Bollywood Mourns Another Star As Rishi Kapoor Dies At 67

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 13, 2016 Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor pays his respects at the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar. (Photo by NARINDER NANU / AFP)

 

Bollywood mourned a second loss in as many days as celebrated actor Rishi Kapoor, whose career spanned half a century, died Thursday aged 67 after a prolonged struggle with cancer.

His death came as a severe blow to the Hindi movie industry and film lovers, who were already reeling from the passing Wednesday of Irrfan Khan, one of the country’s most feted actors, aged 53.

“Our dear Rishi Kapoor passed away peacefully… today after a two-year battle with leukemia,” his family said in a statement.

Fellow actor Amitabh Bachchan was among the first to mourn his death, tweeting: “I am destroyed”.

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Born September 4, 1952, into the prolific Kapoor dynasty — which has produced four generations of actors including his son, Ranbir — he made his debut in the 1970’s epic “Mera Naam Joker” (“My Name is Joker”).

He received India’s National Award for best child actor for his performance in the film, which his father Raj produced, directed and starred in.

But it was his later persona as a romantic lead that won him legions of fans, who flocked to cinemas to see him sing, dance and charm his way into their hearts in films such as the 1973 superhit “Bobby”, and the 1977 comedy “Amar Akbar Anthony”.

As Kapoor grew older, the romantic roles ceased, allowing him the opportunity to display greater versatility.

He terrified audiences as a human trafficker in 2012’s “Agneepath” (“Path of Fire”) and won applause for his portrayal of a cantankerous porn-watching grandfather in 2016’s “Kapoor & Sons”.

After being diagnosed with cancer in 2018 he sought treatment in New York, but was looking to resume work shortly with plans to film a remake of the 2015 Hollywood film “The Intern”.

He was forced to return to hospital this month, where, his family said, “the doctors and medical staff… said he kept them entertained to the last”.

Hollywood Mourns Legendary Actor Kirk Douglas

 

 

Hollywood mourned the death of legendary actor Kirk Douglas on Wednesday, one of the last giants of Hollywood’s golden age and the star of such classics as “Spartacus” and “Ace in the Hole.”

As news of the 103-year-old actor’s death broke, celebrities took to social media to honor his legacy.

“Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life and I’m honored to have been a small part of his last 45 years,” director Steven Spielberg said in a statement. “I will miss his handwritten notes, letters and fatherly advice, and his wisdom and courage — even beyond such a breathtaking body of work — are enough to inspire me for the rest of mine.”

Ron Meyer, the vice chairman of NBCUniversal, the studio behind “Spartacus,” said the screen icon will always hold a special place for his contribution to cinema.

“I’ve personally known the Douglas family for over 40 years,” Meyer said. “Kirk was an extraordinary man, dedicated husband and father, a loving grandfather, and one of the most iconic actors of his time.”

Filmmaker and actor Rob Reiner remembered Douglas for his courage in helping to end the Hollywood blacklist — drawn up in the 1940s and 50s to target entertainment professionals suspected of communist ties.

Douglas memorably insisted after the filming of Spartacus that screenwriter Dalton Trumbo — one of those targeted by the communist witch hunts and who had written for years under an alias — use his real name in the film credits.

“Kirk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood,” Reiner wrote on Twitter. “He put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family.”

Star Trek’s William Shatner tweeted: “Condolences to the family of Kirk Douglas. What an incredible icon he was in this industry!”

‘Brilliant actor’

“Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag,” wrote actor Danny DeVito, in reference to the 1973 movie of the same name — the first film Douglas directed.

“103 years on this earth. That’s got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you man,” he added.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, whose father Tony Curtis also starred in “Spartacus,” used a line from her dad’s character Antoninus in the movie to remember Douglas.

“‘I love you Spartacus, like the father I never had.’ Antoninus,” she wrote in a message on Twitter accompanied by a photo of the two men. “I did have a father and he LOVED you as the world loved you. Your Passion. Talent. Politics. Family. Art. Strength. I grew up with the Douglas boys. My love to Anne and all his family from mine.”

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill described Douglas in a tweet as “one of the biggest stars of all time & a brilliant actor with an unforgettable, blazing charisma.”

“The last great giant of my cinema heroes has passed on to Infinite glory,” wrote “Rocky” and “Rambo” star Sylvester Stallone on Instagram. “Amazing artist … the likes of which we will never see again!”

The late actor’s son, Michael Douglas wrote a moving tribute on Instagram, saying his father’s legacy will endure for generations to come.

“Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true,” he added. “Dad- I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son.”

Hollywood Legend Kirk Douglas Dies At 103

In this file photo taken on March 1, 2011 actor Kirk Douglas attends the ceremony to honor Indian conductor Zubin Mehta with a Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

 

US silver screen legend Kirk Douglas, the son of Jewish Russian immigrants who rose through the ranks to become one of Hollywood’s biggest-ever stars, has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 103.

One of the last survivors of the golden age of cinema and the father of Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Michael Douglas, the “Spartacus” actor was renowned for the macho tough guy roles he took on in around 90 movies over a six-decade career.

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael Douglas said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“To the world he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”

Douglas was Oscar-nominated for his roles as a double-crossing and womanizing boxer in “Champion” (1949), a ruthless movie producer in “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952) and tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh in “Lust for Life” (1956).

But his only Academy Award came in 1995 — an honorary lifetime achievement statuette “for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.”

Douglas is survived by second wife Anne Buydens, 100, and three sons. A fourth child, Eric, died of a drug overdose in his 40s, in 2004.

“(To) me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine (Zeta-Jones), a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband,” said Michael.

“Kirk’s life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet.”

‘Valley Of Souls’ Triumphs At Marrakesh Film Festival

British actress Tilda Swinton (R) stands as Colombian director Nicola Rincon Gille holds his trophy of the ” Etoile d’Or ” during the closing ceremony of the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival on December 7, 2019, in Marrakech. FADEL SENNA / AFP

 

 

Colombian director Nicolas Rincon Gille’s “Valley of Souls”, the story of a father’s solitary search for the bodies of his murdered sons, won top prize Saturday at the Marrakesh film festival.

It follows the journey of Jose, who comes home from a night of fishing to discover that paramilitaries have killed his two sons and dumped their bodies in the river.

So he sets off in a canoe to try to find their bodies and give them a proper burial.

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Marrakesh’s 18th annual festival was attended by top cinema stars such as Harvey Keitel, Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton and Robert Redford, who received a lifetime achievement award.

Toby Wallace won Best Actor for his role in the Australian comedy “Babyteeth”, directed by Shannon Murphy.

Nichola Burley and Roxanne Scrimshaw shared the Best Actress prize for British comedy “Lynn + Lucy”, directed by Fyzal Boulifa.

Tunisia’s Ala Eddine Slim was named Best Director for “Tlamess”, a drama about a soldier who deserts the army after his mother’s death.

Disney Tops Earnings Estimates Ahead Of Streaming Launch

 

Walt Disney Co. on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by the release of blockbuster films “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” as it prepared for its new streaming television service.

Disney profit in the recently ended quarter was $1.05 billion, down from $2.3 billion a year ago, on revenue that grew 34 percent to $19.1 billion.

The slump in profits came as Disney absorbed key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox and geared up for its launch of the streaming service Disney+ that aims to compete globally against Netflix and others.

“We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience,” said Disney chief executive Robert Iger.

“We’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”

Iger said the company reached a deal for the service to be on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the latest distribution agreement for Disney+.

Disney shares were up more than five percent in after-market trading following release of the earnings figures.

‘Lion King’ roars

Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operations with box office hits “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” fueling gains.

The entertainment giant expects revenue in the current quarter to be boosted by the forthcoming release of a sequel to “Frozen” and the final installment of the “Star Wars” film saga.

It will thereafter take a “hiatus” from “Star Wars” box office films but has an array of spin-off shows planned exclusively for its streaming service.

Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

However, integrating Fox into Disney has cost more than expected and the newly added studios have brought in less money than hoped.

Disney saw smaller revenue gains in its cable and broadcasting operations as well as its theme park division.

Iger would not disclose details of pre-sales of Disney+ subscriptions, but said the price — $6.99 monthly — has met with “great enthusiasm” by consumers.

The Disney+ online streaming service will debut in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands before gradually expanding internationally in Europe then rolling out worldwide.

Its films and TV shows will be available, along with the library it acquired from 21st Century Fox. That includes the “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises and ABC television content.

Disney+ will also combine offerings from powerhouse brands including Pixar, with content from Hulu and sports network ESPN.

Apple rolling

Apple last week launched a streaming television service that features a budding library of original shows starring big-name celebrities, aimed at winning over its gadget lovers at home and on the go.

The Apple TV+ on-demand streaming service launched in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month.

Original Apple TV+ shows have so far been met with lukewarm early reviews, but the low subscription price and an offer of year-long memberships free with purchase of the company’s devices was expected to encourage viewers to tune in.

Netflix, meanwhile, has budgeted $15 billion this year for original shows, on top of the billions it has devoted to exclusive productions in recent years.

Amazon, which has deep pockets thanks to its e-commerce and cloud services, has also poured cash into original shows for its Prime Video service.

This sets up a potential spending war among the major streaming players, according to analysts.

Even more competition looms on the horizon, with AT&T’s Warner Media to launch its “HBO Max” in early 2020 after reclaiming the rights from Netflix to stream its popular television comedy “Friends.”

NBCUniversal’s Peacock service is also launching next year.

Netflix, Apple Cross Swords In Indian Streaming Market

 

 

Competition in India’s booming streaming market is heating up as Netflix joins forces with a director of Bollywood feel-good blockbusters and Apple launches its TV platform for 99 rupees ($1.39) a month.

Netflix announced late Wednesday a long-term partnership with Karan Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment to make a range of new fiction and non-fiction series and films for the platform.

Johar has directed eight films including “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” with Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, and “Raazi”, nominated for best picture at next week’s Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, dubbed the Bollywood Oscars.

“It’s going to be P.H.A.T — pretty hot and tempting,” said Johar, whose Dharma Entertainment is one of India’s biggest production firms and which already teamed up with Netflix for the successful “Lust Stories” anthology.

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Netflix launched in India in 2016 and two of its Indian-made series have won critical acclaim — “Sacred Games” starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and “Leila” with Huma Qureishi.

But Netflix faces stiff competition in Asia’s third-largest economy as Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney’s Hotstar, Alt Balaji and other local platforms jostle for digital subscriptions and eyeballs.

US technology giant Apple on Wednesday announced the launch of its streaming platform Apple TV+ in India, hoping to upend competition.

Netflix is available in India from 199 rupees a month and as millions of first-time users access internet in Asia’s third-largest economy, analysts expect competition to intensify.

India’s video-streaming industry is expected to grow at nearly 22 percent per annum to 119 billion rupees ($1.7 billion) by 2023 according to consultancy PwC, Bloomberg News reported.

Netflix chief Reed Hastings has said the company’s goal is 100 million customers in India — almost 25 times its estimated subscriber base there as of this year, Bloomberg said.

‘Angel Has Fallen’ Rises To Top Of N.American Box Office

 

 

Lionsgate’s new action-packed political thriller “Angel Has Fallen” debuted atop the North American box office with an estimated $21.3 million in ticket sales, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

“Angel,” which stars Gerard Butler playing a Secret Service agent wrongly accused of trying to kill the president (Morgan Freeman), is the third film in the franchise. It also stars Nick Nolte, Piper Perabo and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Last weekend’s leader, Universal’s raunchy tween comedy “Good Boys,” slipped to $11 million but managed to hold onto second spot on a sleepy late-summer weekend.

In third place was another new release, Sony’s “Overcomer,” a Christian-themed movie about a former basketball coach (Alex Kendrick) who agrees half-heartedly to help prepare a young asthmatic orphan girl (Aryn Wright-Thompson) for a huge cross-country meet.

It took in $8.2 million despite tepid reviews.

Just behind in fourth place was Disney’s updated version of “The Lion King,” which pulled in $8.15 million, bringing its domestic total over six weeks in release to $510.6 million and its global total to more than $1.5 billion.

Universal’s action film “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham came in fifth, taking in $8.1 million.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:

“Ready or Not” ($7.6 million)

“The Angry Birds Movie 2” ($6.4 million)

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” ($6 million)

“Dora & the Lost City of Gold” ($5.2 million)

“Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood” ($5 million)

Spider-Man’s Marvel Future In Peril As Sony Deal Breaks Down

 

Marvel’s superhero films could lose their most famous character after Sony confirmed Tuesday that talks over its deal to share Spider-Man with the Disney-owned studio have broken down.

The Marvel movies have together grossed $22 billion at the global box office, and British actor Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has become an increasingly central figure in the most lucrative franchise in film history.

But while the teen web-slinger has for decades been the crown jewel of the Marvel comic book empire on which the films are based, Sony owns the character’s movie rights.

He only began appearing in Disney-owned Marvel’s “cinematic universe” after the Hollywood giants stuck an almost-unprecedented, and still highly secretive, 2015 deal to co-produce and split profits across the films.

A key aspect of that partnership has now broken down.

Sony confirmed that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige — widely credited with the phenomenal boom in comic book movies of the past decade — will no longer produce Spider-Man films, with a spokesman adding the studio was “disappointed.”

“We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him… do not allow time for him to work on IP (intellectual property) they do not own,” the Sony spokesman said in a statement sent to AFP.

The separation makes it “almost certain” that the character Spider-Man will be absent from crossover appearances in future Marvel films, according to Hollywood Reporter journalist Graeme McMillan.

Multiple Hollywood media outlets reported earlier Tuesday that Disney and Sony had failed to agree on financial terms for future Spider-Man films.

According to Deadline, which broke the news, Disney had wanted to significantly increase its financial stake in new Spider-Man movies, while Sony refused to alter existing terms.

Sony said the reports “mischaracterized recent discussions,” but thanked Feige for “the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”

In financial terms, Spider-Man is one of the most successful superheroes in movie history.

Holland’s iteration of Spider-Man has delivered box office gold — he has appeared in a total of five Marvel Studios and Sony films since the collaboration deal, which collectively grossed almost $8 billion worldwide.

These included Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame,” the highest-grossing movie of all time.

At Comic-Con last month, Marvel Studios set out a timeline of films and television shows scheduled for the next two years including new outings for popular characters Thor, Black Widow, Doctor Strange and Loki — but none featuring Spider-Man.

Feige is also expected to be busy overseeing new Marvel franchises acquired by Disney in its purchase of 21st Century Fox, which include the popular “X-Men”.

Sony last year produced an Oscar-winning Spider-Man animation separate from Marvel Studios’ domain, as well as a standalone film centered on popular Spider-Man villain Venom.

Disney did not immediately respond to request for comment.

‘Avengers’ Blast Past ‘Titanic’ To All-Time Number Two

 

Disney and Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” has stormed into a historic territory, earning $2.19 billion worldwide in less than two weeks to become the No. 2 film of all time, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

That exalted number, which includes the film’s estimated take of $145.8 million this three-day weekend in North America, pushes the superhero blockbuster past “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which netted $2.07 billion, and even “Titanic” ($2.18 billion).

Only “Avatar” ($2.79 billion) has done better. Yet “Avengers” hit its record total in just 11 days, taking in a stunning $575.8 million in China alone.

Hollywood analysts predict a long run for “Avengers,” which drew a rare 96 per cent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website and features a star-studded cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper and Josh Brolin.

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Trailing “Avengers” by several light years, rival studios still managed to place new films in the next three box-office spots.

Sony’s psychological thriller “The Intruder” came in second, at $11 million. Michael Ealy and Meagan Good star as a young couple who buy a dream home in California’s Napa Valley unaware that its previous owner (Dennis Quaid) plans to take it back — at all costs.

In third was Lionsgate’s romantic comedy “Long Shot,” at $10 million. Seth Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, an out-of-work journalist who has a romantic interest in his former babysitter (Charlize Theron) who — now a candidate for the US presidency — might seem a bit out of his reach.

STX Films’ animated film “UglyDolls” placed fourth, at $8.5 million. The plot? A bunch of misfit dolls with pointy ears and bad teeth — residents of Uglyville — face a harsh world but finally discover their inner beauty. The voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Wanda Sykes and Janelle Monae are featured.

In fifth place, hanging strong in its ninth week out, was Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” at $4.3 million. Brie Larson stars as a former fighter pilot who gains superpowers.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were:

“Breakthrough” ($3.9 million)

“The Curse of La Llorona” ($3.5 million)

“Shazam!” ($2.5 million)

“Little” ($1.5 million)

“Dumbo” ($1.4 million)

AFP

Arsenal Players Filmed Using ‘Hippy Crack’

Arsenal’s players observe a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day ahead of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 28, 2017. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Arsenal said Friday they will “remind players of their responsibilities” after a video emerged that appears to show a number of stars inhaling nitrous oxide.

Players including Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi feature in the footage, which appears to come from CCTV footage and was published by the Sun newspaper on Friday.

In a statement, Arsenal said: “The players will be spoken to about this and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club.”

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas or “hippy crack”, is freely available although it is technically illegal to sell it for recreational purposes.

In the video, which reportedly comes from a London venue shortly before the start of the current season, other Gunners players including Henrikh Mkhitaryan can be seen rejecting the offer to use the gas.

The footage is the latest to show top players being linked with nitrous oxide. Raheem Sterling was warned by his then club Liverpool after footage emerged of him using the substance in 2015.

In the same year, Jack Grealish was warned by the then Aston Villa manager, Tim Sherwood, after pictures emerged of him appearing to inhale the gas, and Saido Berahino was reprimanded by West Brom for a similar incident in 2014.

When an image was posted of then Tottenham player Kyle Walker in 2013, he apologised on Twitter, writing: “I won’t be doing this again and hope that no one else is influenced into putting their health at risk by my actions.”

Arsenal, under new manager Unai Emery, are currently fifth in the Premier League table and are unbeaten in 20 consecutive matches in all competitions.

AFP

Film Shows ‘Fearless’ Pope Taking On Church

German director Wim Wenders arrives on May 13, 2018 for the screening of his film “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” at the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.
Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

There is a killer moment in the new film “Pope Francis — A Man of His Word” when you realise what he is up against.

The Argentine is dressing down the Cardinals and bejewelled princes of the Curia who run the Catholic Church, lacerating them for their greed, back-stabbing and lust for power.

The scandal-hit, Italian-dominated body is full of people leading immoral double lives who “possess a heart of stone and a stiff neck”, he tells them in German director Wim Wenders’ remarkable insight into the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

“Pay a visit to the cemeteries” and look at those “who thought they were immortal, immune and indispensable,” Francis urges them in the feature, which premiered late Sunday at the Cannes film festival.

“You see the sharp faces of some of these cardinals who are rich and ambitious,” said Wenders, who interviewed the reforming pontiff over several months for the portrait.

“But you can also see other archbishops thinking, ‘Yes, this is why we elected you.’ As Francis said, you cannot combat the diseases of the world without examining yourself first.”

The picture that emerges of Francis from Wenders’ unprecedented access is of a man determined to radically transform the vast wealthy institution into “a poor church for poor people”.

And Wenders, the maker of such classics as “Wings of Desire”, “Paris, Texas” and “The Buena Vista Social Club”, believes this pontiff has the steeliness to do it.

Enemies digging in 

Many in the Curia “think he is going too fast and too far,” according to Wenders, and have been digging in with traditionalists to resist him.

“But I think the opposite,” said the filmmaker. “I think Francis is stepping on the brakes in order to take them all along.

“Yet also he is fearless. He knows what has to be done and he wants to push it as far as he can knowing that he is not young anymore.”

For Wenders, a lapsed Catholic who rediscovered his faith in a “friendly God” after the death of his doctor father, the 81-year-old is a revolutionary.

“When you look him in the eye you see this is a very loving man who really likes people. He is as honest as a man can be and you see the courage in his eyes.

“His message — that we are equal and we have to treat each other as equals — is why people say he is a communist. We cannot leave people behind in the dust. It is a tough message and he doesn’t hesitate with it.”

Francis is a radical just like the medieval saint from whom he took his name, Wenders argued, “who like him wanted to go back to early Christianity… when the church was an organisation of poor people.”

 Call from the Vatican 

“St Francis of Assisi was also the first ecologist,” said Wenders, who was “amazed” by the depth of the pope’s understanding of climate change and his warning that the global “mania for growth” is threatening mankind.

“That growth is coming at the expense of the poor majority… who are suffering first and worst from climate change,” said Wenders.

The director said the Vatican contacted him out of the blue asking whether he would be interested in talking to the pope.

“I was given carte blanche,” he told AFP, and access to the Vatican’s video archives. “There was no interference whatsoever,” he insisted, despite the film being co-produced by Vatican television.

Wenders said he was also touched by the pope’s deep tolerance of other religions and lifestyles.

“He says don’t try to convert anybody, just try to convince them to be of goodwill and to accept each other. His firm belief is there is no difference between people. That is revolutionary — communists don’t have that message.”

But despite trying to lead by example by living modestly, the pope knows his power is limited. “All he has are his words,” Wenders said.

“Each time he left us after the shoot, he would look into our eyes and ask each of us, ‘Please pray for me.’

“There are a lot of people praying for him, praying that he can do it,” Wenders said.

AFP

Berlusconi Scandal Inspires Another Film

Silvio Berlusconi (R), leader of the right-wing party “Forza Italia” listens to Matteo Salvini (unseen), leader of the far-right party “Lega” speaking to the press after a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale palace in Rome. Tiziana FABI / AFP

 

Italy’s three-time premier and billionaire, Silvio Berlusconi, continues to provide ample entertainment fodder, with the first English-language film about his scandal-filled life now in the works.

Based on a journalistic expose, “The Marquise” by Emmy-nominated US producer Steve Jones will focus on a dubious property deal involving Berlusconi’s mansion on a privately owned island, trade magazine Variety reported Saturday.

Jones told Variety he would travel to Italy next month to scout for locations and meet actors and potential directors.

The project is the latest of several films on the 81-year-old media mogul who staged a surprise political comeback in 2017.

It comes as Oscar-winner Paolo Sorrentino’s lavish biopic “Loro”, about the tycoon’s infamous “bunga bunga” party era, is about to hit the screens in Italy.

The two-part movie failed to make it into this year’s Cannes selection.

Back in 2006, Nanni Moretti’s Berlusconi satire “The Caiman” became one of Italy’s most successful films that year.

AFP