Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Too much ‘escapism’ at Berlinale?



“Escapism”, we were warned, was going to be a recurrent element of many of the entries in this year’s Berlin Film Festival, the world’s first major cinematic barometer since the global financial meltdown began. People are yearning to escape for a few hours from the economic gloom and doom, the film experts were saying before the Berlinale’s curtain went up.

Yet even knowing that, it was still difficult to predict how far French director Francois Ozon (“8 Women”, “Swimming Pool”) was going to take viewers on a most bizarre journey out of our depressing little lives in his newest film “Ricky“, which made its world premiere in Berlin.

(Spoiler alert - if you’re one of Ozon’s few non-French fans and plan to see the film, you might want to stop here — otherwise bon voyage) A struggling French woman meets a Spanish co-worker at the factory, they do what they always do in French films, and she gets pregnant. After their healthy baby boy is born — and about half way through the rather ordinary 90-minute film, it takes an extraordinary twist — the baby suddenly starts growing wings out of his shoulder blades. Yes, giant, powerful wings. And before long, he’s flying around his room. And not long after that, shortly after he turns into a media sensation, the baby boy simply flies away.

“You’ve answered the question yourself,” Ozon told a journalist at a news conference after the premiere when asked if he thought his film was an antidote for people craving an escape from the financial crisis. “Going to the cinema is part of our lives, to imagine living in a different, imaginary world. When you go to see a film, you want to see something different. This film is like a fairy tale.”

Iranian film has Venice public fuming


kiarostami.jpgAcclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami has fallen foul of the public in Venice after his latest picture “Shirin” screened at the annual film festival. While some critics were relatively kind to one of “arthouse” cinema’s leading lights, the public was less forgiving.

On the “Give Us Our Money Back!” notice board outside the festival, where people vent their spleens with small notes containing their rants/musings, “Shirin” features far more than any other film so far as Venice reaches its halfway stage.