French culture today is marked both by great regional and socioeconomic differences and by strong unifying tendencies.