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In the third and final installment of my conversation with Kirk Simon on The Pulitzer At 100, we discuss filming Natalie Portman in Paris for her reading of Jorie Graham's The Dream of the Unified Field, Liev Schreiber (who played Martin Baron in Tom McCarthy's Spotlight) picking Death Of A Salesman and The Grapes Of Wrath, Ken Burns and The Statue of Liberty, Toni Morrison (Beloved), Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex), photographers John Filo (Kent State) and Nick Ut (Napalm Girl), finding Kim Phuc, Maureen Corrigan on Philip Roth, and the man who started it all - Joseph Pulitzer.
Anne-Katrin Titze: Did you direct the actors who were doing the readings at all?
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Imagine Arrested Development and Breaking Bad having a chance meeting in a bar. It’s getting late and the two shows are bored, lonely and drunk. They maintain eye contact for a little longer than necessary and, though they know they’re not right for one another, one thing leads to another. The next morning they’re awkwardly stumbling out of a hotel room muttering goodbyes and desperately hoping the other used birth control. Nine months later, Ozark appears.
The show is the creation of Bill Dubuque, previously responsible for terrible Robert Downey Jr. comedy The Judge and Ben Affleck’s iffy The Accountant. But, if Ozark is anything to go by, his star is on the rise (this should give Nightwing fans something to feel positive about, as Dubuque is attached to write the screenplay for the upcoming spinoff).
Primarily set around Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, the »
- David James
Shaun Munro reviews the ninth episode of Fargo season 3…
Fargo’s third season nears its close with a riveting penultimate episode which, while less energetic than some might expect for the lead-in to a season finale, nevertheless carefully arranged the various chess pieces for one Hell of a send-off.
Kicking things off, Meemo murders a man named Marvin Stussy with a shard of glass, as we later learn in an attempt to create a serial killer narrative that the original Stussy and Ray murders can be folded into.
This, of course, is in direct response to Emmit confessing everything to Gloria. Ewan McGregor crushed it as usual, especially during Emmit’s speech about his and Ray’s childhood, where he made the most important admission of all; “30 years I’ve been killing him.” Varga isn’t easily intimidated, though, and sends Meemo to work, spilling blood and bribing an ex-con »
- Shaun Munro
Kevin Spacey briefly traded the White House for the Great White Way on Sunday as host of the 71st Annual Tony Awards on CBS.
Spacey’s opening number — a self-deprecating montage of songs about how he knows he was no one’s first choice to host — opened with him dressed as the titular character from the Broadway smash Dear Evan Hansen, complete with a #Host arm cast. (“I know they love James Corden, but I’ll show them I came to play, »
The Salesman, 2016.
Directed by Asghar Farhadi.
In modern-day Iran, a teacher and his wife are preparing for the opening night of their amateur production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. But work on an adjacent building makes their own apartment block dangerous, so they’re forced to move in a hurry. A friend rents them an apartment, but then mistaken identity and violence threaten to undermine their marriage.
There are few experiences in the theatre more emotionally shattering than a good production of a classic Arthur Miller play. In the right hands, he tears you to shreds with his portraits of men who suffer as the result of one action, deliberate or otherwise. While Iranian director Asghar Farhadi prefers to put couples under stress, the similarities between him and the American dramatist come to the forefront in his second Oscar winner, »
- Freda Cooper
"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...
Asghar Farhadi's Oscar winning The Salesman begins with a set. The opening credits appear over the quiet stage of a small Tehran theater, nearly ready to debut a new production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. We see the bed before the actors who will lie in it, neon lights illuminated for an empty house. It is a quite literal setting of the stage before the drama begins.
It’s not a play adaptation, but it often feels like one. There are few locations and the cast is small. And, as in many play adaptations, the production design does a lot of heavy lifting »
- Daniel Walber
This Iranian import made news when its director found himself on the wrong side of the recent travel ban. It’s well worth the bother. Asghar Farhadi’s suspense story can’t be topped for maturity, insight or honest emotions about social stress: after an assault in a new apartment, the strain affects everything that a wife and husband do — driving a wedge through their marriage. Is it all built on a shaky foundation, like the crumbling apartment building they had to evacuate?
2016 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 124 min. / Forushande / Street Date May 2, 2017 / 34.99
Starring: Taraneh Alidoosti, Shahab Hosseini, Babak Karimi, Mina Sadati, Farid Sajjadi Hosseini, Mojtaba Pirzadeh, Maral Bani Adam, Emad Emami, Sam Valipour, Ehteram Boroumand, Mehdi Koushki, Shirin Aghakashi, Sahra Asadollahe.
Cinematography: Hossein Jafarian
Film Editor: Hayedeh Safiyari
Original Music: Sattar Oraki
Written and Directed by Asghar Farhadi »
- Glenn Erickson
As reported by Variety, British actor Tim Pigott-Smith died last week on April 7. Variety doesn’t have a cause of death, but Pigott-Smith was set to play Willy Loman in a touring production of Death Of A Salesman that was supposed to open this week, so his death was apparently unexpected. Pigott-Smith was 70.
In England, Pigott-Smith had a long and successful career with memorable appearances in everything from The Hour, The Chief, and a handful of original Doctor Who episodes in the ‘70s. However, he was probably best known for playing Police Superintendent Ronald Merrick in the 1984 series The Jewel In The Crown, which told stories about the final days of the British Raj in India after World War II—a role that earned Pigott-Smith a Best Actor award at the BAFTAs in 1985.
Here in the United States, Pigott-Smith is better known for his movie roles ...
- Sam Barsanti
British star of stage and screen died on Friday.
“Tim was one of the great actors of his generation,” Pigott-Smith’s agent John Grant said in a statement. “Much-loved and admired by his peers, he will be remembered by many as a gentleman and a true friend.”
Pigott-Smith, who had been due to begin a stage tour of Death Of A Salesman on Monday in Northampton, famously played police superintendent Ronald Merrick in Granada Television series The Jewel In The Crown, which earned him a best actor Bafta award in 1985.
Pigott-Smith was born in Warwickshire and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He performed on stage many times before landing his big break in The Jewel In The Crown.
The actor Tim Pigott-Smith has died at the age of 70.
The character actor’s career spanned almost five decades on stage and screen. Born in Rugby in 1946, he graduated from the University of Bristol in 1967 and went on to train at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school. He began his professional career at the Bristol Old Vic in 1969. »
- Ruth McKee and Michael Billington
For his “Jewel in the Crown” role as a police superintendent during the last days of the British Raj in India, Pigott-Smith won a BAFTA for Best Actor in 1985. This year, Pigott-Smith received an OBE for his services to drama. He was also nominated in 2014-15 for Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards for his lead role in “King Charles III,” which was just filmed for a TV movie adaptation.
Pigott-Smith was set to play Willy Loman opposite his wife Pamela Miles in a touring production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” The play was set to open Apr. 10 at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate Theatre.
“Everyone at Royal and Derngate and all involved with the production of Death Of A Salesman are deeply saddened by this tragic news, »
- Erin Nyren
Tim Pigott-Smith as Lord Ascot in Alice In Wonderland. Photo: © 2010 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Film, stage and small screen actor Tim Pigott-Smith - who was made an OBE in this year's New Year Honours list - died this morning, aged 70.
His agent John Grant confirmed his death and described him as "one of the great actors of his generation" He added: "Much loved and admired by his peers, he will be remembered by many as a gentleman and a true friend."
Pigott-Smith - who had been due to appear in a stage production of Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman next week - became a household name thanks to his appearance in ITV Raj-set drama Jewel In The Crown in 1984. He won a BAFTA for his role as police sergeant Ronald Merrick.
In addition to his television work, Pigott-Smith, who was born in Rugby, Warwickshire and trained at the Bristol Old Vic, »
- Amber Wilkinson
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (Osgood Perkins)
Osgood Perkins’ debut feature, The Blackcoat’s Daughter – originally known as February at its premiere at Tiff last year – is a stylish exercise in dread, teasing out its slow-drip horrors with precision, and building a deliriously evil presence that hovers along the fringes. However, there’s a thin line between mystery and vagueness in storytelling, and it becomes difficult to decide where a »
- The Film Stage
This Iranian domestic drama from the director of A Separation lays its symbolism on with a trowel – but it works
Asghar Farhadi is not a director who hides his symbolic subtext. The imagery in this engrossing drama, about a couple of actors whose marriage is tested when she is violently assaulted in their new home, is so overt, Farhadi might as well be sounding a klaxon. There’s the choice of the play within the film – a Persian translation of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman’s impotence and frustration permeate the film like cheap aftershave. And there’s the reason that Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) and Emad (Shahab Hosseini) have to move house in the first place – their original apartment building is collapsing. The cracks in their home life are literal as well as figurative.
With a writer-director less skilled than Farhadi, this occasional lack of subtlety might be a problem. »
- Wendy Ide
We take a look at new Blu-rays of two ’80s classics.
Shout! Factory’s relatively young collectors label, Shout Select, is something of an odd duck. This is less of a criticism than an observation as their releases so far bear no real discernible through line. We’ve gotten well-deserved Blu-rays of eagerly awaited ’80s classics like To Live and Die in La, Road House, and Midnight Run, but the label has also released/announced titles like Death of a Salesman, The Chinese Connection, and Simon Pegg’s forgettable 2012 film, A Fantastic Fear of Everything. So yeah, there’s something of an odd inconsistency across the catalog.
Red Dawn (1984)
A small town in Colorado begins its day like any other until strangers drop from the sky. Soviet »
- Rob Hunter
The film caught up in the travel ban row tells the story of a sexual assault that exposes the emotions seething beneath the surface of Iranian bourgeois life
Asghar Farhadi’s sombre new movie is the story of a shocking and mysterious event which shatters the wellbeing of a middle-class couple. It is about male pride, male violence, male privilege – but since its first appearance at Cannes last year, the film has outgrown its own immediate significance. It became a totem for cultural resistance to Donald Trump when the proposed travel ban threatened to exclude this Iranian director from the Academy Awards, where The Salesman was nominated for best foreign language film (Farhadi had already won an Oscar in this category for his 2011 film A Separation). The ban was overturned, but Farhadi stayed away in protest anyway. His film had a hugely well-attended free outdoor screening on the night in London, »
- Peter Bradshaw
The Salesman review: Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winner finally makes it to British soil, but will you buy into it?
The Salesman review by Paul Heath, March 2017.
The Salesman review
After competing in-competition for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, and walking away with the award for Best Screenplay and Best Actor for the formidable performance of Shahab Hosseini, The Salesman‘s success has grown and grown, culminating in Oscar triumph in the Best Foreign Language Film category at last month’s ceremony.
Asghar Farhadi‘s film comes to UK screens nearly a year after its high-profile debut, British audiences waiting with baited breath to see what all of the fuss is about. The Salesman opens with groups of people seen fleeing a crumbling apartment block; cracks starting to appear all around them as chaos unfolds. Amongst them is the aforementioned Hosseini playing the lead as Emad Etesami, »
- Paul Heath
The Salesman, written and directed by prominent filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, is all set to release in India on 31st March 2017. The Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini starrer, in association with Alliance Media & Entertainment & PVR Pictures, have launched the trailer of the film. The trailer is so well-crafted, it will keep you gripped from beginning to end.
Having premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, winning awards for Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Shahab Hosseini), the film has received immense appreciation globally. The Salesman also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Commenting on the same, Mr. Sunil Doshi, Director, Alliance Media & Entertainment stated, “In the world of excess, attention deficit disorder, recommendation algorithms imposed by technology, I would like to offer handpicked and curated choices to the audience like a boutique instead of super/hyper market of content! This is what I endeavor to do at Sunil Doshi presents! »
- Press Releases
Where would American playwrights be without the vagaries of capitalism to fuel their family dramas? The unpaid electric bill in “The Glass Menagerie,” the stinginess of a husband-father in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” the breadwinner who can’t close a deal in “Death of a Salesman.” In Steven Levenson’s magnificent new play, “If I Forget,” which opened February 22 at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre, money is the least of anybody’s problems in the first act. However, by the end of this full-bodied two-and-a-half hour production, money has come to shape everything. The drama’s three loving, »
- Robert Hofler
Rome – Iran rejoiced Monday at news of “The Salesman’s” Oscar victory for best foreign language film, but political reverberations risk undermining the artistic accomplishment of director Asghar Farhadi’s film.
Farhadi did not attend the ceremony in protest against President Trump’s travel ban, despite the suspension of the executive order by U.S. courts.
“Proud of cast & crew of ‘The Salesman’ for Oscar & stance against #MuslimBan. Iranians have represented culture & civilization for millennia,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted.
Iran’s government-owned Press TV cheered news of the Oscar with the headline “Asghar Farhadi wins another Oscar for Iran” on its website. Although the Academy Award for best foreign language film is customarily accepted by the winning film’s director, it is considered a prize for the submitting country as a whole.
In a prepared statement read out by Iranian American engineer Anousheh Ansari (pictured, right), who accepted »
- Nick Vivarelli
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