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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Nicolas Sarkozy warned Dominique Strauss-Kahn of his behaviour with women when he was sent to the U.S. as head of the International Monetary Fund, it has emerged. The concerned French president told the under-fire IMF chief in 2007 before he went to Washington D.C. that his life ‘will be passed under a magnifying glass’ in America. And when he heard Strauss-Kahn was arrested last weekend after allegedly sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid, he rolled his eyes and said: ‘We did warn him’ ... Over there they don't joke about this sort of thing,’ Mr Sarkozy was quoted as saying. ‘Your life will be passed under a magnifying glass. Avoid taking the lift alone with interns. France cannot permit a scandal.’" (DailyMail)


"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cognizant of the impending diplomatic defeat, has been casting about for a response, but realistic ideas are not presenting themselves. The Palestinian reunification declaration partially plays into Netanyahu's hands. How can Israel negotiate with a unified Palestinian Authority, when Hamas is avowed to its destruction? It is a legitimate argument which finds resonance in Washington and some Western capitals, but which would have gained far greater support had Netanyahu not already squandered his international credibility. Painted into a corner by his own recalcitrance, domestic coalition politics, and Palestinian rejectionism, Netanyahu's options were unenviably few. The important but belated steps he presented last week in the Knesset -- stating that Israel will retain the settlement blocs, thereby implicitly indicating that it will forego most of the West Bank -- were insufficient. The prime minister will follow up on his recent initiatives with a highly anticipated speech to Congress on Tuesday, but truth be told, there is probably no Israeli initiative that would be sufficient to solve the problem at this point. Sensing the tide having turned in their favor, the Palestinians appear unwilling to negotiate, let alone compromise." (ForeignPolicy)


"Metro UK: Why did you want to do a programme about jails in Miami? Louis Theroux: I’m fascinated by criminality and life in institutions where life is reduced to its most primal. America, despite being one of the richest nations in the world, also has some of the most brutal jails. The jails for people who haven’t been to trial yet are often more volatile and unstable. The more we looked, the more strange it was. Metro UK: What were the strangest bits? Louis Theroux: One was how pervasive the culture of fighting is. There are up to 24 people in a cell. They’re relatively big cells but inmates don’t leave them more than twice a week for yard time. They pass the time by fighting. If you’re weak, you get stuff taken from you. I asked if you could be a geeky guy and sit in the corner but they said: ‘Not really, you’d have to fight,’. The other thing was the phenomenon of inmates masturbating at female prison guards. It’s against the rules but very common. They were very unembarrassed when they did it. Metro UK: Didn’t some of the inmates threaten you? Louis Theroux: There was a bit which wasn’t on camera where I was talking to an inmate and had my hands on a chain link fence. He squeezed my fingers against it just to make me squeal." (MetroUK)



"Texas stormed the Croisette Sunday night, and the 2011 Cannes Film Festival ended with the Big Bang, literally. The star-studded jury headed by film godfather Robert De Niro awarded Cannes’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or, to American director Terrence Malick’s existential mega-memoir The Tree of Life. The film had provoked a uniquely Cannes reaction at its press screening, between those who booed its elliptical style and those who embraced its artistic ambition (see our own mind-blown, steam-of-consciousness take.) The infamously shy auteur was not on hand to accept the award, although he apparently made a stopover in Cannes earlier in the week, turning the festival into a glamorous backdrop for the international entertainment press to play Where’s Waldo: Auteur Edition. Producers Dede Gardener and Bill Pohlad accepted the award in Malick’s stead, and De Niro later explained all the jury’s decisions with his trademark loquacity, culminating in a brilliant summation of the Lars Von Trier-Nazi-jokes controversy: “What was gonna be was gonna be.” Terrence Malick has made only five films in his 30-plus year career, so the prize represents a touching triumph for a director who has come to represent the apogee of American art house cinema. Hollywood filmmakers whisper his name, lest their agents overhear and punish un-commercial inclinations by making them story-pitch for Pirates of the Caribbean: At Wit’s End. However, his films can be a cleansing tonic—as its title implies, Tree of Life attempts to ponder over delivering 'life lessons' via color-by-number narratives. It is a blockbuster art film, and its arrival in theaters Friday prompts an interesting question: Can Brad Pitt’s mega-wattage lure the American public away from re-friend action extravaganzas at the height of the summer movie season?" (VanityFair)


"Last night in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, they held the Centennial Gala for the building which was dedicated on May 23, 1911. The opening ceremony was presided over by President William Howard Taft. The following day, more than 10,000 New Yorkers visited. The new main branch was considered, rightfully, the “jewel in the crown” and the opening collection consisted of more than 1 million volumes. Eight hundred guests were invited for last night’s Re-dedication ceremonies held in the Main Reading Room. The evening was a rare and significant public event including the Mayor, Michael Bloomberg; Catherine Marron, the Chairman of the New York Public Library and Paul LeClerc, the Library’s president. After a VIP cocktail reception, guests assembled in the Main Reading Room for a concert by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus. After the concert, Barbara Walters opened the evening with some background of that day exactly 100 years ago pointing out the vast differences between the world then and our world now." (NYSocialDiary)



"Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I've been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can't remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is reentering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, 3 each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan's Kapital Entertainment, scoring 2 new shows. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn't land any new series for next season. Also in a departure from upfronts' recent past, bullish by the influx of ad dollars from the recovering economy and driven by the desire of their new chiefs to stand out, ABC, NBC and CW took bigger swings than usual with such unconventional projects as the Broadway-themed Smash and Inception-flavored Awake (NBC), fairytale mystery Once Upon a Time and horror thriller The River (ABC). Meanwhile, CW successfully went after a pilot that had been developed and produced for a much larger network, CBS' The Ringer. And there are two other changes that I feel may signal a shift in the way TV development is done. First: actors taking things in their own hands. Tired of waiting for the perfect pilot script to come along, more actors than ever went ahead and wrote a pilot for themselves this past development season." (Deadline)


"Rei Kawakubo and her business partner and husband, Adrian Joffe, made a rare appearance at their New York Comme des Garçons store on Saturday night—their first in five or six years—to fête the designer's collaboration with Matt Groening. That's Matt Groening of 400-episodes-and-counting Simpsons fame, but it was his more obscure, underground project, Life in Hell, that Kawakubo took an interest in. Naturally. As Joffe put it, 'I knew about The Simpsons and Futurama, but when I discovered Life in Hell, I told Rei about it, because [as a fashion designer] your life is hell; to do a new collection every six months is hell.' ... 'I was in Tokyo and she asked me to tea,' Groening explained of his first meeting with Kawakubo. 'I knew of her; I knew how surprising her choices are. If I were an avant-garde Japanese fashion designer, she's who I'd want to be.'" (Style)


"Howard (Stern) said Lorne Michaels is an incredible guy. He said that Lorne said he would only executive produces the show that Conan left if they let Jimmy (Fallon) host it. He said the guy really put his balls on the line for him. He said he's become his closest ally. Jimmy said the guy has seen it all a thousand times. He said he has great advice for the show and he doesn't have to take it but he will take 99.9 percent of the advice. Jimmy said that Lorne told him that he should host award shows with other people. He said he wanted to do it alone and he told Lorne that. He said Lorne is willing to admit when he's wrong too. Jimmy said that they have cut jokes that Lorne didn't like. Howard said he saw Lorne out in California and he told him he's a genius. Howard said he keeps finding these people and reinventing that show. He said that he saw Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids and she's great. Jimmy said the guy is very smart and he will mould people. He said that he'll even tell you to not wear so many prosthetics on your face so people know who it is." (Marksfriggin)


"Last year at the Cannes Film Festival, attendees gossiped that the following year would potentially be 'a banner year' with a host of big name directors slated to complete their projects in time for the 2011 festival. That was indeed the case. People were already talking about Terrance Malick’s 'The Tree of Life' 12 months ago, and then there were others such as 'The Kid with a Bike' from the Dardennes, Pedro Almodóvar’s 'La Piel que Habito' (The Skin I Live In), Lars von Trier’s 'Melancholia' and Gus van Sant’s 'Restless,' just to name but a few. And there also ending up being some gems not in the official selection that were worth noting.  Not all press was limited to the films themselves this year, of course. Lars von Trier’s infamous press conference dominated the Cannes headlines for a day or two, outshining his critically acclaimed film, starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Below are the 12 'Must Sees' from Cannes 2011 with several more that are certainly worth a trip to a festival - or hopefully a full release. This list is simply the films iW has initially identified as ones to keep an eye for in the coming months. Many may be obvious to some, but still relatively new for others and maybe there’s also a below the radar gem or two." (IndieWIRE)

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