Entertainment behind the scenes
It's hard to watch France's political and cultural elite rush to support filmmaker Roman Polanski against extradition to the United States on a decades-old sex charge and not wonder exactly how they interpret the national motto "liberté, égalité, fraternité." It's tempting to ask whether they're defending the liberty to break the law and skip town, respecting the equality of all before the law and championing a brotherhood of artists who can do no wrong. (Photo: Roman Polanski, 19 Feb 2009/Hannibal Hanschke)
Here in Paris, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner declared the arrest was "a bit sinister ... frankly, (arresting) a man of such talent recognised around the world, recognised in the country where he was arrested -- that's not very nice." He and his Polish counterpart have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the issue. Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said "just as there is a generous America that we like, there's also an America that scares us, and that's the America that has just shown us its face." Directors, actors and intellectuals have been signing a petition demanding Polanski's immediate release.
Almost all the focus is on the argument that Polanski is a brilliant director, the charge of unlawful sex with a 13-year old dates back to 1977 and the victim herself says she wants the whole issue to be forgotten. Almost completely ignored is the fact that he fled the U.S. to escape sentencing, which added a crime to the original crime. There is such a widespread assumption that all artists and intellectuals would automatically support Polanski that Paris papers today -- both the left-of-centre Libération and the conservative Le Figaro -- wrote with an air of surprise that Hollywood was not storming the barricades to back him.
The French Greens leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit made headlines by bucking the trend and saying he was "ill at ease" with the rush to absolve Polanski of raping a minor and the culture minister should have been more cautious in his comments.
from Africa News blog:
American television audiences were treated on Sunday night for the first time to the show "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency", which is based on the best-selling series of novels set in Botswana by Alexander McCall Smith.
The series, being aired in the United States by HBO, has already been broadcast by the BBC in Britain. Like the novels, it follows the light-hearted adventures of Precious Ramotswe as she seeks to solve mysteries with her keen intuition and big heart.
from India Insight:
"As the film revels in the violence, degradation and horror, it invites you, the Westerner, to enjoy it, too...Slumdog Millionaire is poverty porn," wrote London Times' columnist Alice Miles.
The phrase "poverty porn" spread across the Indian media as commentators nodded in agreement or shook their heads even before the film premiered in its native Mumbai and India could (legally) watch it.
The American Film Institute unveiled its list of the “10 Greatest Films in 10 Classic Genres” in a three-hour CBS Television Network special this week. A jury of 1,500 film artists, critics and historians named the following films as the very best in their genres but do you agree?:
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Science Fiction) – CITY LIGHTS (Romantic Comedy) – THE GODFATHER (Gangster) - LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Epic) – RAGING BULL (Sports) – THE SEARCHERS (Western) – SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (Animation) – TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Courtroom Drama) – VERTIGO (Mystery) - THE WIZARD OF OZ (Fantasy).