Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kristen Stewart / 'I'd love to work with Lars von Trier'

Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart: 

'I'd love to work with Lars von Trier'

The Twilight actor, who has two films playing at Cannes, would next most like to collaborate with the controversial Danish auteur

Nigel M Smith in Cannes
Wednesday 18 May 2016 11.30 BST

Kristen Stewart has said that she would “kill” to work with Lars von Trier. Stewart confessed to her love for von Trier to the Guardian while discussing Allen’s Cannes-opener, Café Society.
Speaking at a press event for Cafe Society, Stewart was asked which film-makers she was keen to work with and said: “I love Lars von Trier. It’s hard for me to think of those things and I’m reluctant to say [who] because they follow you around. Seems horse before the cart. But I would kill to work for Lars von Trier.”
Since breaking out in David Fincher’s Panic Room in 2002, Stewart has continued to align herself with a strong array of directors, including most recently Woody Allen and Olivier Assayas, who both have films at the Cannes film festival starring the Twilight actor.

The Danish auteur fits the bill: he’s a Palme d’Or winning and Oscar-nominated film-maker - but he’s also among the industry’s most controversial figures, following his Nazi jokes while promoting Melancholia at Cannes in 2011.
Female actors have done well by working with von Trier: Emily Watson earned an Oscar nomination for his 1996 drama Breaking the Waves; Björk won at Cannes in 2000 for her performance in Palme d’Or winner Dancer in the Dark; ditto Kirsten Dunst for 2011’s Melancholia.
 Stewart with her Personal Shopper director Olivier Assayas
Photograph: Ian Langsdon/

Currently, Stewart is drawing raves for her performance in Assayas’ ghostly horror, Personal Shopper, in which she plays a fashion PA trying to exorcise herself of her dead twin. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called her “tremendous” in the film.
The film marks her second collaboration with Assayas, following 2014’s Cannes competition entry Clouds of Sils Maria. Her role in that drama earned Stewart a César award (France’s equivalent to an Academy award) for best actress, making her the first American actor to net the honour.

Kristen Stewart / 'Sometimes I do feel a bit like I have my limbs cut off'

Kristen Stewart
Photo by Mario Testino
Kristen Stewart: 
'Sometimes I do feel a bit like I have my limbs cut off'
The star of Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper, in which she plays an assistant to an immensely famous model, says she sometimes feels debilitated by fame and shares her thoughts on the supernatural

Henry Barnes
Tuesday 17 May 2016 14.41 BST

The lack of freedom afforded to you by being famous feels a bit like “having your limbs cut off”, Kristen Stewart told press at the Cannes film festival.
The actor was speaking at the press conference for Olivier Assayas’s supernatural drama, Personal Shopper. The second film at Cannes in which she stars (the other is Woody Allen’s Café Society, which opened the festival last week), Personal Shopper sees her play Maureen, a psychic medium who, during daylight hours, assists a famous fashion model with her clothing choices.
Stewart said she liked how “capable” her character was and – as someone who relies on personal assistants herself – said she envied Maureen’s freedom.
“[You] feel so incapable of going to the store. Well, technically you can, but it proves to be logistically not worth it,” she said. “It was fun to play somebody who was so capable. Sometimes I do feel a little bit like I have my limbs cut off. That’s not to say that [fame] is a bad feeling, but it is surreal.”
Assayas’s film combines fashion industry satire with family drama and supernatural horror. Maureen is grieving for her twin, Lewis, who was also a medium. The pair agreed before he died that the first of them to go would send a sign to the other if an afterlife exists. We join Maureen as she waits for Lewis to make contact.
Asked if she herself believed in ghosts Stewart said that, while she had been afraid of them as a kid, she was agnostic about the existence of the supernatural.
“I really don’t know,” she said. “But I’m really sensitive – this is going to look great in quotes – I’m really sensitive to energies. I truly believe that I’m driven by something that I can’t really define and so I can’t necessarily take responsibility for it, but it gives me the feeling that we’re not so alone.”

Kristen Steward
Photo by Ian Gavan

Personal Shopper met with a mixed reaction from critics after its first screening at Cannes last night, with some members of the audience greeting it with boos, the same form of feedback that was delivered to Andrea Arnold’s American Honey last week. Asked if the vocal reception had bothered him, Assayas, a festival regular, laughed and said that he had come to expect the unexpected from Cannes.
“Movies have a life of their own,” he said. “What’s exciting about Cannes is that yesterday no one had seen this film and today it’s in front of the whole world. It’s a very instant, very powerful moment. It’s like giving birth. People have expectations about what it will be. You expect anything at Cannes. You just go with the flow”.

“Imagine if people booed when you gave birth,” joked German actor Lars Eidinger, who plays the boyfriend of Stewart’s character’s boss in the film.
Both Stewart and Eidinger have worked Assayas before on his film Clouds of Sils Maria. That film premiered in competition at Cannes two years ago. Stewart, again playing the role of a personal assistant to a celebrity, went on to become the first American female actor to win the César award, France’s equivalent of an Oscar.
“There’s a flame that he lights under my ass that is stronger than I’ve ever felt,” she said of her working relationship with Assayas. “I navigate my career by feel, and I feel him.”
In a central scene in Personal Shopper Maureen is plagued by an unknown virtual assailant who sends her frightening text messages. Stewart, while answering a question about the nature of modern technology with her thoughts on how dangerous it is to get too disconnected from the real world, was interrupted by a mobile phone owned by one of the press.
“What the hell?!,” she said.
During the press conference, an assistant – a tall, broad man in a dark suit – stood to the side of the room holding a pair of trainers for Stewart to wear when she was ready to leave.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Isabelle Huppert / Elle is not about a woman 'accepting her rapist'

Isabelle Huppert
Cannes 2016

Isabelle Huppert: Elle is not about a woman 'accepting her rapist'

At the Cannes film festival, the actor said that her controversial dark comedy, about a woman dealing with sexual assault in an unconventional manner, should be taken as a ‘fantasy’

Benjamin Lee
Saturday 21 May 2016 13.02 BST

The fantasy is within yourself but it’s not necessarily something that you want to happen’ ...
Isabelle Huppert on her character in Elle. Photograph: Valery Hache

Isabelle Huppert has spoken about her provocative new film Elle, claiming “it’s not a statement about a woman being raped”.

The controversial black comedy was greeted with shocked laughter and enthusiastic applause as it screened at the Cannes film festival earlier today. In the film, directed by Paul Verhoeven, Huppert plays a woman who is brutally raped but deals with the fallout in a perverse and often darkly comical way.

Isabelle Huppert and Paul Verhoeven

“The story shouldn’t be taken as a realistic story,” she said at a press conference. “It’s not a statement about a woman being raped and accepting her rapist, that’s not what it’s about. It should be taken as more of a fantasy. The fantasy is within yourself but it’s not necessarily something that you want to happen. It’s something that you couldn’t confess. It’s in your inner thoughts and of course, Paul Verhoeven projects that on screen but it doesn’t mean that it happens to all women in the world. It happens to that woman in particular. It’s not trying to make a general statement and I think when you watch the film, that’s the way you take it.”
The film, which the Guardian’s Xan Brooks described as “endlessly disturbing”, is based on the acclaimed novel Oh... by Philippe Djian, and its author defended the central character’s frequently bizarre behaviour.

Isabelle Huppert and Paul Verhoeven (R) pose during the photocall for Elle. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

“She’s just someone who tries to not obey codes,” Djian said. “She tries to be free. It’s her own personal freedom. It’s frightening because people don’t like women to feel free. She wants to react how she likes without following societal codes.”
Verhoeven, who has made films in both the US - such as Basic Instinct and Showgirls - and Europe (Black Book and Turkish Delight), was originally going to make the film in the US but said that “no American actress would take on such an amoral movie”.
Dijan added: “All these wonderful American actresses turned it down for reasons that are so foreign”.
Despite also being known for iconic sci-fi movies such as Total Recall and Robocop, Verhoeven is keen to stay grounded from now on.
“I’m not so positive about the further development of all this science fiction stuff,” he said. “I have a feeling that everything has been said and done and we should go back to normality. All these big superheroes and whatever, I don’t know what kind of wet dream this is of the US but I feel that we have lost contact with normal people. The story of us is more interesting than that of a superhero.”

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro accused of being 'as mad as a goat'

Nicolás Maduro

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro accused of being 'as mad as a goat'

  • Uruguay’s former leader José Mujica says ‘they are all crazy in ‘Venezuela’
  • Maduro has called another official a CIA agent and a ‘traitor’

Venezuela’s embattled president Nicolás Maduro is “mad as a goat”, according to Uruguay’s former leader José “Pepe” Mujica.
Mujica’s comments came after Maduro accused the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) of being a “traitor” and CIA agent.
They’re all crazy in Venezuela,” Mujica said. “I have great respect for Maduro, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say ‘You’re crazy, you’re as mad as a goat.’”

Venezuela needs Nicolás Maduro’s allies to make him see reason

Venezuela needs Nicolás Maduro’s allies to make him see reason

Since succeeding Hugo Chávez three years ago, Maduro has plunged the country into ever-worsening chaos. Action needs to be taken if a humanitarian crisis is to be averted

Thursday 19 May 2016 

Venezuela, newborn babies are dying at obscene rates. In the first three months of 2016, more than 200 died in hospitals in Caracas, Cumaná and San Cristóbal. Doctors and parents blame power outages, damaged incubators and shortages of medicines. Many Venezuelans, myself included, also blame the government of Nicolás Maduro.

In the last three years, the “heir” of Hugo Chávez has led the country into a maelstrom of anarchy and annihilation that one would expect only of a nation devastated by war. Statistics for homicides, impunity, repression, political persecution, censorship, inflation, devaluation, business closures and expropriations, unemployment and migration – already terrifying during the Chávez era – have gone through the roof.

Amy Winehouse / Amy / Posters

Amy Winehouse

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump / 'Almost a death knell for the human species'

‘I’m not sure he knows what he thinks

Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump: 'Almost a death knell for the human species'

As he appears in new documentary The Divide, the great intellectual explains why Brexit is unimportant, why Trump’s climate change denial is catastrophic – and why revolution is easier than you think

Leo Benedictus
Friday 20 May 2016 15.14 BST

Have you seen The Divide, the British documentary you took part in? 
The Divide? I haven’t seen it, no.
Perhaps it’s been a while since you filmed it? 
Well, I’m interviewed all the time.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Venezuela believes happiness should be in national interes

Maduro shows the so-call "Blue Book" which contains Chávez thought. / AFP

Venezuela believes happiness should be in national interest

President Maduro creates new office to supervise social programs coming out of Havana

For the Venezuelan government, happiness should be in the national interest. So President Nicolás Maduro announced on Thursday that he was appointing a new deputy minister responsible for people’s social happiness.
Among the duties of the new deputy minister will be to supervise the social missions between Caracas and its major ally Havana, which were created under late President Hugo Chávez.
The office will be dedicated to Chávez and 19th-century liberator Simón Bolívar and will help with the needs of the most impoverished citizens and deal with their complaints, said Maduro, who explained that the new ministry was the brainchild of his wife, Cilia Flores.
Ruling party deputy Rafael Ríos will be in charge of the new office and will be assisted by Chávez’s former doctor, Julio César Alviarez, who helped treat the former president before he died from cancer on March 5.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dying Infants and No Medicine / Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals

Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals

MAY 15, 2016

Mueren recién nacidos y faltan las medicinas / El colapso del sistema de salud en Venezuela

BARCELONA, Venezuela — By morning, three newborns were already dead.
The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward.
Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Flóra Borsi's Real Life Models - in pictures

Gelber Narrenhut by Rudolf Hausner

Flóra Borsi's Real Life Models 

- in pictures

Twenty-year-old Hungarian photo-manipulation artist Flóra Borsi uses graphics software to bring the impossible to life. Her Real Life Models series highlights the elongated necks and accentuated eyes of figures in classic artworks by imagining how the muses of painters such as Picasso and Modigliani might have looked if they'd stepped out of the paintings. 'I observed the little details, clothes, accessories that made the paintings recognisable,' explains Borsi, who posed for each reconstruction and then digitally retouched her own image and reproduced 'the most prevalent parts of the original painting', to create real-life replicas and slightly uncanny self-portraits

Leah Harper
Sunday 18 May 2014 00.05 BST

Woman with Green Hat by Pablo Picasso