Venice Star-Studded Film Festival

Venice

Since the seventies, when director Terrence Malick was at the beginning of his cinema journey, he dreamed of a movie that required massive capabilities to be implemented; a movie that speaks of the universe since its first creation to the modern era of contemporary woman.

He tackled this topic few years ago when he directed the “Tree of Life” movie, and dedicated a part of it to reflect his thoughts on this philosophical aspect, but with his new movie “Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey”, he introduced a film that completely talks about creation, life, entourage, and life of planets, earth, and sky. He spent many years and loads of money on the movie that shall be featured for the first time in Venice Film Festival on Wednesday.

*The Strangest Movie

The movie is expected to steal the lights from “2001: A Space Odyssey” directed by Stanley Kubrick; two versions of the movie will be showed: one at the IMAX Theatres and the another during Venice Film Festival.

According to Venice film festival’s director Alberto Barbera, Maleck’s film is the strangest among movies featured before in the festival. However, this doesn’t mean that it will steal all the lights, given that the new edition of the festival comprises many anticipated works by many directors.

20 movies from the United States, Mexico, France, Germany, Holland, and Chili, will partake in the festival, in addition to many movies of partnered production.

Some of the movies showed during the Italian festival tackle topics from the past like critical wars, characters who lived disturbed lives, others feature aliens that came seeking to settle on earth.

Other movies participating in the festival include:

Nocturnal Animals

A movie by Tom Ford is based on Austin Wright’s novel that stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead to play the roles of a woman who thinks that her ex-husband plans to kill her.

*Frantz

For the French director Francois with his new movie in black and white and story from the World War I, talking about a lady who discovers that her beloved was not loyal to her.

* Hacksaw Ridge

By Mel Gibson, who introduced a movie with a story from the World War II featuring the biography of the U.S. Army medic Desmond Doss, who was the first soldier to receive the honorary medal.

*The Untamed

A horror science-fiction movie directed by the Mexican director Amat Escalante that discusses an emotional crisis that ends with a disaster caused by the intervention of an alien between a husband and his wife.

*Arrival

It is another science-fiction movie for the Canadian director Denis Villeneuve that features the story of a family of aliens landing on earth and seeking to settle in one of the planet’s villages.

*The Age of Shadow

A movie directed by the Japanese director Kim Jee-woon featuring a story that happens during the Japanese occupation of Korea on a Korean man who decides to work as a double spy on both Korean and Japan.

*Brimstone

It is a western-kind movie directed by the Dutch Martin Koolhoven.

*The Magnificent Seven

The story of the movie, which is directed by the talented Antoine Fuqua, takes place in the Old West of the United States.

*Jackie

It is a movie featuring the biography of the former first lady of the White House Jackie Kennedy; the film which stars Natalie Portman, is directed by Pablo Larraín.

Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony Dazzles the World

London – Director Fernando Meirelles was faced with a great challenge when he was assigned to orchestrate the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

The director of the award-winning film “City of God” and “The Constant Gardener” is known for dealing with crime and violence in his films. So what it is that he can present at the Rio Olympics?

With all the previous extravagant ceremonies hanging over his head, Meirelles chose his opening ceremony to express the spirit of Brazil rejoicing life with fun and happiness.

“Athens was classic, Beijing was grandiose, London was smart – ours is going to be cool,” said the director during one of the interviews.

The ceremony focused on three main things: creation of Earth, nature, protecting the environment, diversity and fun. Meirelles didn’t have many options as he had to give a show that focuses on Brazil’s festivals without relying much on technology.

Everyone at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic stadium Maracana admitted that it was anti-depressant despite the limited budget and the struggling country that faces its worst economic time and recession in 80 years. Almost ten thousand police man were responsible of the security measures around and at the gates of the stadium.

The ceremony revealed Brazil’s rainforests and the creativity and diversity of its people.

On Friday, the four-hour ceremony kicked off with “Aquelle Abraco” (That Embrace) composed by the Grammy Award winner Gilberto Gil, accompanied by laser show and dancing.

Then came the famous Samba songwriter Paulinho de Viola who sang the Brazilian national anthem while playing the guitar.

Fernando Meirelles wanted the ceremony to be an antidepressant: “”I hope the opening ceremony can be a kind of anti-depressant for Brazil.”

The stadium with over 60 thousand spectator pulsed with lights, fireworks, circus-like acrobatics and a samba sing along that embraced the nation’s partying style. After which the Brazilian super model Gisele Bundchen crossed the whole field as the song “Girl from Ipanema” played. It was a true Brazilian carnival with colors, music and drums.

The carnival depicted the history of Brazil with the arrival of enslaved Africans 400 years ago in Brazil, followed by the arrival of the Portuguese conquistadors, until Brazil’s modern history.

The show also focused on Earth’s future with global warming and stressed that Brazil with the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, plays an important role.

The ceremony also had an important message to deliver to the world. They showed images from NASA that sheds a light on the environmental change, pollution and many other aspects.

According to Olympic traditions, delegation from Greece was the first to enter, while the team of the hosting country entered last after the Refugees Team, which was highly welcomed by everyone during the ceremony.

Reception varied for teams with Portugal receiving one of the best greetings followed by the Italian and Mexican delegation.

The Russian delegation entered the stadium with smiles despite the poor reception and the disapproving cheers. The Argentinian delegation was also boo-ed due to the historic rivalry between the two countries.

Despite the over-weighing loss in the World Cup of 2014, Brazilians cheered for the German delegation.

Of the attendees, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, French President Francois Hollande, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes, and U.S. State Secretary John Kerry.

Rio’s Olympic Opening Ceremonies Had Low Budget, High Appeal

Olympic

The Summer Olympic Games kicked off Friday night in an opening ceremony headlined by supermodel Gisele Bundchen at the fabled Maracana stadium.

Brazil unfurled the event with a gutted budget, a reflection of Brazil’s tough economic times which nonetheless triggered joy and amusement among the crowds with lights, fireworks, circus-like acrobats all to the pounding beat of samba, bossa nova and funk.

Reflecting their own style, the Brazilians replaced the high-tech taste that has come to define the opening ceremonies of Olympic Games from Beijing to London to Sochi, with a more organic, authentic and nature-like one. Their show didn’t rely on expensive mechanical audacities; they resorted to what the program described as “analogue inventiveness” and further used the ceremony as a chance to call on the 3 billion people watching the opening of the world’s premiere sporting event to take care of the planet, plant seeds and protect the verdant land that Europeans found here five centuries ago.

The first South American country to host the Olympics used the opening of the Games to tell a version of the country’s history – from slavery to mega-cities.

Despite the resentful undercurrent, and protests against the Games just hours earlier, spirits were high among the athletes, performers, fans and officials at the 78,000-capacity Maracana, and following the hour-long show, athletes paraded into the stadium – led first, per tradition, by Greece, which hosted the initial Games.

The order then proceeded alphabetically; athletes from Cameroon wore traditional flowing robes, those from communist-led Cuba had outfits designed by a French luxury footwear designer. The team from the United States – Estados Unidos, in Portugese – paraded in earlier than it usually does, this time wearing blue blazers and being led by legendary swimmer Michael Phelps.

Many people had expected the Olympic flame to be lit by 75-year-old soccer legend Pelé, but he said that he would not participate in the ceremony because of his health. Instead, that honor went to Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, a Brazilian former marathoner who won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

“The Olympic dream is now a wonderful reality. The best place in the world is here and now,” said organising committee chief Carlos Nuzman, to rapturous applause.

Remarkable Gulf Victories at England’s Royal Ascot

Ascot

London – Royal Ascot, the British royal festival which is deemed the oldest and most famous horse races in the world, will be concluded on Saturday with remarkable victories achieved by Gulf horses.

Royal Ascot 2016 is taking place in the city of Berkshire from June 14 to June 18, as many of the world’s top trainers, jockeys and horses bid for glory at Britain’s most valuable race meeting.

The event is attended by Queen Elizabeth II, members of the British royal family and prominent international figures, as well as 300 spectators.

The legendary British race, which dates back to 1711, was highlighted this year by the remarkable participation of Arab horses from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.

The second day of the festival witnessed a very exciting competition as the UAE horses have been able to achieve the lead in three races.

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Wednesday witnessed victories of Godolphin’s team.

Ladies Day, which falls on the third day of Royal Ascot, is one of the biggest events in the British fashion calendar.

Blooming flowers, animals and patriotic references were among the fashion inspirations for race-goers on Thursday, with a range of colorful and quirky hats on display at the famed horse racing event.

Mickey Takes on Locals with Disney’s $5.5 Billion Shanghai Bet

Disney

Walt Disney Co has a challenge with the opening of the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disneyland drawing near. For instance, the hold of rival Asian characters such as China’s homegrown Boonie Bears or Big Big Wolf means seven-year-olds like Li Yixuan have less time for Mickey Mouse and Friends.

China’s attitude to Disney is uncertain, which reveals a kind of clash between nationalistic sentiment and the desire for American-style consumption among the growing middle class.

However, while the number of competing theme parks in China soars, it will become somehow harder to win the hearts of Chinese children and to urge their parents to spend money to fuel long-term traffic after the turnstiles start clicking on June 16.

“When we get kids now to write down their favorite cartoon character, very few put down Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck,” said Song Lei, Hong Kong-based director at Animation-Comic-Game Group, the organizer of Asia’s biggest annual fair for comics, anime and games.

“Instead it’s what is being broadcast on television, what they’re seeing in their day-to-day,” he said. That means the Boonie Bears duo and mischievous, super-powered pig GG Bond, he said.

That’s not helped by a ban on imported cartoons during the late afternoon “golden hour” peak viewing time for children.

“There are people that love Disney and those that don’t, for a variety of reasons,” said Chris Yoshii, Asia-Pacific vice president for AECOM and a member of the Themed Entertainment Association. He predicts China’s theme park market will overtake the United States in the “not too distant future”.
But that’s by no means all Disney.

About 2,500 parks are planned in China, including Japanese brand Hello Kitty, and there is already a “Dwarf Empire” in Yunnan.

Saudi Expert: ‘Etiquette’ Goes Beyond Table Manners

London-Arab families used to send their daughters to Switzerland, France and Britain to learn the “Etiquette” bases in extensive sessions. But the “Etiquette House,” an initiative launched by the Saudi Dania bin Saedan, offers the opportunity to acquire etiquette skills in the middle of Riyadh.

Bin Saedan studied etiquette in the United Kingdom and received a training certificate from London School of Etiquette. When she returned to Saudi Arabia, she launched many training sessions and workshops in her country and the Gulf, aiming to spread the rules she learned in the Gulf society.

Most people assume that “Etiquette art” is from French origins. Yet, the Saudi expert told Asharq Al-Awsat that this art’s bases are extracted from Islam. She said that when she was studying in the UK, one of her teachers informed her that etiquette is linked to Islam in many aspects, like the rule of eating with the right hand. Therefore, during her workshops, Bin Saedan is always eager to use Quran versus and Hadith when teaching etiquette lessons.

While some consider that learning etiquette and protocol is a sort of luxury and a practice designated for aristocrats and rich people, Dania ensured for years to spread the etiquette message as an inclusive topic that goes beyond table manners and specific categories in the community. The expert added that etiquette should be taught in schools and workplaces.

Concerning the etiquette-related mistakes that Arab people commit, she said that throwing garbage and cigarette buts on the streets is the biggest one and the disrespect of queues are the most common.

The “Etiquette House” project provides many sessions and workshops to teach etiquette for children and adults, including etiquette skills of tea drinking, wardrobe choices, invitations, and work.

The project also covers social media with two accounts on Twitter and Instagram to interact with the people interested in etiquette and to answer their questions. Bin Saedan hopes she can soon share video tutorials on YouTube.

Designers Celebrate with Their Arab Clients The Start Of Ramadan Month… With A Twist

Ramadan month

London: Several Western designer houses are clashing in their trials to attract the Arab client before the start of the Ramadan month, but fail to understand Arab’s shopping needs, and only look at these clients’ capacities to spend large amounts of money on daring accessories and expensive products.

In Great Britain and every year during this period, designers get prepared for Arab clients by offering new products and getting rid of the old, before their arrival in the summer.

There are some designer houses that understand, or at least understand the culture of their Arab client whose need for shopping increases during the month of Ramadan due to women’s need for elegant clothes and accessories when attending all the Iftar invitations and the family entertainment evenings.

These houses are now targeting the client in his own ground, by offering a unique collection specially designed for the month of Ramadan. Such attempts witness an acceptable success, because the designs often respect the eastern milieu and the Ramadan spirit, and at the same time, offer women new choices, instead of providing designs that only look at financial profits.

In other terms, many Arab women saw nothing different in the abayas designed by Dolce & Gabbana from the ones already made by Arab designers. The mistake of Dolce & Gabbana was their interest in iconic pieces with deep cultural meanings, that could only be understood by people living in this region or orientalists who had spend years studying Arab culture.

Such mistake drove Burberry fashion house to take a totally different policy by using a more simple language in dealing with the Arab client. The British fashion house decided to celebrate the opening of its immense shop in the U.A.E. last April with its traditional iconic trench-coat, by photographing leading Arab figures, wearing it, each in its own way.

Burberry also offered a unique collection ahead of the month of Ramadan, without referring to the abayas or caftans to reach Arab women’s wardrobe, but, instead, it kept its style as a British designer brand by respecting the Arab environment and the spiritual milieu of Ramadan.

Burberry Creative Director Christopher Bailey suggested a collection of long evening dresses, in addition to silk scarfs, stone embellished sandals, and expensive leather handbags, all designed in London and produced in Italy in small quantities.

In the month of Ramadan, Burberry and other designer houses discovered the increase of selling in the region. Therefore, some of these brands knew how to please their clients by offering modern styles that could be appreciated by Arab women rather than using traditional Arab pieces to reach Arab clients’ pockets.

Singer Prince Died of Accidental Painkiller Overdose: Medical Examiner

Singer Prince

Singer Prince, 57, who was found dead in his home in a Minneapolis suburb in late April, died of an accidental, self-administered overdose of an opioid painkiller, according to the county medical examiner death report on Thursday.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka County, Minnesota, had been investigating his death since he was found in an elevator in his home and studio on April 21.

“The decedent self-administered fentanyl,” the medical examiner’s report said, listing cause of death as “fentanyl toxicity” and noting it was accidental.

After prescription opioid medication was found at the scene, the investigation of Prince’s death had focused on painkillers, especially with reports stating that he had been struggling with an addiction and been scheduled to meet with a doctor who specializes in treating dependency.

Fentanyl is a highly addictive opiate that is more powerful than morphine and is used to treat patients with severe pain.

Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, did not leave a will, and his multimillion-dollar estate including royalties from his more than 30 albums is being handled by a court. The songwriter’s hits included “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry.”

German Court Allows Music Sampling for Hip-Hop Producer

German Court

Germany’s Constitutional Court handed a defeat to electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk on Tuesday by ruling that a hip-hop artist can sample a two-second beat from a band’s tracks without infringing copyright.

The ruling upturns a decision issued earlier by the Federal Court of Justice and further addresses the complex legal issue of the competing interests of artistic freedom and copyright.

The sequences were only seconds long and “led to the creation of a totally new and independent piece of work”, according to the court.

“The economic value of the original sound was therefore not diminished,” the court said, adding that banning sampling would in effect spell the end of some music styles.

“The hip-hop music style lives by using such sound sequences and would not survive if it were banned.”

The ruling is considered as a blow for Kraftwerk singer Ralf Huetter who debated his copyright had been breached by producer Moses Pelham in the song “Nur Mir”, German for “Only for Me”, sung by rapper Sabrina Setlur.

Worth noting that the two-second beat sequence originally came from Kraftwerk’s track “Metall auf Metall”, or “Metal on Metal”, is repeated in the song.

Turning 90, Winnie-The-Pooh Meets Britain’s Queen in New Story

Pooh

Most famous and much-loved by children, Winnie-the-Pooh, turns 90 this year coming with a new adventure in which he meets someone else celebrating the very same birthday, her majesty, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

“Winnie-the-Pooh and the Royal Birthday” sees the popular bear from A.A. Milne’s children’s stories travel to London with friends Christopher Robin, Piglet and Eeyore, where they take in the famous sites and arrive at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth turned 90 last month while Milne’s first Winnie-the-Pooh book came out in October 1926. As for the short illustrated and audio story, written by Jane Riordan, can be downloaded for free and has been released to celebrate both birthdays.

Noting that it was illustrated by Mark Burgess in the style used by E.H. Shepard for Milne’s stories.

“There’s such a wit and a style to the stories that adults enjoy reading them to children,” British actor Jim Broadbent, who narrates the audio story, said in a video release.

“… The children love them and they then love them and want to pass them on to the next generation and they carry on.”