Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Rourke’s Venice success shows we love a comeback


rourke.jpgIf we are honest, most of us would admit that we derive a certain pleasure from seeing someone famous fall from their perch, be it with a critical flop, a personal problem or a bout of odd behaviour in public.

How refreshing, then, to see the world-weary entertainment press genuinely rejoicing in Mickey Rourke’s comeback in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler”, which won the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice festival over the weekend. There were no snide asides among reporters as we waited in a hotel lounge by the Adriatic Sea to interview the 51-year-old. Noone complained about where they would rather be or how their head was still reeling from the night before (it was mid-morning).

No, instead there was broad agreement that Rourke had pulled it off. For most of the last 15 years the actor and former boxer has been a peripheral figure, a Hollywood outcast with a reputation for bad behaviour on set and off it. Now he is being universally lauded for an honest and touching performance as a washed up wrestler whose personal problems and professional decline poignantly reflect Rourke’s own life.

And to cap it all, he gave candid answers, with the odd expletive thrown in, suggesting that for the first time in a while he is happy where he is. He told us he believed it was the best film he’d ever made, and indicated that, as a team player from now on, there is plenty more to come.

Sorry, we haven’t got the film


venice1.jpgThere have been a few technical glitches at this year’s Venice film festival, but even the most seasoned film critics were puzzled when the main press screening of Italian film “Il Seme della Discordia” (The Seed of Discord), which is vying for the Golden Lion, was cancelled on Thursday.

A statement from organisers simply said the film reel was not available for the 7 p.m. screening. It will instead be shown at 10:30 p.m.

Portmania sweeps Venice


portman.jpgNatalie Portman’s inclusion in the short film competition at the Venice film festival has become a major headache for organisers, the press and the actress herself.

A sideline competition normally overlooked by many of the hundreds of journalists and cameramen in Venice each year, the shorts section suddenly became big news when Portman was included and good enough to come to the canal city to talk about her directorial debut “Eve”.

Brit scoops Gucci prize in Venice


(this was posted on behalf of Silvia Aloisi, Reuters reporter in Venice) 

venice.jpgBritain does not have any movies in the main competition of the Venice film festival this year but it can console itself with the Gucci Group award going to one of its own.

Artist Steve Mcqueen won the top prize — given each year on the sidelines of the Lido showcase — for “Hunger”, a hard-hitting film about the final days of Bobby Sands, the IRA leader who died in jail after a hunger strike. “Hunger” had already scooped the “Camera d’Or” in Cannes earlier this year.

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.

Venice has passion for Valentino fashion


valeinto.jpgThursday was Valentino day at the Venice film festival, where “Valentino: The Last Emperor” had a glittering evening premiere at the Teatro La Fenice opera house. The Italian designer, who retired in January this year after nearly half a century in the business, gave the festival a much-needed boost on a day when glamour was otherwise in short supply. Liz Hurley and Eva Herzigova showed up for the screening, where long, flowing dresses and diamonds the size of marbles were in abundance.

The great man, wearing a white tuxedo and his locks typically well-coiffed, shared a few moments with us on his way into the screening.

Marriage for Clooney, kids for Pitt? Jokes, bad questions fly


clooney.jpgWhen some reporters come face to face with A-list celebrities, their brains turn to mush.

Take this morning’s press conference at the Venice film festival. George Clooney and Brad Pitt were among the stars taking questions following the first screening of their latest movie “Burn After Reading”, directed by the Coen brothers.

Pitt gives paps early workout in Venice


pitt.jpgThe Venice Film Festival is not even underway, but the paparazzi were put through their paces in the canal city on Tuesday when Brad Pitt arrived with two of his children a day ahead of his red carpet appearance to promote “Burn After Reading”, the Coen brother’s latest movie in which he stars.

Cameramen and photographers were dispatched to the airport to greet the Hollywood heartthrob and then the water taxi chase ensued. A further “boat scrum” occurred in Venice itself, where about eight water taxis crowded around the steps leading up to the swanky Cipriani hotel for further shots of the star which, no doubt, will be touted by some of tomorrow’s newspapers as “exclusives”.

AFI’s 10 Greatest Films in Classic Genres. Do you agree?


raging-bull.jpgThe 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 LIGHTSsnow-white.jpg (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).

What’s your film called, Clint?


cannes200810.jpgIn one of the more bizarre mixups at this year’s Cannes film festival, the makers of Clint Eastwood’s competition entry did not actually know what it should be called.

Years of planning, casting and shooting, and Clint and his team could not even agree on the title by the time the world’s press descended on Cannes to see it.