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Entertainment behind the scenes

Daytime therapist, nighttime filmmaker captures Soviet life

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Photo by Daniel Bases

He’s a physiotherapist by day and a filmmaker by nights, weekends and everything in between. Semyon Pinkhasov has captured facets of Soviet life that rarely get shared beyond Russia’s borders, even after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

(For story, click on http://r.reuters.com/qac34m)

The self-taught, self-financed, award-winning amateur documentary filmmaker has seen his films shown worldwide at festivals and on Russian and English-language television channels. Focused on the arts and the sport of fencing (U.S. Olympic Team Coach in 1984), he tells stories about Grigory Fried, who has run a music appreciation club in Moscow for 45 years without taking a kopeck; Tikhon Khrennikov, the first and last secretary of the Union of Soviet Composers; and Boris Efimov, perhaps Stalin’s favorite cartoonist.

One film about German fencing legend Helene Meyer, whose half-Jewish heritage provided Adolf Hitler with political cover to stage the 1936 Olympics, won for best screenplay at the 2009 International Festival of Sports Films in Moscow. But what drives someone with no background in film, journalism or the arts to dive into movie making? Roll the video:

Photo: Documentary Filmmaker Semyon Pinkhasov is shown in his Manhattan apartment on June 21, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Bases

Pfeiffer ‘felt like an alien’ until acting came along

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michelleMichelle Pfeiffer said she felt like “an alien” before discovering a home in acting.

At another one of the Berlin Film Festival’s notoriously entertaining news conferences with all sorts of unusual questions and answers (who can forget George Clooney calling one journalist a jerk for criticising his film at one press conference a few years ago), the American actress also revealed she only bothers taking care of her appearance when she’s out of the house but otherwise doesn’t really care what she looks like.

Too much ‘escapism’ at Berlinale?

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ozon

“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.

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