Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

from Africa News blog:

Nigeria’s image problem

For anyone who has seen the hit film District 9, it’s no surprise a Nigerian minister would be upset by it.

The science fiction film, set in South Africa, is an allegory on segregation and xenophobia, with alien life forms cooped up in a township of the type that grew up under apartheid and victimised and despised by humans of all descriptions.

No section of human society comes across particularly well, but the Nigerians are crudely caricatured as gangsters, cannibals, pimps, prostitutes and dealers in guns and addictive drugs (in this case cat food). The gang leader’s name sounds exactly like the surname of Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It’s just a film of course and the slurs needn’t overly detract from the entertainment. (They didn’t for the Nigerian half of my family anyway).

Up and running at the Venice film festival


mendesWe’re off.

After weeks of planning, the Venice film festival finally launched today with a lengthy, sentimental Italian entry as the opening film, “Baaria.” It is the first home-made movie to start the annual festival in around 20 years, and, if the budget is anything to go by, it should do well. The movie, which is more than two-and-a-half hours long, cost a whopping 25 million euros to make.

Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (of Oscar-winning “Cinema Paradiso” fame), “Baaria” is set in Sicily and spans the 1930s to the 1980s. It tells the story of Sicily, and more broadly of Europe as a whole, through three generations of the same family.

Spinal Tap visits real Stonehenge, gives film joke new life


spinaltapAfter years of adulation over the hilarity of their genre-spawning rockumentary This is Spinal Tap, screenwriter Christopher Guest and the other actors of the much-loved spoof band Spinal Tap decided it was time to pay a visit to the prehistoric monument behind one of the hit movie’s funniest scenes – Stonehenge.

News of the visit comes courtesy of Canadian indie rock outfit Metric, who, like Spinal Tap, were fresh off a performance at Britain’s Glastonbury music festival when they made a pit stop to check out the landmark.

from FaithWorld:

This time around, Dan Brown hero is Vatican ally

photocall-2After exposing a Church cover-up in "The Da Vinci Code," symbologist Robert Langdon returns to the big screen as an unlikely Vatican ally in the latest movie adaptation of a novel by author Dan Brown.

"Angels & Demons," again starring Tom Hanks as Langdon and directed by Ron Howard, premieres in Rome on Monday at a theatre a mile (0.6 kilometer) away from Vatican City. It's due to open in the United States on May 15.

from FaithWorld:

“Sister Smile” film tells sad story of the Singing Nun

singing-nun-posterRemember the Singing Nun? If you're old enough to recall the song "Dominique", you might want to see a new Belgian film"Soeur Sourire" ("Sister Smile") about the nun whose hit song topped the charts in Europe and North America in 1963. Then again, you might not ... The song was far more upbeat than the sad story behind it.

Jeanine Deckers, or Sister Luc Gabrielle -- better known by her pseudonyms Singing Nun in English and Soeur Sourire in French -- was a Belgian Dominican sister who scored a one-hit wonder with "Dominique" in 1963. The record was released under her pseudonym. But the song became such an international hit that she finally went public and even appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in the United States She never had another hit and the 1966 film "The Singing Nun" starring Debbie Reynolds ended with her giving up music to work in Africa. Deckers later described that film as "fiction". "Soeur Sourire" sticks closer to the facts

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

The music stops for ‘Waltz’

In one of the biggest surprises on Oscar night, the animated Israeli documentary Waltz with Bashir did not walk away as many expected with the famed statuette in the Foreign Film category, which instead went to Japanese film Departures.

Even the star of Departures acknowledged he was expecting Waltz with Bashir to win the Academy Award.

Pfeiffer ‘felt like an alien’ until acting came along


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.

Sundance goes to Abu Dhabi? Maybe, Redford says


ABU DHABINow this is a cultural exchange. Sundance kid Robert Redford has said that his Sundance Film Festival is engaged in early talks to lend its name to a sister film festival in Abu Dhabi.

“It makes total sense we would extend our mission into the Middle East,” Redford told reporters at a news conference ahead of the festival’s opening on Thursday night. He said festival organizers have been approached by people — although he did not say whom — in the United Arab Emirates city about holding a festival there. “We are in discussions, but nothing has been signed,” he said.

Madonna/Ritchie divorce – media guessing game begins


madonna2.jpgDepending on who you listen to or read, Guy Ritchie may look to get up to $260 million in any divorce settlement with his wife Madonna, or he may try to get nothing and live off his own fortune,  variously estimated at anywhere between $30-50 million.

When big celebrity divorces are announced, as Ritchie and Madonna’s was on Wednesday, a frenzied bout of speculation by media and lawyers alike tends to follow, and more often than not it ends up being a load of rubbish.

Little action, but Kashmir film packs punch


kashmir.jpgWatching “Zero Bridge”, a film set in Indian-administered Kashmir, I have to say I was constantly braced for something nasty — a bomb from nowhere, a gun attack, blood on the streets. Like many Westerners I associate Kashmir with conflict. Unlike many Westerners I have actually been there, but to Muzaffarabad and along the valleys beneath towering mountains on the Pakistani side of the divided region.

The film, presented at the Venice film festival, is not directly related to the conflict — tens of thousands of people have been killed since 1989 when Muslim rebels launched a violent campaign opposing Indian rule in the Muslim-majority region. Yet it still carried a powerful message.