Women without high heels banned at Cannes film festival


This video, recorded in France, says about itself:

EMILY BLUNT Shocked at Cannes High Heel Rule

19 May 2015

The director of the Cannes Film Festival may have put his foot in his mouth! During the film event of the year, women were reportedly being turned away for not wearing high heels and one A-list celebrity isn’t happy. Emily Blunt was shocked to hear the report saying it is very disappointing. The actress added women shouldn’t be wearing high heels anyway in her point of view. Check out the video to see what else Emily Blunt had to say about the rule.

After banning women from wearing miniskirts, and banning women from wearing maxiskirts, and banning women from wearing any type of skirts, and banning women from wearing trousers … now banning women women from wearing shoes without high heels.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance ‘Carol‘ for not wearing high heels

Women, some with medical conditions, ‘turned away for wearing flats

Adam Whitnall

Tuesday 19 May 2015

The Cannes Film Festival is facing an angry backlash after it was accused of turning away women from a red-carpet screening for not wearing high heels.

A number of women in their 50s, some reportedly with medical conditions, were denied access to the showing of Todd Haynes’ entry Carol on Sunday night, according to Screen magazine.

It claimed the women were wearing rhinestone flats at the time – and said that the subject matter of the film itself – a lesbian romance starring Cate Blanchett about fighting against societal norms – added to the outrage of those turned away.

The festival declined to comment on the matter but, Screen reported, did confirm that it was obligatory for all women to wear high heels to red-carpet showings.

The Cannes festival bosses apparently had never heard about women’s health issues with high heels. Nor did they seem to understand that high heels do a lot more damage to their red carpets than other types of shoes :)

On Twitter, the report sparked outrage among users who called Cannes “an outdated embarrassing piece of s*** festival”.

The festival organisers were yet to respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

Vicci Ho, a Cannes regular and former festival programmer, wrote on Twitter that she was “almost turned away” for wearing leather flats, despite doing so because she was suffering ankle problems. She later wrote on the site that the enforcement of the dress code had been “ridiculous this year”: here.

Against the Iraq war, new film We Are Many


This video says about itself:

Do Demonstrations Matter? Amir Amirani and Phyllis Bennis | #GRITtv

13 January 2015

On February 15, 2003, millions of people in over 800 cities on seven continents marched against the impending invasion of Iraq. It was the largest mobilization of people in human history and yet it remains a little-known story. As we approach Martin Luther King Day and think about his legacy of civic resistance, this episode looks at the recent history of the global antiwar movement, and its relevance to today.

A new documentary by this week’s guest, Amir Amirani, tells the story of the mass protests against the Iraq war. From Iraq to Egypt to Syria to today’s protests, the film looks at the legacy of that protest movement and asks, what do mass mobilizations accomplish? Amir Amirani a long time filmmaker for the BBC, tells about his process making the film.

We are also joined by one of the organizers of those historic protests, Phyllis Bennis, an activist, author, and fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in New York, to talk about the story behind the movement.

This episode also features a profile of the activists behind one of the biggest recent US environmental victories, the struggle that helped lead to New York state’s ban on fracking. And in a commentary, Laura discusses the need for movement unity.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

March of the majority

Tuesday 19th May 2015

IAN SINCLAIR recommends We Are Many, Amir Amiani’s documentary on the many millions who demonstrated worldwide against the Iraq war in 2003

We Are Many
Directed by Amir Amirani
4/5

FEBRUARY 15 2003 “was the single largest mobilisation of people in the history of humanity — bar none,” notes US analyst Phyllis Bennis in We Are Many, Amir Amirani’s brilliant new documentary about the global anti-war movement against the Iraq war.

Beginning with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Amirani uses stirring archive news footage and original interviews with key figures like Tony Benn, Clare Short, Jesse Jackson and Noam Chomsky to tell the story of that momentous day.

Around 30 million people marched in 789 major cities in over 72 countries across the world. A small rally even took place at the McMurdo research station in Antarctica. Over 1,000,000 people marched through London in the biggest protest in British history.

The story will be familiar to many Morning Star readers but the film does include many important and interesting snippets of information and analysis, such as US air force veteran Tim Goodrich blowing apart the fiction that war was a last resort. The US bombing of Iraq increased by over 500 per cent in autumn 2002 “with the purpose of trying to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating to give us a reason to go to war,” he says.

Elsewhere Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector from 2000 until 2003, amusingly explains that the US and UK “were 100 per cent sure that there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq though “they had zero per cent knowledge of where they were.”

And who knew that Virgin boss Richard Branson had made an unsuccessful attempt to stop the war by flying Nelson Mandela to Baghdad on the eve of the invasion?

The film ends by exploring the long-lasting impact of February 15 2003, including its role in shifting British public opinion so much that it made it impossible for the coalition government to go to war against Syria a decade later.

Amirani also tells the unknown story of how the global movement against the Iraq war inspired Egyptians to start protesting against President Hosni Mubarak. “That’s exactly when I was thinking, and others, that if we were triple that number, or four times that number, we could take down Mubarak,” notes one Egyptian activist about the March 2003 protest in Tahrir Square against the war.

Writing in the New York Times, journalist Patrick Tyler commented that the global demonstrations were “reminders that there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.”

Taking its name from the last line of Shelley’s 1819 poem Mask of Anarchy, We Are Many is itself a moving and timely reminder of the power of activism and protest — the perfect antidote to the despair created by the new Tory majority government.

Ian Sinclair’s book The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003 is available from the Morning Star shop for £10 + £2.50P&P.

New film about wildlife in Amsterdam, the Netherlands


This video, with subtitles in English and German, is about a mute swan family in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

According to Dutch daily Het Parool today, the makers of succesful film De Nieuwe Wildernis (The New Wilderness), about Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve, have plans for a new film.

It will be called De Wilde Stad (The Wild City). Its subject is wildlife in Amsterdam, capital city in the Netherlands.

The intention is to have five animals as main characters. It is not yet sure which five species they will be. Provisionally, the filmmakers think about a coot, a grey heron, a brown rat, and a red fox.

Filming will start next month. The plans are for the movie to be in the cinemas before the end of 1916.

New film about anti-Iraq war peace movement


This video from Britain says about itself:

WE ARE MANY – OFFICIAL TRAILER – MAY 21 NATIONWIDE SCREENINGS WITH Q&A, IN CINEMAS MAY 22

24 April 2015

To find out where the film is playing visit: www.wearemany.com/cinemas.

We Are Many tells for the first time the remarkable story of the biggest protest in history, and how it changed the world.

Eight years in the making, filmed in seven countries, and including interviews with John Le Carré, Damon Albarn, Brian Eno, Danny Glover, Mark Rylance, Richard Branson, Hans Blix and Ken Loach amongst others, it charts the birth and rise of the people power movements that are now sweeping the world, all through the prism of one extraordinary day.

On February 15th 2003, over 15 million people marched through the streets of 800 cities on every continent to voice their opposition to the proposed war in Iraq. This unprecedented global march was organised, against all odds, by a patchwork of peace campaigners in many countries, who reveal how they pulled off the historic demonstration, and whose legacy is only now unfolding.

On May 21 we will hold an exclusive live by satellite event (broadcast from Curzon Mayfair, London), after the film there will be a post screening discussion.

Journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow will host the discussion with guests including the film’s director Amir Amirani, executive producer and comedian Omid Djalili, convenor of the Stop The War Coalition Lindsey German and professor of international law at UCL Philippe Sands.

For more information about the film please visit:

www.wearemany.com
www.facebook.com/WeAreManyMovie
www.twitter.com/WeAreManyMovie

From daily The Guardian in Britain today:

We Are Many: the legacy of the global anti-war protests in 2003 – video trailer world exclusive

We Are Many, directed by Amir Amirani, explores the legacy of the global anti-war demonstrations of 15 February 2003, an event that saw an estimated million people march against the Iraq war in London alone.

Filmed over nine years, the film talks to key campaigners, including Damon Albarn, Ken Loach and the late Tony Benn, as well as those who made the decision to go to war. A special satellite screening of the film with a Q+A with Jon Snow takes place in London on 21 May, transmitted to select cinemas across the country, while the film is released on 22 May.

See it first on May 17th as part of Guardian Live at the Rio Cinema.

Bin Laden’s death, in Hollywood pro-torture film and reality


This video says about itself:

Zero Dark Thirty: Glorifying torture in bed with the CIA

16 dec. 2012

Writer Glenn Greenwald argues that Zero Dark Thirty, the film about the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, which is already a front-runner to win the 2013 Best Film Oscar, is politically and morally reprehensible and a glorification of torture. Hollywood and the film’s director Kathryn Bigelow have climbed into bed with the CIA and produced pernicious propaganda for the view that the USA is always on the side of “good”, whatever our enemies do is always because they are “evil”, and anyone who is a Muslim is a “terrorist suspect”.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s Zero Dark Thirty

CIA-embedded Hollywood liars and their lies

15 May 2015

Zero Dark Thirty, written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was a detestable work for many reasons. The film, released in December 2012 to much critical acclaim, was promoted as the true story of the decade-long hunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, assassinated by the US military in Pakistan in May 2011.

Now we know, thanks to Seymour Hersh and his article in the London Review of Books, that, along with everything else, the Bigelow-Boal film was a pack of lies from beginning to end. About the only plot element of Zero Dark Thirty that remains unrefuted is that the CIA did indeed operate illegal “black sites” and horribly torture people.

As our original review noted, the film’s central figure, CIA agent Maya, is shown “conducting a single-minded pursuit of clues leading to the whereabouts of bin Laden, while bravely battling resistance from the entire male-dominated leadership of the CIA until she finally prevails.

“According to this improbable version of events, the junior female analyst single-handedly brought about the May 1, 2011 raid on the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan that ended in the assassination of bin Laden and the shooting of several other defenseless men, women and children.”

“Improbable” seems to be the key word here.

Hersh points out in his lengthy piece that bin Laden was not living secretly at the time of his killing in a well-guarded hideout, as depicted in the film, but “had been a prisoner of the ISI [Pakistani intelligence service] at the Abbottabad compound since 2006.” He further explains “that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011 [seconded by Zero Dark Thirty], but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer [a “walk-in”!] who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US.”

So there was no intense debate at CIA headquarters as to whether bin Laden was actually living at the location in question, an important sequence in Bigelow’s film. In the face of rather wishy-washy superiors, Maya boldly insists it is a “100 percent” certainty that the house’s mysterious resident is indeed the al Qaeda leader. In actual fact, Pakistani officials had acknowledged to their American counterparts he was there in Abbottabad (“less than two miles from the Pakistan Military Academy,” and “another mile or so away” from “a Pakistani army combat battalion headquarters,” observes Hersh) and even handed over a DNA sample to prove the point.

Nor was there a deadly shoot-out at the compound. The Pakistani military and intelligence deliberately stood down and let the US Navy Seal team do its dirty work. “An ISI liaison officer flying with the Seals guided them into the darkened house and up a staircase to bin Laden’s quarters,” writes Hersh. Bin Laden was unguarded and unarmed, living on the third floor of the “shabby” house “in a cell with bars on the window and barbed wire on the roof.”

Nor did any CIA official identify the body after the murder, as Maya is shown doing in Bigelow’s film, because two members of the Seal team obliterated bin Laden, an elderly, seriously ailing man. Hersh writes that “some members of the Seal team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains—or so the Seals claimed.”

So much for the events that Bigelow absurdly claimed only “come along once or twice in a millennium”! So much for what Zero Dark Thirty’s director praised as “the brave work of those professionals in the military and intelligence communities”!

Bigelow and Boal hardly made a secret of the fact that they enjoyed intimate and unprecedented cooperation from the CIA and the Obama administration in the development of the project. Emails and transcripts released in May 2012 revealed that the previous July Bigelow and Boal had met with Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers and other Defense Department officials. Boal had earlier held discussions with top administration officials, including Obama’s Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John O. Brennan and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough.

One of the released emails, from a CIA spokesperson, explained that the agency and other US government entities “have been engaging with the film’s screenwriter, Mark Boal. … Both Mark and Kathryn have told us how impressed they are with the Agency’s work in the UBL [Usama bin Laden] operation and how eager they are to bring that to the screen.”

The CIA and the administration gave the green light to the film, vetted or had changes made in its script and gloated about its usefulness as propaganda.

One of the principal lines of defense of the filmmakers and their apologists against critics was that Zero Dark Thirty did not render a judgment, was apolitical and simply presented the unadorned facts.

Boal evidently chose to believe (and pass on) every bit of information provided to him by the CIA, not exactly an organization known for its scrupulous adherence to the truth.

In an email sent May 10, 2011, Boal informs George Little of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs that he and Bigelow “are making a film about the extraordinary effort to capture or kill Usama Bin Laden. Given the historical nature of the subject matter, we intend to make accuracy and authenticity hallmarks of the production, for we believe that this is one of those rare instances where truth really is more interesting than fiction.”

One doesn’t know whether to laugh or …

In another remarkable email from June 13, 2011, Defense Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson wrote Under Secretary of Defense Vickers that “At the direction of Director [Leon] Panetta, CIA is cooperating fully [with the filmmakers] … For the intelligence case, they [Boal and Bigelow] are basically using the WH[White House]-approved talking points we used the night of the operation.”

And, as it turns out, those talking points were a series of fabrications.

In a February 2013 radio interview, Boal asserted: “Of course we tried to be as honest as we could. Who would go into a movie like this knowing there’s going to be the scrutiny there is, knowing the importance, knowing the deep underlying fissures in our political system on the policy issues and try to play fast and loose? You’d have to be out of your mind to do that.” Was Boal out of his mind then? Or had he simply bought into the “war on terror” so deeply that he was incapable of identifying lies when they were told him?

It is almost farcical. This is Boal, in the same radio interview, on the details of the hunt for bin Laden, now exposed as part of a White House-CIA cover story:

“I think that what led to Osama Bin Laden’s death is the work of thousands of people over the course of 10 years. We depict some of them. There were many different places that the information came from. Some of it came from the detainee program. A lot of it came out of good old-fashioned sleuthing, detective work, some of it came out of electronic surveillance. There’s a whole host of methods, but at the end of the day what the movie is really about that there’s a cerebral cortex involved here.”

Boal here admits somewhat grudgingly—after all, he is a liberal-minded man!—that only “some” of the information came from “the detainee program,” i.e., torture. And, as a result of Boal’s including this claim in the film, Zero Dark Thirty became part of the argument in certain circles for the effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation.” But, in any case, it was all made up! Interrogations and torture had nothing to do with bin Laden’s being located.

Hersh writes: “That US intelligence had learned of bin Laden’s whereabouts from information acquired by waterboarding and other forms of torture,” a complete invention, was “pushed by [John] Brennan and [CIA director] Leon Panetta.” A bunch of retired CIA officers had been called in, according to one of Hersh’s sources, “‘to help with the cover story. So the old-timers come in and say why not admit that we got some of the information about bin Laden from enhanced interrogation?’ At the time, there was still talk in Washington about the possible prosecution of CIA agents who had conducted torture.”

It is difficult to express in words the contempt one feels for individuals like Bigelow and Boal.

They were both “leftists” of a sort once upon a time. In the 1970s Bigelow (born 1951) was a radical opponent of the Vietnam War, a figure on the artistic “avant-garde scene” and a student of postmodernism at Columbia University. One of her earliest film projects was a critique of US counterinsurgency methods and the use of death squads.

According to Jordan Michael Smith in the Nation, Boal (born 1973), a graduate of Oberlin College, “began writing for The Village Voice in 1998, documenting concerns about the burgeoning US surveillance infrastructure. … Boal was also freelancing for Mother Jones. In a terrific 1999 cover story, he investigated a garment factory in Kentucky that qualified as a sweatshop because of its below-sustenance wages, dangerous working conditions and intimidation against union organizers.”

Both have evolved, along with many other former middle class protesters and dissidents, into enthusiastic defenders of the state and its brutal operations, at home and abroad.

“You gotta be kidding me.” – Seymour Hersh on the timing of the new Bin Laden documents: here.