Cannes Diary: Jailbreak rock
Friday 15 May 2009
Days after being released from prison in Tehran, the US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi faces the wrath of the authorities yet again with a secretly-produced film about the Iranian capital's underground music scene.
No One Knows About Persian Cats, which premiered last night, was co-written by Saberi and directed by her boyfriend, the acclaimed Kurdish Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi. Covertly filmed in September, the upbeat musical stars real underground rappers and rockers in Tehran, defying the censors who brand western-style music "obscene" and dole out lashings, fines and jail sentences.
No love lost in the East
Likewise the Chinese director Lou Ye is pondering the repercussions back home after he flouted a five-year ban to secretly make his latest controversial film, Spring Fever, which depicts homosexual love in explicit detail. Spring Fever will not, unsurprisingly, have a cinema release in China, where homosexuality remains taboo. Lou said: "It is ridiculous for a Chinese director to have his audience only see his film in pirated DVDs." The film, competing for the Palme D'Or, was shot on the fly in Nanjing, eastern China, using a handheld camera and five actors. "I hope nothing happens when I get back to China," Lou said.
Ledger's last act
When Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was filmed on location in London in the winter of 2007, the cast, including Lily Cole, Tom Waits and Heath Ledger, barely attracted a second glance. And that was despite wearing outrageous Gothic costumes and sitting atop a wagon pulled by four black horses with the world's shortest actor (2ft 8ins). A source close to Gilliam attributed that to the fact that, being filmed during Christmas party season, the actors were mistaken for "festival revellers". The movie is to be screened out of competition next week.
A-list anguish flick
It may be the grim story of an obese, illiterate 16-year-old enduring years of sexual abuse and pregnancies, but Precious will provide the most red carpet glamour today. Its cast includes Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey.
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