Saturday, December 25, 2004

The World of Cinema

By: Darius Kadivar

>>>"During
the Crusades of the 12th Century, Balian of Ibelin (Bloom), a young
blacksmith
in
Jerusalem, rises to protect his people from foreign invaders."



from Ridley Talks Kingdom of Heaven

Right click here to save



Director Ridley Scott is attacking the Middle Ages as the subject of
a forthcoming
Epic expected in 2005. The director
of the successful blockbuster Epic Gladiator with
Russel
Crowe has finished the shooting of this film set in the Middle Ages.


The film has created a debate before finishing
production given the particularly delicate subject of the Clash of Civilizations
and the Holy War between Islam
and Christianity
in the Post 9/11 world. Scott has nevertheless insisted that the
script
was written in a way to give a balanced viewpoint both from a Muslim
and Christian angle.



After the Oliver Stone controversial "Alexander", Scott (also
an Award Winning Director
of such classics as
the "Duellists", "Alien" or "Blade Runner"
) under fire in the press this
year and by critics
defends his film in several interviews such as the following ones:



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/01/18/wcrus18.xml&sSheet=


/news/2004/01/18/ixworld.html





http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/554/554120p1.html


In anycase this proves once again if necessary:
the intimate and often complex relationship between Films and Historical
accuracy or interpretation.


_______________________________________________________________________


>>>Iranian
film wins top award, Silver Peacock for Thai director



Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi's "The
Beautiful City" walked away with the top prize Golden Peacock in
the Asian competitive section of International Film Festival of India
here this evening. The Siver Peacock for the most promising Asian director
went to Thailand's Ekachai Uekrongthan for his "Beautiful Boxer"
while the special jury award--also a Silver Peacock--was bagged by Iranian
actor Farmarz Gharibian for his role in "The Beautiful City".


More than 60 films had taken part in the
competitive category of the Festival. PTI


_______________________________________________________________________


>>>Kiarostami
still on News Headlines


Abbas Kiarostami, the internationally known
Persian Film-maker and director that has finished one of the episodes
of the film Ticket is still on Headlines. The other two episodes of
Tickets were made by Ken Loach, and Ermano Olmi. Ticket is the story
of a train traveling from the north of Italy to Rome. Kiarostami who
has recently become infatuated with digital cinema had suggested to
the other two directors to produce this film digitally. The producers
of Ticket are from Italy and England.

At the moment veneration of Kiarostami is going on at the Thessaloniki
film festival. Kiarostami had criticized the postponement of the screening
of his film Wind will take us which is going to be displayed before
the coming Fajr International Film Festival. This is the so-called 'dead
time' that Kiarostami had in mind when the screening of his film was
postponed. He had also said that the screening of this film has been
quite a painful procedure and the responsible people look for the worse
time for its display. This is the situation in his homeland when outside
he is one of the directors mentioned in the book Hundred films of the
History of Cinema by Christian Thompson, the Danish jury of the Tehran
Short Film Festival and receives the prestigious international Imperial
medallion of Japanese Art Foundation.


_______________________________________________________________________


>>>A
slice of Iranian cinema




By Vinita Bharadwaj, Staff Reporter



Bitter Dream is a dark comedy while Tear of the Cold is a romantic epic



A bitter-sweet comedy and a romantic epic
are the themes of the two Iranian offerings at the Dubai International
Film Festival (DIFF).


The two films [Bitter Dream and Tear of
the Cold] were selected with the intention of showing the diversity
of the Iranian film industry,? said Antonia Carver, the assistant programmer
for the Contemporary World Cinema section of DIFF.


Talking to Tabloid, she said that some
international film critics found the work of Iranian filmmakers interesting
because of the political climate in which they operate and work from.


?It?s definitely a very layered cinema,
but as an industry, Iranian films are very intelligently put together.
They concentrate more on people stories and the visuals focus well on
nature,? she said.


Acknowledging the many metaphors used in
Iranian films as one of their characteristics, Carver added that directors
and producers have successfully managed to get around the many constraints
that exist within the country.


?Some films do have political tones, but
it?s not a common facet of all Iranian films, she said, highlighting
the example of Tear of the Cold as being set in the period of the Iran-Iraq
war, but having no significant role in the rest of the film.


?There is no overt politics,? she said
of the film that is described as a tense, romantic epic set on the snowy
border between Iran and Kurdistan.


?It?s a beautiful film that traces the
love-hate story of a Kurdish shepherdess and an Iranian soldier.?


While both films have been well received
in Iran, Carver also has high praise for Bitter Dream. ?It?s a dark
comedy and a first feature film for the director [Mohsen Amiryoussefi],?
she said.


Amiryoussefi has donned the role of producer,
director, scriptwriter and editor in the film that is set in a cemetery
in his hometown, Sedeh, near Esfahan. ?A peculiarity of Iranian films
is their use of non-actors,? Carver said.


Bitter Dream is proof of this, as the protagonist
is played by the real life person, on whom it is based. ?Abbas Esfandiari
is a body-washer at the cemetery, where the film is set and just acts
out his real persona on screen,? Carver said.


Both the films selected are reflections
of the talent and creativity available in Iranian cinema and Carver
urges people to watch both in order to understand the variety of mindsets
and ideas that come out of Iranian society.


_______________________________________________________________________

>>>UK
Film company making the $ 80 000 000 film on Cyrus the Great


I think you would like to see this: Go to the webpage
below and then click on "production" and then "Cyrus".
A film to be directed by Alex Jovey:



http://www.chahayagroup.com/



Everything from synopsis, to storyboards and cast wish list is in this
website. This project was in the drawers for quite a few years it seems
it is on its way to finally take off.


_______________________________________________________________________


>>>Princess
to Star in New E! Reality Series


LOS ANGELES, November 4: The granddaughter
of HH Princess Shams of Iran's Pahlavi Dynasty is the subject of a new
E! Networks comedy/reality hybrid series in which she must find a good
job and a suitable love interest or risk losing a hefty financial pipeline
from her family.


The 10-part Love is in the Heir is set
to launch on E! Entertainment Television in the U.S. on November 28
at 10 p.m. It focuses on Princess Ann Claire, a pampered, London-raised
31-year-old who has left her regal background behind to settle in Los
Angeles, in pursuit of a recording deal. Parents HH Prince Shahboz Pahlbod
and Beatrice Anne are giving her until December to find a "real"
job–or achieve her musical aspirations–and a love interest
that meets their standards. If she fails, she can either move back to
London to live with her parents, or remain in Los Angeles and be cut
off from the family funds.


"We think viewers will enjoy the day
in and day out escapades of Princess Ann Claire, her journey to become
the next country music sensation, and the trials and tribulations she
faces as she attempts to balance pleasing her family with following
her own dreams," said Mark Sonnenberg, the executive VP of entertainment
at E! Networks.


To produce the segments in London, E! in
the U.S. is working with its international division. Sonnenberg noted,
"[We] look forward to pursuing more co-productions in the future."


_______________________________________________________________________


Monica
Bellucci Joins
Prince
Of Persia
Cast (Xbox)


A sight worth seeing, but she will only be providing voicing talents.

By Rainier Van Autrijve | Nov. 8, 2004




Actress Monica Bellucci, best known for her role in The Matrix: Reloaded
and The Matrix: Revolutions, has joined the Hollywood cast lending their
talent in one way or another to Ubisoft's upcoming action/adventure
game Prince Of Persia Warrior Within.




Monica Bellucci will voice Kaileen, a helpless servant to the Empress
of Time, adding a sensual realism to the deeply-immersive storyline.


People who checked out the recent Warrior
Within demo may have noticed that the Prince Of Persia sequel also features
music from metal band Godsmack. If you like your music a little bit
slower Prince Of Persia Warrior Within also features an original cinematic
score including classical melodies composed by Inon Zur, and a musical
score by the Hollywood Studio Symphony.


The Old Man said to the Prince, "Your
fate has been written. You will die." Enter the dark underworld
of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the sword-slashing sequel to the
critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Hunted by
Dahaka, an immortal incarnation of Fate seeking divine retribution,
the Prince embarks upon a path of both carnage and mystery to defy his
preordained death. His journey leads to the infernal core of a cursed
island stronghold harboring mankind's greatest fears. Only through grim
resolve, bitter defiance and the mastery of deadly new combat arts can
the Prince rise to a new level of warriorship -- and emerge from this
ultimate trial with his life.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will
be available on Xbox, PS, GCN and PC later this month.


 


 


 


_______________________________________________________________________




>>>Iraqi-American
Actress Scores Big Off-Broadway


By Barbara Schoetzau





14 December 2004




Heather Raffo

Photo Courtesy Met.com


http://www.voanews.com/english/2004-12-14-voa63.cfm




Iraqi American playwright and actress Heather Raffo has scored a
big hit off-Broadway with Nine Parts of Desire, a one-woman play
in which she portrays a cross-section of Iraqi women.



Nine Parts of Desire is one of the few
New York theater successes this year. The play has garnered rave reviews
and been extended three times since it opened in October.


SCENE FROM PLAY: "Okay, I saw that
routine. This is not Iraqis, no. Iraqis are not so degraded as this.
Some people, they took bricks, from palaces only. Yeah, there were
too many anyway. I heard a Marine saying 'Go in Ali Baba. Go in. Take
what is yours.' They wanted us to have everything. Freedom to have!"


Critics have applauded the 34-year-old
actress-playwright as a fresh new voice in American theater. But Heather
Raffo says theater was not the ideal career choice for the daughter
of an American mother and an Iraqi immigrant father growing up in
the Midwestern state of Michigan.


"In fact, he refused to come visit
me at college if I was going to study acting," she recalls. "He
said, 'No, I will never come visit you.' I think it was two-weeks
later that he was there with piles of fruits and vegetables saying
'Well, I happened to be driving by.' It was two hours from our house!"


Ms. Raffo says she and her father think
of themselves as Americans, not Iraqi Americans. But after the 1991
Gulf War she went to Iraq to meet her relatives and discovered a great
affinity with Iraqi women. She began collecting stories about Iraqi
women and was already working on Nine Parts of Desire when terrorists
attacked the United States on September 11th, 2001.


"I have been watching a lot of Arab
American change in New York since September 11," she adds. "People
did not really have to think about it. My dad says, 'Why would you
call me an Arab American? Why would you call me an Iraqi American?
I came here. I changed my citizenship. I live here.' So I respect
that. I think that that is what being an American is. I was born in
America. I do not look necessarily Iraqi or ethnic. I do not have
an accent. I have never had to deal with aspects of being other."


Nine Parts of Desire debuted in Scotland
at the Edinburgh Festival and played in London before it opened in
New York. The cast of characters includes the innocent, the guilty,
and the complicit. They are young, old, bitter, hopeful. In this scene,
Ms. Raffo portrays an angry expatriate Iraqi.


SCENE FROM PLAY: "The mistake is
not this war. My god, mistake. Mistake is supporting Saddam all his
life. Giving him all these weapons. 'Please go fight this war with
Iran, eh?' Every time there was an uprising. And he gassed Halabja,
5000 die in seconds. He drained the marshes, all the Marsh Arabs and
now finally God, finally, after all these years they find him an old
man in a hole and they want to give this man a fair trial?"


One of the play's most powerful characters
is a grieving mother who lives outside of the Al Amaria bomb shelter,
where a coalition bombing raid killed her children in 1991.


SCENE FROM PLAY: "I named my daughter
Ghada. Ghada, it means tomorrow. So I am Umm Ghada, mother of Ghada.
It is a sign of joy and respect to call a parent by their kunia [kinship].
In Baghdad, I am famous now as Umm Ghada because I do live here in
yellow trailer outside Amaria bomb shelter since the bombing 13 February
1991."


Ms. Raffo says some of her characters
are based on real people. Others are composites.


"The Bedouin character, for instance,
is based on someone I know," she explains. "The sort of
political character that is an expatriate in London is based on someone
I know. What I have also done is I have combined some psyches and
characters like the woman who lives in the bomb shelter. I was at
a bomb shelter when I was in Iraq that was bombed in 1991. I also
did some research into the woman who did set up the trailer there
and does take people through."


Despite their differences and their suffering,
Ms. Raffo says her nine women are united by their spirit. It is that
spirit, she says, that guided her, not politics.


"A lot of people ask me, 'What are
the politics of the play? Where do you stand? Why should I have a
stand? Why can I not tell all of these aspects and allow you to live
with the confusion of that?'" she notes.


Ms. Raffo says her goal is to encourage
audiences to think about the complexity of Iraq instead of viewing
it in black and white. If the critics are correct, she has achieved
that goal.



_______________________________________________________________________


>>>Film
production facing crisis in Iran: Kiarostami :


http://www.123bharath.com/news/index.php?action=fullnews&id=44696


India News > Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 16 : Art Film
production is facing serious crisis in Iran with authorities imposing
controls over independent thought and audience running after commercial
films, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami said today.


Addressing a meet-the-press programme here as part of
the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Kiarostami said though
films from Iran were getting noticed with new treatment styles and humaneness
of subjects, film-makers had to surmount numerous difficulties to make
films.


Kiarostami, once described by Japanese master Kurosawa
as Satyajit Ray's successor from Asia, said authorities in Iran were
even trying to take away the "originality" of a work.


The director said he was once asked by censors to cut
out a line of Omar Khayyam from his film."I told them that they
may censor me, but not Khayyam," he said, adding four of his latest
films could not be released in Iran.


Kiarostami said censorship was always harmful to cinema.
"When they remove what has been conceived by the director, the
film loses its meaning as a whole," he said.


He said he could not shed his identity as an Iranian
film-maker though he was making films outside the country.


Kiarostami is the first Iranian director to win the
Palme d'Or at the Cannes festival for his film `Taste of Cherry' in
1997. His two films, `Five dedicated to Ozu' and `Ten on Ten' are being
screened at the IFFK. PTI


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