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2 items from 2017


Faith, Hope, & Clarity: Hollywood Again Shows Respect in Films for Spiritual Ideas

5 January 2017 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Like a prodigal son, Hollywood is again returning to religion.

Since the 1980s, Hollywood has been criticized (with justification) for depicting any religious believer as mindless, evil or both. Filmmakers this year treat them with respect.

Silence” and “Hacksaw Ridge” daringly center around devout Christians. Religious beliefs have a positive effect on the lead characters in other 2016 films, including “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Jackie,” “Mr. Church,” even “The Conjuring 2.”

Studios have their own belief system, and it’s based on recent hits. Hollywood loves stories about an individual whose principles are challenged, but usually the protagonist is a superhero, cop or animated creature.

Silence” depicts the culture clash of Western Christians with Japanese. The long legacy of the “white savior” is turned upside down, and the film raises issues of faith, doubt, personal integrity, and the fine line between belief and stubborn pride. To its credit, “Silence” raises questions that audience members must answer. »

- Tim Gray

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‘Divines’ Director Houda Benyamina on a Journey to Break Glass Ceiling in France

2 January 2017 8:11 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Since scooping up the Camera d’Or in Cannes with her directorial debut “Divines,” Houda Benyamina, the ambitious 36-year-old French-Moroccan – one of France’s rare Arab female filmmakers of North African origin — has become one of the country’s hottest emerging directors.

Divines,” which was picked up by Netflix off of Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, will vie for a foreign-language Golden Globe on Jan. 8, alongside Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle.” Benyamina has just signed up with Wme agent Jerome Duboz, whose wide-ranging client list includes South Korean film master Park Chan-wook (“The Handmaiden”), up-and-coming Indian helmer Ritesh Batra (“The Lunchbox”), and multi-hyphenate film vet Wim Wenders (“Submergence”).

Benyamina, whose acceptance speech in Cannes gave a taste of her acerbic, bold personality and ruffled the feathers of some high-profile French industry figures, hasn’t been blinded by the spotlight.

“Since Cannes, I have been approached by many American agents, but I immediately clicked with Jerome Duboz, »

- Elsa Keslassy

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2 items from 2017


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