Showing posts with label France Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label France Related. Show all posts

28 March 2018

Raelians Starting Negotiations With First Country To Consider Hosting An Embassy For Extraterrestrials

ET embassy landing pad
ET embassy landing pad
Thousands of Raelians worldwide will hold public events on March 31st – day that founder and spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, Rael, declared "ET Embassy Day," in order to raise awareness about their major project: the building of an Embassy to welcome an extraterrestrial civilization to earth. 
"This year is very special,'' said Raelian Guide Daniel Turcotte, Rael's assistant for the ET Embassy Project. ''Up until now, several countries had shown a genuine interest for this very auspicious project, but this year, for the first time, a country has invited Raelian representatives to discuss this unique and enthusiastic project.'' 
"This week, the host country candidate has been handed an optional protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, provisionally titled the "Optional Protocol Concerning Embassies for Extraterrestrials," explained Turcotte. "The meeting also addressed the possibility for this country to hold the first international conference to discuss this protocol." 
Turcotte explained that the country granting a land, the necessary extraterritoriality, and the authorization for the ET Embassy to be built within its territory will not only benefit financially, but will also become the spiritual and scientific center of the planet for millennia to come, and happiness will prevail within its borders.
''Welcoming an extraterrestrial civilization isn't a mere fantasy the way it was viewed as in the 70s when Rael created the Raelian Movement with the mission of building an Embassy to welcome them," added Turcotte. "Since then, thousands of planets have been discovered including some with an atmosphere and all the necessary elements to sustain life. Not to mention that scientists now agree that the probability of intelligent life outside our solar system is very high, and millions of people have seen UFOs and know that an extraterrestrial civilization is showing interest in us, thus confirming this probability."
"The conditions for the general population to accept the idea of an official welcome are met, but violence on our planet is still so high that we need the wisdom of those who created us and who want to meet us again more than ever," concluded Turcotte.
 ET embassy - scale model
ET embassy - scale model
Raelians believe that an extraterrestrial civilization created all life on Earth including human beings, and they believe it is a very peaceful and far more advanced civilization compared to ours, both scientifically and philosophically.

About Rael:

"At the age of 27, on the morning of December 13, 1973, while he was still leading his successful racing-car magazine, RAEL had a dramatic encounter with a human being from another planet, at a volcano park in the center of France, known as "Puy de Lassolas". This extra-terrestrial gave him a new detailed explanation of our origins and information on how to organize our future, as recorded in the book: Intelligent Design. After six consecutive meetings in the same location, Rael accepted the mission given to him, to inform humanity of this revolutionary message and to prepare the population to welcome their Creators, the Elohim, without any mysticism or fear, but as conscious and grateful human beings. After a few months considering this huge task, Rael almost developed a stomach ulcer before finally deciding to give up his much loved career as a sports-car journalist and devote himself fully to the task assigned to him by Yahweh - the extra-terrestrial whom he met. Within the year following the encounter, he managed to print the book reporting about the event and appeared on two of the main TV and Radio shows in France, announcing a public conference. This first public conference held in Paris on September 19, 1974 attracted more than 2000 people. Shortly after, he founded the association MADECH - a group of people interested in helping him in his huge task- that would later become the Raelian Movement. By the end of the year 1974, the association counted 170 members. They are now more than 85,000 members in 107 countries.

On October 7th, 1975, he had a second encounter and was given additional information recorded on his second book, also part of Intelligent Design. Since that time, Rael has been touring the World, giving conferences and seminars on every continent, gathering those who share the desire to welcome our Creators.

He also authored several other books like Sensual Meditation which is a central part of his teachings, "Geniocracy" advocating for a more intelligent management of the planet and "Yes To Human Cloning" explaining the possibility of becoming eternal and the beautiful future one can expect thanks to Science.

Over the years, Rael has inspired several public actions from the promotion of the use of condoms in schools to the promotion of masturbation; from worldwide campaigns in support of minorities with the slogan "to tolerate differences is not enough, one should love differences" to the disturbing request to have all Religious books censured where they don't respect Human Rights; from the support of Human Cloning through the founding of Clonaid, to the promotion of GMO as the only chance for all human beings on Earth to have food; from the creation of Clitoraid, an association to help women who have been circumcised to have their clitoris repaired so that they can experience pleasure again to the call for the gathering of all African traditional chiefs to create the United States of Africa.

Rael has been a guest on most of the major TV programs worldwide like 60 minutes, CNN, FOX, and BBC news programs, as well as programs like Breakfast with Frost and Entertainment Tonight, to name a few. He has been invited to explain his vision of science to the American Congress and has been the guests of many leaders of this world, with the President Denis Sassou N'Guesso of Congo being the first to welcome him officially in 2000. Many artists acknowledged him as well like the French author Michel Houellebecq and Hugh Hefner.

In every culture on Earth, a messenger is expected, whether it is the Maitreya of the Buddhists, the Messiah of the Jews, the Paraclet of the Christians, or any other name that has been given by the many tribes around the world. This expected messenger, like all the previous ones, isn't supposed to please everyone, but to state what our Creators are expecting from us. This is what RAEL has been doing for more than 40 years now, traveling relentlessly while making the vow not to own anything, but to give everything towards welcoming our Creators in the Embassy they requested be built before 2035."

Related Videos:

28 November 2017

'Trust Us, We're Lying': Eurozine And Cultural Journals From Across Europe Take A Closer Look At The Power Of 'Post-Truth' In A New Series Of Online Articles And Debates

Vladimir Putin's War on Information
Vladimir Putin's War on Information (Image via
In a new series of online articles launched by the Eurozine network of cultural journals, 13 cultural journalists and academics from across Europe, plus U.S. writers, examine in-depth the phenomena of fake news, post-truth and disinformation.
Eurozine's focal point 'Disinformation and Democracy' combines empirical studies at national levels with theoretical discussion of the politics of post-truth; analyses of contemporary developments with intellectual and conceptual histories; and investigations of the political fringes, asking: what now constitutes democratic 'normality'?

⏩ It's impossible to ignore Russia's role in these phenomena. 

  • Markus Wehner gives an overview of the strategy and techniques of Russian 'infowar
  • Anton Shekhovtsov traces how far-right groups across Europe and the U.S. use Russian web-hosting to spread anti-western propaganda 
  • Daniel Leisegang assesses the effectiveness of Germany's new law on online hate speech and fake news, given the virtual migration to the Runet. Shifting the focus to eastern Europe 
  • Milena Iakimova and Dimitar Vatsov explore how, in Bulgaria, Russian propaganda has co-opted western grassroots criticism of liberalism and globalization since 2013. They note: 'We were ... amazed when we started hearing the talking points identified by our study now coming from the mouth of the new U.S. President, Donald Trump.' 

  • From dialectical materialism to neoliberalism, any politics that lays claims to the truth is both illusory and dangerous, argues Jean-Claude Monod 
  • Political scientist Joseph Uscinski explores the relationship between conspiracy theorizing and partisanship in the U.S., pointing out: 'If one wants to challenge mainstream wisdom, conspiracy theories are an excellent rhetorical device for doing so.' 
  • Providing historical perspective, Marci Shore compares western intellectuals' response to the disappointment of 'real-existing communism' with that of the dissidents who lived under it: can a radical concept of truth counter the threat of 'post-modern dictatorships'? 
  • Valentin Groebner traces a thread of fakery in 'news' right back to the Middle Ages.
Fake News Invasion
Fake News Invasion (image via
⏩All the focal point texts are available in English in Eurozine.

⏩This editorial collaboration within the Eurozine network continued via a series of panel discussions at the 28th European Meeting of Cultural Journals in Tartu, Estonia in October 2017.

The discussions can be viewed  below:


SOURCE: Eurozine

10 November 2017

French Holocaust Survivor Donates $500,000 to Aid American Wounded Veterans

Bernard Darty, 83, is compelled to support Wounded Warrior Project this Veterans Day in honor of his family’s 1944 rescue at Normandy.
Bernard Darty, 83, is compelled to support Wounded Warrior Project this Veterans Day in honor of his family’s 1944 rescue at Normandy.
At age 83, Paris-born Bernard Darty feels fortunate to enjoy time with his family and spend winters in Miami Beach nearly three-quarters of a century after escaping Nazi invaders in France as a child. 

Although he lost his mother to the Auschwitz concentration camp, today he is so moved with gratitude for the American troops who liberated him in Normandy in 1944 that he has made a significant donation of $500,000 to Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) this Veterans Day to help U.S. veterans and their families—hoping to trigger a new movement of supporting American veterans.
"In giving this donation, I want to thank Americans with all my heart for rescuing us during the war," Darty said. "The gratitude I feel to these men is beyond words. They were saviors, doling out sweets to half-starved, war-worn children who had almost given up hope of freedom. That is why I want to support American veterans—and why I support America. I hope my donation inspires others to do the same."

  • Darty's donation will support two key WWP programs: Warrior Care Network, which connects wounded veterans and their families with individualized mental health care, and the Independence Program, which works with warriors with moderate to severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other neurological conditions to ensure each wounded veteran can live as independently as possible.
"We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Darty for his generosity, which will enable us to reach even more veterans, particularly those most in need," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "We serve the most critical needs of our nation's wounded heroes, including those who live with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Thanks to generous supporters like Mr. Darty, we provide them crucial support services free of charge, making a tremendous difference in the lives of wounded veterans of this generation and their families."
Holocaust story illuminates strong ties to America
Darty was born in 1934 to a Jewish family that had fled the pogroms in Poland for France, hoping for safety there. With the German invasion of France in 1940, however, the family was again at risk. 

An older brother was sent on the first convoy to Auschwitz, but fortunately survived. Darty's mother was not so lucky when, on July 16, 1942, the French police led a big round-up of Jews. At 6 am that morning, Darty recalls the police came to the family's apartment. Darty, age 7, was able to escape to an aunt's house that was considered safe, but his mother was sent to Auschwitz and likely died three weeks later. 
Darty spent the next few years living in foster homes on the outskirts of Paris, afraid and living on borrowed time. The day American troops came ashore at Normandy in June 1944, Darty finally felt the relief of freedom.
That was the beginning of his connections to America. Since then, he and his wife, also a Holocaust survivor, have wintered in South Florida ever since his retirement 26 years ago—to which he says, "I have had the chance to meet many American people who I am lucky enough to call my friends. First, Americans saved us, and then 50 years later they welcomed us."

  • Darty hopes his donation will deepen that trans-Atlantic connection, inspiring other families throughout Europe to help American veterans in deference to the shared history of the Allied forces of World War II.

About Wounded Warrior Project
  • Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. 
  • Read more here

SOURCE: Wounded Warrior Project

3 November 2017

Beats By Dr. Dre Releases New Short Film "Above the Noise" Starring French DJ And Producer DJ Snake

DJ Snake
DJ Snake
The latest chapter of Beats by Dr. Dre's "Above the Noise" campaign captures Geffen Records artist DJ Snake's performance on Paris' legendary Arc de Triomphe as well as a look for the first time at the journey that took him there.
  • DJ Snake was the first performer ever to play atop the roof of the iconic French landmark on Sept 6th.
Directed by Colin Tilley, this film maps his incredible journey where he talks for the first time about how he rose from the streets of Paris to be one of the world's biggest performers and producers, and his love for the country he came from.
Talking about the film, DJ Snake says, "Playing the roof of the Arc de Triomphe was a moment I wanted to keep forever so when Beats asked me if they could make a short film about that night, and my journey to that point... it was easy to say yes."
The Video:

  • Beats
  • Creative : Victoria Deldin
  • Producer : Brittany Cammisa 
  • Director : Colin Tilley
  • Edit : Jonathan Fallik 
  • Color : Trevor Durtschi
  • Sound : Country & Noble
DJ Snake Playing the roof of the Arc de Triomphe
DJ Snake Playing the roof of the Arc de Triomphe 

About Above the Noise:
"Above the Noise" is Beats by Dre's latest global campaign featuring the newly launched Beats Studio3 Wireless headphone. The campaign tells the stories of the world's groundbreaking and often controversial artists and athletes. 

SOURCE: Interscope Records

12 October 2017

From Chaucer To Trump, Sexist Banter Has Been Defended As Entertainment For 600 Years


US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. (Mark Reinstein/Shutterstock)
By Natalie Hanna, University of Liverpool

As we approach the end of 2017, one might expect language and attitudes to be very different to those of the Middle Ages. And yet, there are some very prominent figures who seem to be stuck in the past.

Donald Trump, the US president, has once again dismissed his own infamous “grab them by the pussy” comments, one year after the 2005 Access Hollywood tape that revealed them came to light.

When his words first came to public attention, Trump then brushed them off as “locker room banter”, insisting that the public should focus instead on war and terrorism that were making the world “like medieval times”.

Numerous athletes came forward at the time to say that these are not the type of conversations that take place in their locker rooms. The debate continues to this day, with some supporting Trump’s comments, while women’s rights campaign groups refuse to let him brush it “under the rug.

Though Trump tried to deflect attention onto historical horrors of war, this dispute has far more in common with medieval times than he might think. This very dispute mirrors the quarrel of the Roman de la Rose, which happened in the 15th Century – in which a female writer fought vehemently against depictions of sexual assault and “loose” women in entertainment.

Medieval attitudes

A hermit lewdly embraces a miller’s wife
A hermit lewdly embraces a miller’s wife. (British Library)

In medieval literature, women were commonly depicted as “easy”, particularly in the context of bawdy satire. Take, for example, Geoffrey Chaucer’s poems The Miller’s Tale and The Reeve’s Tale. In both of these texts women are depicted as enjoying, or easily recovering from sexual assault.

In The Miller’s Tale, when a clerk, Nicholas, decides he wants to have sex with his host’s wife Alison he grabs her “by the queynte [crotch]” and holds her hard “by the haunchebones [thighs]”. Although Alison initially tells Nicholas to get his hands off her, within three lines she has been won round and begins to conspire with her new lover against her husband.
In The Reeve’s Tale, two clerks take revenge upon a miller, who has duped them out of their money’s worth of flour, by raping his daughter and his wife. But by the end of the poem it is the miller who is battered and humiliated, while the women are not depicted as particularly bothered at being raped.

A jealous husband beats his wife in a manuscript of Le Roman de la Rose
A jealous husband beats his wife in a manuscript of Le Roman de la Rose.(British Library)

One of the most popular poems of the medieval period was Jean de Meun’s satirical, Le Roman de la Rose, which took a cynical view of the pursuit of love. In one scene a “jealous husband” gives an in-depth account of the vices of loose women: “Toutes estes, serés, ou futes, / De fait ou de volenté putes!” (All you women are, will be, and have been whores in deed or desire!). The poem was championed by many influential men of the period, and writers such as Chaucer drew upon it time and again in their own works.

However, just as Trump’s comments have prompted protest today, back then it was down to Christine de Pizan – possibly the first European woman to make a living from writing, composing poetry and prose works in the late 1300s/early 1400s – to fight the patriarchy.

Fighting back

Christine de Pizan in her study
Christine de Pizan in her study. (British Library)

Born in Italy, De Pizan moved to France as a child when her father Thomas took up an appointment as the astrologer of King Charles V. De Pizan made use of the library available to her at the court, teaching herself to read and write in many languages. When she was suddenly widowed at the age of 24 she turned to writing as a way to make money to support her family. This was exceptional for a medieval woman, but the court paid her because they enjoyed her writing and the novelty of a woman’s works.

De Pizan’s writings were unique in providing a public voice for women at a time when they were not allowed to have one. She argued against the established tradition of women as “frail, unserious, and easily influenced” in medieval texts. She was a force to be reckoned with, and took particular objection to Le Roman de la Rose and its presentation of women.
In her campaign against the poem, De Pizan wrote letters to Jean de Montreuil (Provost of Lille) and Gontier Col (secretary to King Charles V), who publicly supported the poem. Detailing her concerns, she told them “I cannot remain silent”. They, however, dismissed her as a “femme passionée” – an emotional woman – who didn’t understand satire. De Pizan had a point, though. Even if words are not meant to be taken seriously, perpetuating negative stereotypes and normalising them as entertainment is harmful.

De Pizan did not remain silent. Her response was to compose literature that countered the male tradition, defending women and their place in society. In The Book of the City of Ladies, she wrote that she is “troubled and grieved” with men’s depictions of women as enjoying rape or not being bothered by rape even when they verbally object. And she makes further references to the visibility of domestic violence in her own neighbourhood.

In doing so, De Pizan brought to light the problem of trivialising abuse that was, and still is, prevalent in our society, and she encouraged early discussions of gender equality.

The ConversationSix hundred years on, however, and women are still striving against the likes of Trump to leave sexist banter in the past. Until it is, it won’t be brushed under the rug.

About Today's Contributor:
Natalie Hanna, Lecturer in English, University of Liverpool

This article was originally published on The Conversation

4 October 2017

Sting: Live At The Olympia Paris Live DVD, Blu-Ray And Digital Concert Film To Be Released November 10

Sting: Live At The Olympia Paris - cover
(PRNewsfoto/Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Eagle Vision and Cherrytree Management today announced the release of Sting: Live At The Olympia Paris on November 10 on DVD, blu-ray and digital download. 
Sting: Live At The Olympia Paris captures the musician's critically-acclaimed guitar-driven rock tour as it hit the French capital for a very special performance at the iconic venue in April, 2017. Hailed "the show of a lifetime(The Vancouver Globe & Mail)Live At The Olympia Paris celebrates highlights from across the 16-time Grammy Award winner's illustrious career, with blistering performances of new songs from his latest album 57th & 9th including the infectious first single,"I Can't Stop Thinking About You", and the anthemic "50,000", alongside classic hits from The Police as well as Sting's solo career. 
Sting: Live At The Olympia Paris showcases the wide range of his eclectic style and songwriting influences in one momentous live show.
Sting is joined onstage by a 4-piece band including his longtime guitarist, Dominic MillerJosh Freese(drums), Rufus Miller (guitar) and Percy Cardona (accordion), with backing vocals from Joe Sumnerplus Diego Navaira & Jerry Fuentes of Warner Music Nashville recording artists, The Last Bandoleros.  Bonus content features 9 performances from Sting and special guests.

Praise for the 57th & 9th World Tour includes: 

  • "This one was a treat for the fans" (Vancouver Sun);
  • "Nothing short of brilliant" (Mass Live) 
  • "Sting's current incarnation finds him at his best" (The Daily Gazette, Saratoga
  • "It may look effortless – but being this good for this long takes something very special" (The Independent)
The sold out 57th & 9th World Tour was presented by Live Nation and began on February 1 in Vancouver, Canada. After a total of 115 concerts throughout North AmericaAsiaLatin America & Europe, the tour will conclude on October 17 in Romania
Sting's latest album, 57th & 9th was released in November 2016 by A&M/Interscope Records, and was a Top 10 album in multiple countries around the globe.

About Sting
Composer, singer-songwriter, actor, author, and activist Sting has received 16 Grammy awards as a solo artist and with The Police. He was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame in 2002, and into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (with The Police) in 2003.  Sting has sold over 100M albums from his combined work with The Police and as a solo artist. 
He is 2017's recipient of the Polar Music Prize. Sting's support for human rights organizations such as Rainforest Fund, Amnesty International & Live Aid mirrors his art in its universal outreach.

Bonus Video:

16 September 2017

Beyond Atomic Blonde: Cinema's Long, Proud History Of Violent Women

Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde
Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde. (87Eleven, Closed on Mondays Entertainment, Denver and Delilah Productions.)
By Janice Loreck, Curtin University

Whenever a film like Wonder Woman or Atomic Blonde is released, one thing is certain: critics will take notice of the violent heroines who lead the story. It happened with Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Evelyn Salt in Salt and Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill. Whenever a heroine appears, some critics will argue that she is a landmark, as in the case of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

Some will complain that she is simply “acting like a man”, whereas others will celebrate her, as in the case of Theron’s smart, combat-ready action spy”. And there will inevitably be talk of a new era of female empowerment and “butt-kicking” heroines.

But there is nothing special or unusual about women kicking butt in film. Murder and violence are ever popular subjects in cinema, and women have taken part in the bloodshed from the beginning.

Read more: The truth about the Amazons – the real Wonder Women

An early heroine
One of the earliest heroines who aspired to violence can be found in a silent film from 1923, La Souriante Madame Beudet. The titular character is a bored housewife who despises her boorish husband. So great is her dislike, in fact, that she fills a handgun with bullets in the hope he will accidentally shoot himself.

Monsieur Beudet discovers the bullets, but it never occurs to him that his wife had ill intent toward him. Instead, he stupidly concludes that she must have meant to kill herself rather than him.

Nearly 100 years after the film’s release, the joke appears to be on us. Monsieur Beudet’s reluctance to think that his wife is capable of murder mirrors our own surprise whenever violent women appear onscreen.
In this early film, Madame Beudet’s near act of violence is a form of feminist commentary. It is a cry of frustration and a desperate act caused by an unsatisfying marriage.

Film noir
Women’s desire to escape their circumstances also appears as a motivating factor in film noir. Translating as “black film”, film noir is a genre made up of crime dramas and detective thrillers. They were first made in the USA in the 1940s and 50s – well-known examples include The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and The Lady from Shanghai.

Noir films are diverse, but their hallmarks include male protagonists, violent crimes and the femme fatale (“fatal woman”), a beauty who sexually manipulates men for personal gain. Femmes fatales don’t always conspire to kill people, but some do go to such lengths. Phyllis Dietrichson of Double Indemnity, Cora Smith of The Postman Always Rings Twice and Kathie Moffat in Out of the Past all spring to mind.
These femmes fatales are not violent simply because they’re “bad”. Phyllis, Cora and Kathie all kill for money, which would help them achieve independence. Indeed, Cora repeatedly says she wants to “make something” of the business that she runs with her husband. The grim reality is that she can only accomplish this by murdering the dolt.

Highbrow and lowbrow
In other films, the purpose of women’s violence can be quite different. Some filmmakers use deadly women to shock audiences and challenge our values. Interestingly, this strategy appears in films at opposing ends of the cinema spectrum: “highbrow” art films as well as “lowbrow” exploitation cinema.

Read more: How to reduce sexism in screenplays

Exploitation” cinema is a genre named for the way these films “exploit” taboo topics to lure audiences. Themes include drug use, vigilantism, gratuitous sex and, in many cases, homicidal women.

Violent heroines correspond with the forbidden pleasures of exploitation cinema. As the “nurturing” sex, women “shouldn’t” kill people and it is scandalous to see them do so. Female killers thus appear aplenty in exploitation genres: in rape-revenge films like Ms .45 and I Spit on Your Grave, in blaxploitations Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones, and in prison films The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage.
Violent women’s subversive power also explains their appearance in some art films: thematically and aesthetically ambitious works that challenge established film norms. Violent women provide a means of pushing the boundaries. Feminist art film classic Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles famously ends with a housewife committing an act of murder. Extreme French film Trouble Every Day concerns cannibalistic Parisians plagued by sexual longing. Provocative art-horror film Antichrist is a story of spousal conflict that ends in violence.
In each of these films, the female characters’ aggression expresses their alienation and angst. Each film is concerned with the extremes of human experience: oppressive domesticity, taboo desire and marital strife. Through their violence, women in these art films “speak” their unspeakable emotions, making them spectacular and bloody onscreen.

Violent women today
Violent women have been around for decades. So why are we still so surprised by them?
One reason is that we are in two minds about women’s aggression. On one hand, thinkers from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud have characterised women as the passive sex. On the other, our narrative tradition is filled with tales that portray women as the nastier gender. The Gorgons, Euripides’s Medea, and the duplicitous femme fatale all suggest that, however tough a man might be, women are “more deadly than the male”.

Medea by Ernest Legouvé (1807-1903).

The incompatibility of these two ideas dooms us to endless surprise. We fall into the habit of thinking that women aren’t as violent as men, and so are impressed anew whenever another deadly woman appears.

One explanation for the enduring appeal of violent women in film is that cinema provides a space where we can realise our fantasies. Whether they are good or bad, deadly women offer enjoyable images of empowerment. Talking about her love of film noir, Angela Martin calls this “the treat of seeing women giving as good, if not better, than they got”. Physical vulnerability is an everyday reality for women, so the idea of fighting back is appealing.
And as Carl Jung has written, cinema “makes it possible to experience without danger all the excitement, passion and desirousness which must be repressed in a humanitarian ordering of life”.
Another explanation is simply that violent heroines provide product differentiation in a marketplace saturated with male action heroes. For example, when the first Alien film appeared in 1979, the film’s heroine, Ellen Ripley, helped distinguish her franchise from masculine competitors. Wonder Woman has a similar function today, standing out from the numerous male-led Marvel franchises.

A new feminist era?
Whenever a new “butt-kicking” heroine appears onscreen, some will be tempted to see her as evidence of a new feminist era. Certainly, there does seem to be some correlation between violent women and past feminist movements. Film noir emerged when women found new freedoms in wartime America, and many female-led vigilante films of the 1970s coincided with second-wave feminism.

The ConversationSuch links are compelling. However, it is more accurate to say that violent women appear consistently throughout cinema history. Sometimes they facilitate discussions of feminist issues, but they also offer remarkably consistent pleasures across the decades. They are fantasy figures, subversive mavericks, and an enduring part of our narrative tradition.

About Today's Contributor:
Janice Loreck, Adjunct Research Fellow in Communication and Cultural Studies, Curtin University

This article was originally published on The Conversation

17 May 2017

From Nazis to Netflix, The Controversies and Contradictions of Cannes


Students and striking workers occupy the projection hall of the Cannes Film Festival Palace in 1968
Students and striking workers occupy the projection hall of the Cannes Film Festival Palace to prevent showing of films in 1968. AP Photo/Raoul Fornezza
By David Scott Diffrient, Colorado State University

On May 17, the 70th edition of the Festival de Cannes kicked off with the opening-night screening of director Arnaud Desplechin’s “Ismael’s Ghosts.” It will wrap up 11 days later, when the Pedro Almodovar-led jury bestows the highly coveted Palme d’Or on one of the 19 international productions in the festival’s main competition. The Conversation

In between, dozens more motion pictures will flicker to life in theaters along the Croisette, a sun-kissed promenade dotted with luxury hotels that attracts a swarm of paparazzi with the promise of celebrity sightings and scantily clad starlets.

But behind the pageantry, controversy has been brewing. Netflix has two entries premiering during this year’s event. The popular streaming service will then release the films to its millions of subscribers – foregoing the exclusive run in French cinemas requested by the organizers. In turn, they’ve threatened to ban Netflix from submitting any films to future editions of the festival. Telegraph reporter Robert Mendick called this dustup Cannes’ “most explosive.”

If it is, it’s only the latest.

As Lucy Mazdon, one of the few film scholars to have studied this annual event, points out, the Festival de Cannes has long functioned as an expression of France’s national identity. It reinforces the important place that film occupies in the country’s culture, along with its reputation as a purveyor of artistic – rather than strictly commercial – cinema.

But Cannes has sometimes struggled to live up to this ideal, and the competing agendas of art, commerce, international politics and national pride have long roiled the festival.

Anti-fascist origins
In 1938, French diplomat Philippe Erlanger, film critic René Jeanne and Minister of National Education and Fine Arts Jean Zay were disturbed by that year’s Venice Film Festival, when pro-fascist films from Germany and Italy – Leni Riefenstahl’s “Olympia” and Goffredo Alessandrini’s “Luciano Serra, Pilot” – jointly won the top award (the tellingly named Coppa Mussolini).

They were also appalled by the hostile reception given to Jean Renoir’s anti-war masterpiece “The Grand Illusion” one year earlier. (Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich’s minister of propaganda, who had been a “guest of honor” at the Venice Biennale, had called itCinematic Public Enemy Number One.”)

In response, they came up with the idea of a French “counter-festival” that would stand in opposition to Italy’s. Originally branded as the “Festival International du Film,” the organizers hoped the event would outshine its European counterparts, celebrating the art – rather than political value or propagandist content – of cinema.
The Jean-Gabriel Domergue-designed poster for the first film festival in Cannes, which was prematurely cut short after Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939.
The Jean-Gabriel Domergue-designed poster for the first film festival in Cannes, which was prematurely cut short after Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Cannes
However, politics almost immediately came into play. On the night of the inaugural gathering on Sept. 1, 1939 – as guests were arriving at the Casino Municipal, including Hollywood stars Gary Cooper, George Raft, Norma Shearer and Mae West – Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Following a single screening of the RKO production “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” organizers brought the festival to a sudden halt.

Great Britain and France declared war against Germany two days later. It would take another seven years before Erlanger, Jeanne and Zay’s vision was finally brought to fruition.

Art clashes with commerce
In 1946, the first full-fledged film festival held in post-Liberation France took place, featuring soon-to-be classics like Roberto Rossellini’s anti-fascist neorealist film “Rome, Open City” and Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller “Notorious.”

Even then, the festival was torn between dueling agendas, with European ideals of art cinema rubbing up against popular Hollywood productions that many French audiences clamored for.

The contradictory nature of the Cannes Film Festival has only intensified since.
In 1959, the French Minister of Cultural Affairs André Malraux called for the establishment of an international “film market,” the controversial Marché du Film. Intended to strengthen the commercial appeal of the festival, the Marché brings together industry professionals for the purposes of networking and brokering deals between buyers and sellers. Meet-and-greet opportunities are formalized through the inclusion of daily breakfasts, round-table talks and workshops with industry leaders.

A 1967 photograph of French film director François Truffaut
A 1967 photograph of French film director François Truffaut. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Significantly, that initial foray into the business side of cinema took place just as the festival helped launch the “Nouvelle Vague” (French New Wave), a hugely influential, decidedly noncommercial film movement. Led by François Truffaut, whose autobiographical coming-of-age tale “The 400 Blows” earned him a Best Director award that year, French New Wave cinema privileged the personal expression of young filmmakers. Films like “The 400 Blows” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” (made one year later, in 1960) also expanded storytelling possibilities through a reflexive foregrounding of the cinematic medium itself (with characters frequently “breaking the fourth wall” and looking directly at the camera). (Ironically, Truffaut had been banned from Cannes one year earlier after he criticized the festival for prioritizing entertainment and spectacle over art and personal expression.)

A decade later, in 1968, student and worker protests swept through Europe. Truffaut and other French filmmakers and intellectuals, including Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Lelouch, called for a premature end to the 21st edition of the festival. The festival, which was supposed to run between May 10 and May 24, was shut down six days early in a show of solidarity with those who were opposed to American cultural imperialism, the Vietnam War and the global spread of capitalism.

Since then, other well-publicized episodes have disrupted the Festival de Cannes, from the discovery of a handmade bomb beneath a stage at the closing ceremony in 1978 to Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier’s explosive (if jesting) claims that he was a Nazi who “understood” Hitler in 2011.

Grappling with Netflix
This year’s edition of the festival is no exception to that history of politicized hullabaloo. Much of the recent commentary surrounding Cannes concerns the current state and future of film exhibition and distribution.

Specifically, the decision of the festival’s artistic director, Thierry Frémaux, to include two Netflix-produced films – South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” and American filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” – has been criticized.

The move has drawn the ire of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF), an organization that represents the interests of local theater owners who worry international streaming services will threaten not only their own livelihood but also the quality of cinema in the years to come.

Almost immediately after this year’s Cannes program was announced in early April, speculation arose in the pages of U.S. trade magazines as to whether online streaming services and small-screen platforms would be blocked from entering forthcoming film festivals. According to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, a new rule set to go into effect next year will require any competing film at Cannes to be distributed in French theaters before being made available for online viewing.

Moreover, current French law requires a window of 36 months between theatrical release and streaming availability, a stipulation that Netflix, Amazon Studios and other streaming services aren’t likely to abide by.

The wrenching changes brought by streaming services to the TV and movie industries mark a departure from the political conflicts of years past. But controversy is certainly nothing new on the Cote d'Azur: a long view of its history suggests that strife and contention have distinguished this French cultural event since its very beginnings.

About Today's Contributor:
David Scott Diffrient, Professor of Film and Media Studies, Colorado State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. 

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