It wasn’t hard to figure out who the guest of honor was when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences threw a Cannes Film Festival cocktail party on Friday night. Sure, the guests included studio heads and a number of notable filmmakers from the indie and documentary worlds — but the guy everybody wanted to talk to or be photographed with was Dexter Fletcher, who the night before had premiered his Elton John musical “Rocketman” at the festival to a lengthy standing ovation.
Mainstream commercial movies aren’t guaranteed winners at Cannes, which can be a snobbish place and has turned up its nose at the likes of “Robin Hood,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “The BFG” in the past. But the thoroughly pleasing “Rocketman” was a home run for Fletcher and for Paramount Pictures, and a love fest for its subject. As the festival comes to the end of its first weekend, Cannes is still searching for any artier movie that will generate the kind of enthusiasm Fletcher’s popcorn flick generated.
With 12 of the 21 main-competition titles already screened — along with about half of the Un Certain Regard section and most of the Out of Competition and Special Screenings sections — the most common response to the inevitable “How’s your festival going?” question is clearly something along the lines of, “Good, but I haven’t seen anything that’s really knocked me out.”
In that climate, an enjoyable commercial movie can be the hit of Cannes for a few days at least, though many of its admirers are probably now counting down the days until Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Sony release “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” hits the Croisette on Tuesday.
But there’s something very un-Cannes-like about a festival whose buzziest films are a major-studio rock ‘n’ roll movie and a major-studio Tarantino one. You can take the lack of heat (or bidding wars) as indicative of an ailing indie marketplace in the U.S., where some buyers have disappeared, others are cautious and nobody’s quite sure where streamers like Netflix (absent so far) and Amazon (a modest deal for “Les Miserables”) stand.
Still, it’ll be instructive to see what happens with Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which premiered on Sunday. It’s a strong enough film to be a potential lure for the likes of Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features and Fox Searchlight, the latter of which did well with Malick’s last standout film, “The Tree of Life,” in the days before Searchlight’s parent company was absorbed by Disney.
“A Hidden Life” was one of a trio of films that made for an unusually strong Sunday lineup. The other two received even more positively. Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” was singled out by reviewers as a particularly ravishing entry, and Robert Eggers’ two-person tour de force “The Lighthouse” with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, created a furor down the Croisette at Directors’ Fortnight.
Those films suggest that this could be a late-blooming Cannes, that the indies could make some noise once Paramount and Sony have done their thing. And truth be told, even with the lack of a knockout surprise or two, the quality has been consistently strong over the first six days.
And consistently grim, too. Ladj Ly’s “Les Miserables” is an unsparing portrait of police violence and societal corruption in Paris, and Corneliu Porumboiu’s “The Whistlers”is a blackly comic look at the same thing in Romania. Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” adds a touch of magical realism to a heartbreaking story of refugees fleeing Africa, while Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You” is a devastating indictment of the ways in which the gig economy can cheat the working class.
Brazilian directors Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles throw in some genre trappings with their brutal social commentary in “Bacurau,” and two films examine the commodification of love in dramatically different ways: Jessica Hausner’s “Little Joe” is a cautionary tale about genetic engineering replete with horror-movie trappings, while Werner Herzog’s “Family Romance, LLC” is a quietly creepy depiction of a (real-life) Tokyo company that rents out substitute family members.
(Even the jokey opening-night zombie movie, Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die,” is a message flick in which the dead rise because the Earth’s axis has been shifted by, um, polar fracking. Really.)
These are dark films for a dark age, and they give this year’s Cannes a strong personality even beyond what the festival says about the state of the film business.
Meanwhile, the race for the Palme d’Or heated up over the weekend with the arrival of the Sciamma and Malick films, which figure to challenge Loach (vying for a record-breaking third Palme win with “Sorry We Missed You”) and Pedro Almodovar (looking for his first-ever win with the beautifully reflective memory piece “Pain and Glory,” which figures to strike a chord with jury president Alejandro G. Inarritu, at least).
Still to come are the Dardenne brothers, also in search of their third Palme, along with Ira Sachs, Bong Joon Ho, Xavier Dolan, Elia Suleiman — and, oh yeah, that Tarantino guy, who should be taking Cannes by storm on Tuesday.
Maybe by then we’ll have moved on from “Rocketman.”
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www.thewrap.com | 5/20/19
When Corneliu Porumboiu began making films in Romania just after the turn of the century, we knew what Romanian cinema was like — or, at least, we knew what the branch that came to be known as the Romanian New Wave was like. The movement, one of the most vital cinematic eruptions of the 2000s, was full of dark, minimalist, realist films that depicted, either overtly or implicitly, a society that was rotten to the core.
There’s some of that in Porumboiu’s “The Whistlers,” which had its world premiere on Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is dark and it’s set in a world where you can’t trust anyone — but it’s also got John Wayne and Alfred Hitchcock homages and enough twists and turns to require a detailed scorecard.
“The Whistlers” is no minimalist slice of realism, but an oversized, deliciously twisted ride that runs on an endless supply of black humor and a sizeable body count. You won’t laugh much while you’re watching it, but it’s a hoot nonetheless.
And while it doesn’t feel like a typical entry in the genre that was launched to international attention by Cristi Puiu’s “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” and Cristian Mungiu’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” that’s to be expected. The movement long ago morphed into a group of creative filmmakers going in whatever direction they wanted, with a jaundiced view of society and a dark humor being the only constants.
And a humor that’s so black you can barely see it has long been one of Porumboiu’s go-to skills. His brilliantly exasperating drama “Police, Adjective,” which won the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2009, was a procedural that deliberately bogged down in endless semantic arguments; you either surrendered to its talkiness or you threw up your hands in frustration, and either way the director was probably fine with your reaction.
“The Whistlers” is his first film to make it into Cannes’ main competition, though the writer-director has had success at the festival through the years — not just “Police, Adjective,” but also his short “A Trip to the City (Calatorie la oras),” which won second place in the Cinefondation competition in 2004, his debut feature, “12:08 East of Bucharest,” which took the Camera d’Or as the best first film at Cannes in 2006 and his 2015 film “The Treasure,” which won the Un Certain Talent award in UCR.
The new film is about Cristi, a police officer who comes to Gomera, a rocky outcropping described as “the jewel of the Canary Islands” by a chirpy tour guide. He’s been sent to help free an imprisoned businessman, Zsolt, but first he has to learn a local language that consists entirely of whistling; the idea is that if he knows it, he can communicate without tipping off the various private and governmental forces who are tracking and watching his every move.
The whistling language is ridiculous but presented with the utmost earnestness (and conveniently subtitled). Cristi’s mission, though, is all but doomed from the start. Nobody trusts anybody else, everybody is cutting deals and making double-crosses at every opportunity, and Cristi is under such close scrutiny that the colleague who recruits him has to pose as a high-priced hooker for the surveillance cameras in his house. (She does a thorough and convincing job.)
The labyrinthine plot can be hard to follow, but the deadpan humor keeps things moving. Porumboiu is in a playful mood from the moment the film opens with Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” blasting on the soundtrack to the “Psycho” reference that pops up in violent scene near the end.
Nobody’s innocent, hardly anybody survives and the ride is stylish fun the whole bloody way.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/18/19
It won’t exactly be on a par with Oscars nominations morning, but Monday will be one of the biggest December days in the history of the Academy Awards.
That’s because for the first time, the Academy isn’t systematically doling out the short lists of films that remain in contention. Instead, they’re dropping all the lists at once in a single press release that will trim the fields in Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Song and six other categories.
One drop, nine categories, a total of 101 films that’ll get good news and far more that’ll be disappointed.
The strategy of dumping all the Oscars short lists at once has not been greeted with universal approval. For one thing, contenders in the different categories were used to having their individual moments in the spotlight. Music Branch voters, who are facing a pair of short lists for the first time, now have far less time to listen and decide than they used to. And pundits will need to whip up instant analysis in nine categories simultaneously.
But that’s the new rule, and all the lists will be out on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 17.
(By the way, we hear that the news will come out in the afternoon because the procrastinators on the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee aren’t getting together until Monday morning to decide which three songs they’ll be adding to the six-film short list chosen by Oscars voters.)
Here’s the category-by-category breakdown of what will be coming on Monday.
Best Foreign Language Film
Three films seem guaranteed to land a spot: Mexico’s “Roma,” Poland’s “Cold War” and Lebanon’s “Capernaum.” Belgium’s “Girl” isn’t far behind, and voters reportedly adored Germany’s “Never Look Away.” Denmark’s “The Guilty” is a satisfying film that impressed voters, Sweden’s “Border” a twisted one that did the same.
The executive committee that adds three films to the shortlist may be hard-pressed not to take one or both of the two Asian standouts, South Korea’s “Burning” and Japan’s Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters.” And watch out for the Paraguayan film, “The Heiresses,” which has strong support in both the general and executive committees.
Other possibilities include Iceland’s “Woman at War,” Norway’s “What Will People Say,” Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” Hungary’s “Sunset” and Romania’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.”
Best Documentary Feature
The four box-office hits that made this one of the best years ever for nonfiction filmmaking should all land on the list: “Free Solo,” “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers” and the de facto frontrunner, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (On the other hand, it’d be uncharacteristic of the Academy not to leave at least one of them off the final list of five nominees, and not entirely surprising if one of them doesn’t make the short list.)
Ever since the doc-branch rules were changed to do away with special screening committees in this category, voters have gravitated toward the films that have gotten the most buzz and received the most nominations for the IDA Awards, the Cinema Eye Honors and the like. That should mean that critical and awards favorites like “Minding the Gap,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Crime + Punishment,” “Bisbee ’17,” “Dark Money,” “Of Fathers and Sons” and “Shirkers” will all be in contention. And watch out for the Spanish film “The Silence of Others,” a potential sleeper.
We also shouldn’t rule out documentary legend Frederick Wiseman for “Monrovia, Indiana,” or other well-received docs like “On Her Shoulders,” “The Bleeding Edge” and “United Skates.” On the showbiz doc front, movies like “Hal,” “Filmworker” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache” have a shot, as does the released-at-last Aretha Franklin movie “Amazing Grace” and the Quincy Jones doc “Quincy,” whose subject has been highly visible on the campaign circuit lately. And I refuse to abandon hope that voters will recognize Eugene Jarecki’s sharp Elvis-and-America meditation “The King.”
Finally, Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the followup to the top-grossing nonfiction film of all time, has been bypassed by nearly all the precursor awards and may well be left off of this one as well. But Moore could still find a way in — after all, he was the prime mover on the changes that led to the current method of picking the short list, and he’s still a strong voice in the doc world.
Best Original Song
The two music categories are introducing short lists for the first time ever, presumably in order to give all the members of the music branch to hear and consider the 15 semi-finalists before voting for nominations. But that means they have less time to consider all the contenders, which this year number more than 70 in the song category.
Yes, we know that “Shallow,” the one song entered from “A Star Is Born,” will make it. And probably at least one of the two songs entered from “Mary Poppins Returns.” The Music Branch’s taste for hip-hop might be tested by “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” but why wouldn’t they want Kendrick Lamar at the Oscars?
They also have to consider songs from luminaries like Dolly Parton (“Girl in the Movies” from “Dumplin'”), Annie Lennox (“Requiem for a Private War” from “A Private War”), plus two competitive songs from movies about Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” (written by nine-time nominee Diane Warren) and “Here Comes the Change” from “On the Basis of Sex.” “Revelation” from “Boy Erased” has a real shot, as does “Gravity” from “Free Solo.” And if they want to get truly adventurous, how about the Coup’s “OYAHYTT” from “Sorry to Bother You,” or Thom Yorke’s “Suspirium” from “Suspiria”? (Would the Radiohead frontman show up at the Oscars?)
The branch is well known for taking care of its own, which can’t hurt past winner Carole Bayer Sager’s “Living in the Moment” from “Book Club.” They also tend to like songs that are performed onscreen — which, in addition to being one more reason “Shallow” will get in, could help the songs from “Hearts Beat Loud,” the quintessential but twisted Disney-princess anthem from “Ralph Breaks the Internet” or the fatalistic cowboy tune “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
And then there are songs from Patti Smith and Robyn Hitchcock and Elton John and Arlissa and Quincy Jones and Post Malone and Kendra Smith and Aoife O’Donovan and Imagine Dragons and Sade and David Crosby … It’s a deep list, not a shallow one. (Sorry.)
Best Original Score
As usual, more than 100 scores are in contention, with early awards singling out a group that includes “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “A Quiet Place,” “Mary Queen of Scots” and “Green Book.” Most and perhaps all of those should make the list, with other contenders including “BlacKkKlansman,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “The Hate U Give,” “Hereditary,” “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Red Sparrow,” “The Predator” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
This is a category that’ll likely have three nominees, and one known for nominating films that won’t show up in any other category. This year, that could mean a “Suspiria” appearance on the short list. “Black Panther” and “The Avengers: Infinity War” will certainly be in play — and since makeup designed to make actors look like other people is usually a mainstay in the category, look for “Vice” and “Stan & Ollie” to show up as well. “Mary Queen of Scots” could make the cut too. And will Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury teeth from “Bohemian Rhapsody” be enough to land that film a spot?
If a foreign film gets in, as one sometimes does (“A Man Called Ove,” “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”), it could be “Border,” which turned a couple of actors into trolls.
Best Visual Effects
A committee from the Visual Effects Branch has already narrowed the field to 20 films, so now it’s just a matter of cutting that number in half. The elaborate visions of “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Black Panther,” “Ready Player One” and perhaps “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” are clearly contenders, with the subtler effects of “First Man” and the more retro charms of “Mary Poppins Returns” definitely in the mix as well.
Dark horses could include “Christopher Robin” and “Paddington 2” for their blend of live action and CG figures, and the stop-motion “Isle of Dogs,” which would be following in the footsteps of recent nominee “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Several late-breaking films have a shot as well, including “Aquaman,” “Bumblebee” and “Welcome to Marwen.”
Best Documentary Short
The shorts categories are hard to predict because most of the films haven’t been widely seen. But Academy volunteers have been watching them to compile the three lists, and it’s possible to pick up some buzz from festival screenings and awards campaigns.
Netflix has been a major player in doc shorts recently (it won its first Oscar for “The White Helmets”), and this year it has “Zion,” “Out of Many, One,” “End Game” and “Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane,” at least two of which should end up on the list. The New York Times Op-Docs series has “Dulce,” “Earthrise,” “We Became Fragments” and the wry and well-liked “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes,” the only short nominated by both the IDA Awards and Cinema Eye Honors.
Other IDA and Cinema Eye nominees include “Black Sheep,” “Baby Brother,” “Concussion Protocol,” “Fear Us Women,” “Lifeboat,” “Los Comandos,” “Mosul,” “Sidelined,” “Skip Day,” “The Girl and the Picture,” “Volte” and “We Are Not Done Yet.” The DOC NYC short list also singled out “’63 Boycott,” “The Head & the Hand,” “RX Early Detection” and “Take Back the Harbor,” while “Lotte That Silhouette Girl” tells the story of a woman animation pioneer from the pre-Disney days and could be attractive to the Academy.
Best Animated Short
The Annie Awards, the top prize given to animated films, singled out “Grandpa Walrus,” “Lost & Found,” “Solar Walk,” “Untravel” and “Weekends.” Pixar’s big short this year is “Bao,” and Pixar’s big short usually gets nominated. DreamWorks Animation, which has less consistent success in the category, is represented by “Bilby” and “Bird Karma.”
Other possibilities include “La Noria,” “Animal Behavior,” “Crow: The Legend” and “Age of Sail,” a Google Spotlight VR short made by John Kahrs, who won an Oscar for “Paperman.” “Raccoon and the Light,” “Daisy,” “The Green Bird” and “Re-Gifted” qualified by winning Student Academy Awards, while “The Driver Is Red” won the industry prize at theWrap’s ShortList Film Festival.
Best Live-Action Short
In a category where it’s almost impossible to get an overview of the field unless you’re a festival shorts programmer, standouts include “Fauve,” “Wren Boys,” “Skin” and “Bonbone,” as well as “Souls of Totality,” featuring Tatiana Maslany, and “Dear Chickens,” with Philip Baker Hall.
Timely films about the refugee crisis in Europe include “Bismillah” and “Magic Alps,” and Student Academy Award qualifiers are “Spring Flower,” “Lalo’s House,” “This Is Your Cuba,” “Get Ready With Me,” “Almost Everything” and “A Siege”; if history is any guide, at least one of them will make the list.
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www.thewrap.com | 12/14/18
There is something very fascinating about a movie that doesn’t try to appease its audience. It could go awry (like whatever is going on in “Vice”), or it could be writer-director Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux” — a pretty, messy, unapologetic indictment on pop culture that is too on-the-nose to be taken seriously, but still manages to make some actually solid points about the commercialization of the tragic celebrity.
Still, it comes off as a very expensive, mildly interesting melodrama that doesn’t have nearly the impact it probably thinks it does.
The action, such as it is, kicks off in the year 1999, when 13-year-old Celeste (Raffey Cassidy, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”), a budding performer, sustains a life-threatening spinal injury in a school shooting. She’s left understandably traumatized by the event and has to undergo a substantial amount of physical therapy. Things turn around for Celeste when she stands up in front of her Staten Island church filled with family members of the deceased shooting victims, steadies herself with a walker while wearing a neck brace, and belts out the sorrowful yet sweet lyrics to an original tune that “would become an anthem for the nation,” as the narrator (Willem Dafoe) states.
The optics alone, that of a weakened young girl with an angelic voice, are what ultimately seduces the mourning crowd to the point where — wait for it — “the entire country fell in step with her sentiment. It was not her grief; it was theirs. No longer her experience, they reclaimed it as their own.”
It’s the contrivance of a star being born in this precise moment (propelled by an even more forced narration) that sets the tone for the whole movie and makes its most potent, albeit well-known, statement that tragedy in superstardom sells. It’s the very platform on which Celeste’s star idolatry will rely, catapulting her to become one of the most adored singers in the world.
But even more uncomfortable to reckon with is how self-aware and intentional she is about this. Throughout her life (the film follows her to age 31 when she’s played by Natalie Portman), Celeste never even removes her neck brace. Instead, she turns it into a bedazzled accessory she wears to remind audiences of who she is: the teenage shooting victim. She’s making sure money stays in the bank.
Highlighting the perversity of monetizing tragedy, and celebrities’ calculated participation in this ritual for their own gain, is something “Vox Lux” does well. It’s uncomfortable to even consider that one of your favorite pop stars has been doing the same act, and how you might have been enabling them to do so. But the movie confronts the very idea of why something like the “sob stories” segment on reality competition shows like “American Idol” have always clenched audiences: Because they build a fanbase that might not have ever happened otherwise in today’s oversaturated, dark climate in which everyone is looking for even a sliver of hope and humanity, even if it’s fake.
If this sounds cynical, that’s because it’s supposed to be. The movie isn’t trying to make you feel good or even to like Celeste. In fact, when it resets midway through with its tragic heroine as an adult, it turns into a full-blown (and unnecessary) melodrama, by which point she’s been ravaged by drugs, unchecked rage, and the pressure to constantly have to live her life within the parameters of her trauma.
But because there isn’t a gradual evolution of her character (more like a sharp jolt, when a leather-clad Portman shows up led only by yet another explanatory narration), it feels garish and unsupported. Then again, maybe that’s the point — a brash awakening to show her audience what a mess they made by their need to see her for what she represents rather than who she is.
It’s all so clichéd, though. That’s where “Vox Lux” stumbles, even when it really is trying to tell us something we may need to hear through the gaze of an impenitent protagonist. It ultimately comes back to something we’ve seen before: a wilted pop star on the edge.
This more ostentatious second half of the film vacillates between Celeste’s outbursts and meltdowns as she attempts to bond with her estranged teenage daughter (also played by Cassidy) and to prepare for a concert, which conveniently occurs on the same day as another mass shooting. It’s a perverse one-day snapshot leading up to an extravagant performance in front of yet another anxious crowd eager to be allayed by the easy pop melodies of their all-American idol.
Though it relies far too heavily on the use of narration to advance holes in the dialogue, and at times treads too deeply into tired territory, “Vox Lux” does at least try to confront an undiscussed truth about today’s pop culture within a sociopolitical context. Plus, Portman and Raffidy (as well as Stacy Martin, who plays Portman’s unappreciated sister Eleanor) deliver solid performances in this relentlessly, effectively miserable narrative.
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www.thewrap.com | 12/5/18
British singer Jessie J has captured the heart of one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors.
The singer, 30, is dating Channing Tatum, a source told PEOPLE.
“It’s very new,” the insider said.
Jessie J is well-known for her pop lyrics and vocals and has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry.
Here are six things to know about the “Domino” singer.
She’s Made Hit Songs for Miley Cyrus and Chris Brown
Before making it big with her own hits like “Domino” and “Price Tag,” Jessie J (born Jessica Ellen Cornish) wrote “Party in the U.S.A.” for Miley Cyrus in 2009. The song became a hit and made a lasting impact on the singer.
“Party in the U.S.A. paid my rent for, like, three years,” she told Glamour UK in 2014. “Actually it was longer than that. That’s where I get most of my money. I write songs. I’m a singer. I love doing endorsements and stuff, but that’s all added on.”
She’s also written Chris Brown’s “I Need This.”
She Got Heat for Saying Her Bisexuality ‘Was a Phase’
In 2011, Jessie J told The Telegraph she was bisexual but backtracked on her comments in an interview with The Mirror in April 2014.
“For me, it was a phase,” she said. “But I’m not saying bisexuality is a phase for everybody.”
“I feel that if I continue my career not speaking on it, I almost feel more of a liar than if I didn’t,” she added. “I just want to be honest, and it’s really not a big deal. Who cares?”
RELATED: Channing Tatum Is Dating Singer Jessie J: ‘It’s Very New,’ Source Says
She continued, “I want to stop talking about it completely now and find myself a husband. I did talk about it, and I was open about it, and I do support being lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender — who you want. That’s what I’m doing.”
She Sang ‘Bang Bang’ with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
Jessie J recorded the 2014 hit with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj and became the lead single for her third studio album Sweet Talker.
The song reached No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was later certified six times platinum in November 2017.
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“It was like a real female , together, empowering, supportive , and then Nicki jumping on it was like the icing on the cake,” the singer told Capital FM radio at the time.
Of the song, she told Glamour UK, “One of the biggest things that I’ve wanted to achieve in my life is standing the test of time, and I feel like “Bang Bang” do that.”
She Studied Alongside Well-Known Artists Like Adele
Jessie J attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology where other notable classmates included Adele, Leona Lewis, Amy Winehouse and Tom Holland.
The singer graduated alongside Adele in 2006.
She Has a Heart Condition
The singer inherited Wolff-Parkinson-White disease — a condition that means she has an extra electrical pathway in her heart that causes shortness of breath and dizziness — from her father, and his father before him.
The disease led to her having surgeries as a child. In April 2017, she told PEOPLE the disease “doesn’t go away, sadly.”
“It’s just something that I’ve had to deal with since I was a child, and it pushed me to get stronger. It’s just part of who I am,” Jessie J told PEOPLE.
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“I do have to make sure I stay healthy and look after myself,” she said. “I kind of love that I have something that pushes me to be healthier.”
She Competed on a Chinese Reality Singing Competition — and Won
While the singer-songwriter might be used to judging people’s singing as a judge on The Voice UK, she took a step into the competition by traveling to China and competing on their version — China’s Singer.
After being one of the first international performers to appear on the show, Jessie J won the competition against the other Chinese contestants.
The singer shared the moment on Instagram in April, writing, “Last year I was asked to compete in a singing competition in China. Performing alongside the biggest established singers / artists across Asia. I was the first international artist to ever be asked / compete. An honour alone. I know a lot of people were shocked when they found out.”
“ Like why would I compete in a singing competition… I’m probably the least competitive person I know,” she wrote. “I said yes because I LOVE to do the unexpected and I LOVE to represent the UK and singing everywhere I go. I LOVE to sing.”
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“But also it was an opportunity to bridge a gap between two cultures. For them to see a western performer and hear music some had never heard before and visa versa,” Jessie J continued. “For the performances to be seen by millions outside of China and visa versa. And those people to discover the show was the best part. The respect being shown for both cultures and the love was .”
“My team and I have been in China for 3.5 months. It’s been an amazing learning experience for all of us! We worked hard! THANK YOU! I love you all!
RELATED: Jessie J on How Exercise Helps to Manage Her Heart Condition: ‘It Pushed Me to Get Stronger’
I won the show last night,” she continued. “But what we all won was the beginning of something really magical. I am so happy I got to play a part.”
“Here is to me being the first but not the last international artist to be on SINGER. And for the boundaries to continue to be broken,” she added. “I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU! I still cant believe I came 1st! Last night a billion people watched the show | MAD .”
people.com | 10/11/18
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
Few Romanians will wax nostalgic about life before the fall of strongman Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed in 1989 after two decades of iron-fisted rule. But there was at least one industry that flourished under his Communist regime, with roughly 450 movie theaters operating across Romania at the time of the dictator’s death. Cinema was […]
variety.com | 6/2/18
Romania has a unique culture, which is the product of its geography and of its distinct historical evolution. Like Romanians themselves, it is defined as the meeting point of three regions: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, but cannot be truly included in any of them. The Romanian identity formed on a substratum of mixed Roman and quite possibly Dacian elements, with numerous other influences. During late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the major influences came from the Slavic peoples who migrated and settled in near Romania; from medieval Greeks, and the Byzantine Empire; from a long domination by the Ottoman Empire; from the Hungarians; and from the Germans living in Transylvania. Modern Romanian culture emerged and developed over roughly the last 250 years under a strong influence from Western Europe, particularly French, and German culture. Romania's history has been full of rebounds: the culturally productive epochs were those of stability, when the people proved quite an impressive resourcefulness in making up for less propitious periods and were able to rejoin the mainstream of European culture. This stands true for the years after the Phanariote-Ottoman period, at the beginning of the 19th century, when Romanians had a favourable historical context and chose the Western way of life, mainly French model, which they pursued steadily and at a very fast pace. From the end of the 18th century, the sons of the upper classes started having their education in Paris, and French became (and was until the communist years) a genuine second language of culture for Romanians. The modeling role of France especially in the fields of political ideas, administration and law, as well as in literature was paralleled, from the mid-19th century down to World War I, by German culture. That was true especially in Moldavia, whose many intellectuals studied in Berlin. In Transylvania and the Banat, the Habsburg rule and the presence of the ethnic German population, in the local communities, triggered constant relationships with the German world not only at a cultural level but in daily life as well. The influence of the German space was felt especially in the humanities (philosophy, logics, philology, history) and technical sciences.