By Jonathon Gatehouse, Martin Patriquin and Jaime J. Weinman - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
Names in the news
A regime vacation
Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles’s choice of Cuba for a few ﬂashbulb-streaked days off raised hackles in the U.S., which has had an embargo against the island country since 1960. Though the trip was cleared with the U.S. Treasury and therefore legal, critics wondered why one of the most famous couples in the world would visit a country with such an appalling human rights record. “There are a lot of better places they could go where they’re not feeding a monstrous regime,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida.
The bloom is off
Prince William may have to brush up on his ability to appeal to children before his wife has a baby. On a trip to Glasgow, Scotland, the prince tried to kiss a four-year-old Scottish girl in a princess costume, and the girl pulled away from him and hugged her mother for support, refusing to allow him near her or to give him the flower she was holding. William laughed it off and the girl handed the flower to Kate. The girl’s mother claimed she didn’t have anything personal against William, but simply “got really shy.”
Today’s special: prejudice
Dave Claringbould says rural Manitoba is not the friendliest place for an openly gay businessman. Claringbould and his partner started the Pots N Hands restaurant in the small town of Morris, near Winnipeg, only to announce four months later that they were closing down: they had received insults, including a customer who asked if he would catch sexually transmitted diseases from their food, and other customers stopped coming after finding out about their relationship. The publicity might save the restaurant, though; the premier of the province, Greg Selinger, has announced that he will eat there as a show of support for tolerance.
By Paul Wells - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 5:39 PM - 0 Comments
Belgium’s foreign minister Didier Reynders seems a jolly fellow. He should be, given that Gérard Depardieu has chosen to live in Belgium and engage in a shouting match with the French government over French income taxes, which are high. Today Reynders gave an interview to the centre-right newspaper Le Figaro, where critics of the socialist president François Hollande are made to feel comfortable.
Dépardieu’s arrival is a good-news story for Belgium, which could use one; Wikipedia’s entry on Belgium’s “2007-2011 political crisis” seems to me to have pretty arbitrary start and end dates. Reynders’ interview catches the longtime former finance minister in an ebullient and cutting mood. On French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault’s use of the word “pathetic” (minable) to describe Dépardieu: “These are words we would never use in Belgium, even when we are very angry.” On the French government’s desire to renegotiate tax collection between the two governments, the gentlest possible No Way: “We’re ready to examine many things, as long as the superior principle of free circulation of people, goods and services within the EU is respected. But if this is about recognizing some French power to tax people who live in Belgium, that’s a whole other matter. Every European country must accept that its citizens decide to live elsewhere.” Continue…
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 1:12 PM - 0 Comments
“I have a lot of pee”
In his first interview since he urinated into an empty water bottle on an airplane in front of other passengers, French actor Gerard Depardieu reveals he begged the flight attendant who blocked his access to a bathroom before take-off that he had to use the bathroom: “I am an elephant . . . I have a lot of pee.” When she refused, he borrowed a bottle from a friend, which then overflowed. “The bottle was too small, you know,” the corpulent 62-year-old actor giddily told CNN. The star of Cyrano de Bergerac and Jean de Florette says he said he would have cleaned up the spillage but by then other passengers had gathered with camera phones. Depardieu denied wine was a factor.
By Brian D. Johnson - Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 4:24 AM - 0 Comments
As the festival winds up, it’s becoming clear that this has been one of the strongest competition selections in a while. More good stuff than I’ve had time to blog, so it’s catch-up time. A couple of days ago, I saw a “movie movie,” a terrifically entertaining picture that jumped out of the high-art fray without a shred of post-modern pretense. We’ve seen a lot of films about filmmaking, and this is not one of them, yet it could serve as the ultimate metaphor for the business of film.
Written and directed by French filmmaker Xavier Giannoli, A l’Origine (In the Beginning) is one of those Build it and They Will Come tales. It’s based on the stranger-than-fiction true story of an con man who posed as a contractor for a company that didn’t exist and convinced a town to build a highway. I love imposter movies, and this is one of the best. Francois Cluzet stars as Phillipe Miller, who gets out of prison, makes a a futile attempt to find a job, then creates one out of thin air. He invents an imaginary subsidiary of one of France’s biggest construction companies, then plants himself in a small town that’s been depressed ever since a highway project got shelved. This is a community that wants to believe in something, and soon Miller is raking in a fortune in commissions from companies that want to serve as his suppliers. The town is desperate for a saviour, and Miller is happy to oblige. But as he becomes a local hero, and actual construction gets underway, it becomes clear that his motive is not primarily financial. The guy wants to be somebody, and to build something. And he starts to believe in his own fiction.
Giannoli directs In the Beginning with a kinetic dynamism. He originally was going to shoot on a real construction site. But when that prospect fell through, he had to build his own highway. And it appears that the production of the film—which was rescued by Gerard Depardieu (who plays a supporting role)—was as precarious as the project it portrays. So there’s a very concrete, and delicious, harmony between the protagonist’s industrial-scale scam and the business of making a movie: both are acts of monumental folly, in trying to create an entire world based on something that doesn’t exist. In that sense, the art of the con and the art of Cannes are not so far removed.