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Film ‘The Florida Project ’ Shines Bright Light on Hidden Homeless

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Writer-director Sean Baker, from left, actress Brooklynn Prince and actor Willem Dafoe pose together to promote their film, "The Florida Project,". voa

Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” takes place in a blindingly purple low-budget motel named the Magic Castle, just down Route 192 from Disney’s Magic Kingdom. For the children of single parents who live there, the Kissimmee, Florida, motel is a playground — even if they’re living in poverty.

The Florida Project,” which opens in theaters Friday, is an ebullient, candy-colored movie wrapped around the very real issue of hidden homelessness. Families nationwide are living below the poverty line and eking out an existence in cheap motels, but the problem is particularly acute — and ironic — in the shadows of Walt Disney World.

The Florida Project stars Willem Dafoe as the kindly father-figure manager Bobby, but its central characters are played by newcomers. The feisty, scamming Halley (Bria Vinaite) is the 23-year-old mother to Moonee (7-year-old Brooklynn Prince), a free-spirited troublemaker who, with her friends (including the 6-year-old Valeria Cotto), are a delightful menace to Bobby and the motel’s residents. (voa)

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Sexual abuse is everywhere in the world, says Radhika

The actress believes that one should know how to say 'No'

Radhika Apte's view on sexual abuse
Bollywood actress Radhika Apte says that sexual abuse is not only in B-town but in every part of the society. Wikimedia Commons

– Durga Chakravarty

Actress Radhika Apte feels that sexual abuse does not only exist in the world of showbiz but takes place in every alternate household.

“Sexual abuse takes place in every alternate household. So it’s not a part of just the film industry. You have so much child abuse, domestic abuse everywhere in the world, including India,” Radhika told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

She says it exists in “every field and household at some level or the other and that it all needs to be eliminated”.

Sexual abuse does not target just women, stresses Radhika.

“It’s also towards men, little boys and everybody. People exploit their power at every level.”

Radhika asserted that this needed to change.

“I think it starts from us putting our foot down and saying ‘no’ to things, however big your ambition is. You need to be brave about it, believe in your own talent, say ‘no’ and start speaking up because if one person speaks up, nobody is going to listen to him or her. But if 10 people do, then others would (listen to them),” she said.

The “Phobia” actress, who will be seen mentoring budding filmmakers in MTV’s upcoming digital show “Fame-istan”, says there has to be a more organised platform for people to work.

“There has to be more professional platforms as well as rules in place which is slowly happening.”

Sexual abuse has been a topic of debate in Bollywood and Hollywood. Prominent names from the entertainment industry are discussing how men in power take advantage of women in exchange for taking forward their dreams.

The sexual harassment saga started when a media house published a story in October revealing numerous accusations of sexual abuse against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

But why are no names taken in the case of casting couch in Bollywood?

“Because of fear, because people who have great ambitions are afraid. They think of what will happen to them if they take somebody’s name who has so much power. That’s what I am saying. Everybody has to speak up,” she added.

Radhika ventured into Bollywood in 2005 with “Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!” and since then has explored genres like thriller, drama and adult comedy with films like “Rakht Charitra”, “Shor in the City”, “Badlapur”, “Parched” and “Hunterrr”.

Was it a conscious decision to act less in commercial entertainers?

Radhika said: “Nothing like that. You have to choose from the work that you have. You can’t say that ‘I want that’ if that’s not been offered to you. So, whatever is offered to you, you choose from that. You make your choice whatever you feel is going to be more challenging or something that inspires you or excites you.”

She says she makes her choices in the “spur of the moment” with whatever she feels intuitively. “I am not a very big planner.” (IANS)

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Documentary ’78/52′ Explores The Killer From Hitchcock’s Classic ‘Psycho’ : Watch Trailer and Latest Updates

It is captivating, it is enthralling ; from the very first glimpse of the trailer, 78/52 appears to be a promising film.

The iconic 3 minute murder sequence from Psycho has been honored with an entire documentary titled 78/52 devoted to its brilliance. Youtube
  • New documentary ’78/52′ draws upon Alfred Hitchcock’s celebrated film Psycho
  • The documentary examines how Hitchcock  shot the shower scene that went on to make history
  • 78/52 will have a theatrical release on October 13

Washington D.C, September 1, 2017 : The trailer to 78/52 opens with Alfred Hitchcock’s distinctive voice that instantly brings goose-bumps, “I once made a movie. It was intended to cause people to scream and yell, but I was horrified that some people took it seriously.” Hitchcock’s film ‘Psycho’ changed the heartbeat of the world, and made the shower-scene immortal. And the documentary 78/52 aims to explore just that!

78/52, directed by Alexandre O. Philippe will present a detailed frame-by-frame analysis of the iconic shower scene from Psycho in an attempt to know more about ‘the man behind the curtain’.

The title of the documentary sounds as intriguing as the original sequence was.

If you are wondering about it, ‘78/52’ refers to the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts that were taken to accomplish the iconic shower scene; a singular event that had taken one-quarter of Psycho’s shooting schedule.

For director O. Philippe, the murder in the shower scene was a critical and defining cultural moment; he calls it “the most important scene in the history of motion pictures”. According to him, the 3-minute long scene was “the culmination of decades of experimentation for Mr. Hitchcock, and the purest expression of his absolute mastery of the art and craft of film-making.”

Analyzing ‘The Man Behind The Curtain’

Hitchock had once admitted that the shower scene was his only motivation to make a film in the first place. And rightly so! The film (and the scene) went on to become one of the most celebrated works in the global film-making industry.

ALSO READ New Documentary on Princess Diana accounts Prince William’s and Harry’s Last Memories with their Mother

As per the trailer, 78/52 presents a captivating analysis of O. Philippe’s interpretation of this iconic scene that altered the course of world cinema.

The documentary is believed to explore the murder scene wherein the crook Marion Crane (character played by Janet Leigh) was repeatedly slashed with a knife by an intruder from different angles and perspectives. Additionally, the documentary will pay special emphasis on the technical aspects of shooting and the sequence’s impact on the culture and practice of movie-making.

ALSO WATCH Trailer of documentary 78/52

The trailer also reveals that the documentary aims to uncover the depiction of violence by critically studying the allusions and double meaning created by Hitchcock in the original 3 minutes-long sequence.

Following its Sundance premier, the makers have now released the trailer of the documentary ahead of its theatrical release which has generated immense curiosity among viewers worldwide.

Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, the documentary features in-depth interviews of filmmakers, critics and fans including Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Eli Roth and Peter Bogdanovich among others.

It is captivating, it is enthralling; 78/52 is being touted as a multifaceted master class that makes for a intriguing piece of cinematic detective work.

78/52 will be officially released across all digital platforms on October 13


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US and China head to deepen Art and Cultural ties, China to Invest in Hollywood

In August, Fenton will be taking a group of U.S. lawmakers to China to look at the country's growing entertainment and media industry, with the hope of even more Chinese investment in Hollywood

U.S. first lady Melania Trump and China's first lady Peng Liyuan listen as students perform for them during a visit to Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida,Source-VOA

Los Angeles, May 24, 2017: On the political and military front, U.S.-China relations have been an often-tense dance between governments. However, in arts and education, many say the relationship is deepening. There is debate among Americans as to whether the ties are positive or negative.

Some say this is progress that is reaping economic and cultural benefits for citizens in both countries.

“When people collaborate on making anything artistic, there’s an emotional pull inside of that and if it works well, you not only have a great business, you also have a great diplomatic cohesion between the two countries,” said Chris Fenton, U.S.-Asia Institute Trustee and the President of DMG Entertainment.

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In August, Fenton will be taking a group of U.S. lawmakers to China to look at the country’s growing entertainment and media industry, with the hope of even more Chinese investment in Hollywood.

On Jan. 21, 2011, then-Chinese President Hu Jintao visits the The Confucius Institute which is housed at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago.
On Jan. 21, 2011, then-Chinese President Hu Jintao visits The Confucius Institute which is housed at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago. VOA


Chinese language and culture

China has also been investing in educating Americans in language and culture through its Confucius Institutes. Mandarin immersion kindergarten teacher Carol Chen says the University of California Los Angeles Confucius Institute has been a good resource for her and her students.

“For example, books and also resources of our Chinese cultures. One of the years, they actually brought Chinese folk culture tradition to the campus,” said Chen, who teaches at Broadway Elementary, a dual language immersion school.

Funded by the Chinese government, there are nearly 500 Confucius Institutes globally, most on university campuses. The UCLA Confucius Institute taps into the local Mandarin-speaking population to develop a pipeline of Mandarin teachers. It also provides cross-cultural programs in the arts.

“Bringing more artists together and exposing them to each other’s culture and to shared cultural experience with China, you’re sort of training, sort of a new generation of diplomats,” said Susan Pertel Jain, UCLA Confucius Institute Executive Director.

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But long-time critic and academic Perry Link says Confucius Institutes are an example of China’s soft power.

“Soft power is cultural or educational things that cause people in other countries to view one’s own country in a more friendly way. To reach out into the world with soft power is a new thing from the Chinese government’s point of view, but an important thing because the rest of the successful world seems to be doing it,” said Link, who is the University of California Riverside’s Chancellorial Chair for Innovation in Teaching Across Disciplines.

But Link says the presence of the Confucius Institutes on university campuses is dangerous because it often limits academic freedom to discuss China’s human rights issues.

“It’s induced self-censorship. That is, ‘We are going to give you these funds and you can invite speakers about China and the fund comes from Beijing and you know that and we know that.’ Now, as the director of a Confucius Institute, do you think, ‘Oh, I’ll invite the Dalai Lama’ to speak? No.Of course you don’t do that,” Link said.

But Jain said the UCLA Confucius Institute does not back away from touchy topics.

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“Whether it’s artists that we present there who were active in sort of [an] anti-government movement or whether it’s the screening of films that are maybe not officially approved by the government, we don’t shy away from that, but what we always tell our colleagues in China is that we promise to always present everything in a fair and balanced way,” said Jain.

The Hollywood Sign is pictured Aug. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles.

The Hollywood Sign is pictured Aug. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles.

Entertainment industry

In the past, Hollywood movies have been America’s example of soft power.

Last fall, 16 members of Congress wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office to express national security concerns about the growing number of Chinese investments in the United States, including in the media and entertainment industry.

“There is definitely a self-censorship. There is no doubt. I think the most obvious version of that was when self-censorship was not used and it really backfired,” said Fenton.

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China is close to becoming the top global market at the box office and one that is much desired by Hollywood executives. If China closes that door to certain production studios in Hollywood, it will hurt financially.

“It’s a very large piece of the pie because it’s roughly seven billion in dollars,” Fenton said. “If you’re thinking like a business person, there is a certain creative vision you should have for the content you’re making that if you want to call it self-censorship that’s fine, or you call it just good business.”(VOA)

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.