“Omaggio a Roma” Featuring Andrea Bocelli

“Omaggio a Roma” is Maestro Franco Zeffirelli’s film tribute to Rome, the Eternal City. This video clip features stunning cinematography, and an inspired performance by Andrea Bocelli.


Zeffirelli and Bocelli Pay Tribute to Rome

Franco Zeffirelli’s Omaggio a Roma (Tribute to Rome) premieres this week at the 4th Rome International Film Festival.

In the 20-minute film, Monica Bellucci performs the role of Tosca and Andrea Bocelli is featured in the role of Mario Cavaradossi.

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October 16, 2009: Franco Zeffirelli and Andrea Bocelli at press conference for Omaggio a Roma

American movies in the film festival lineup include the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man, Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child, and James Ivory’s The City of Your Final Destination.

Hollywood Walk of Fame 2010

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce released the names of the 28 celebrities who will be honored with a pink terrazzo five-pointed star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010, the Walk’s 50th anniversary.

The 2010 Hollywood Walk of Fame recipients are:

  • Motion Pictures:
    James Cameron, Russell Crowe, John Cusack, Colin Firth, Gale Anne Hurd, Alan Menken, Randy Newman, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson and Mark Wahlberg
  • Television:
    Chris Berman, Jon Cryer, Peter Graves, Jimmy Kimmel, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bill Maher, and Sam Waterston
  • Recording:
    Bryan Adams, The Funk Brothers, Alan Jackson, Chaka Khan, Van Morrison, Marco Antonio Solis, Ringo Starr, ZZ Top and posthumously Roy Orbison
  • Live Performance/Theatre:
    Andrea Bocelli and Cirque Du Soleil/Guy Laliberte

Edinburgh Film Festival Snubs Israeli Grant

A £300 grant from the Israeli embassy was returned by the Endinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) in response to pressure from prominent anti-Israel British film director Ken Loach, who urged “all who might consider visiting the festival to show their support for the Palestinian nation and stay away.” The grant was to be used to pay the travel expenses from Israel to Scotland for Tali Shalom-Ezer, a graduate of Tel Aviv University, whose film is scheduled to be screened at the event.

“By banning the Israeli Embassy from supporting a filmmaker, the festival is helping to exclude Israelis from British cultural life, something that is clearly unfair,” said Lord Janner of Braunstone, a Labour party member of the House of Lords. Lord Janner is the former President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the main representative body of British Jewry. He is also the Founder and President of the Commonwealth Jewish Council and the Inter-Parliamentary Council Against Antisemitism.

Sir Jeremy Isaacs, former CEO of Channel Four, said, “I have admired the Edinburgh International Film Festival for many years and would like to think that this appalling decision will be rescinded.”

When the United Arab Emirates refused a visa to Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer, preventing her participation in Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, the Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon took a stand and refused to broadcast the event. “This is an easy decision to come by, based on what is right and wrong,” he said. “Sports are about merit, absent of background, class, race, creed, color or religion. They are simply about talent. This is a classic case, not about what country did what to another country. If the state of Israel were barring a citizen of an Arab nation, we would have made the same decision.”

While movies often have political themes, Ms. Shalom-Ezer’s film, Surrogate, does not. It is a romance set in a sex clinic. Like Mr. Solomon, the board members of the EIFF should have taken a position against a bullying manifestation of bigotry.

At least they are making a proper gesture. A spokesman for the EIFF said that the festival will pay Ms. Shalom-Ezer’s travel expenses.

See Also:
The Edinburgh Bigotry Festival [Spectator.co.uk; Melanie Phillips; May 21, 2009]
Edinburgh film festival bows to pressure from Ken Loach over Israeli boycott [Times Online; May 20, 2009]

3rd Annual GI Film Festival

The third annual GI Film Festival runs from May 13-17, 2009, in Washington DC. Emmy Award-winning actor Kelsey Grammer was a special guest for the festival’s congressional reception on Wednesday at the Russell Senate Caucus Room. Honorees include Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ). On Saturday night, Senator and renowned actor Fred Dalton Thompson will participate in the screening of Perfect Valor, written and directed by David C. Taylor and produced by David Bossie.

For more information about the films, directors and celebrity participants, visit the GI Film Festival web site.

A.R. Rahman: The Mozart of Madras

If you haven’t heard of composer A.R. Rahman before, it may be because you are a fan of Hollywood but not Bollywood. Mr. Rahman has sold more than 100 million records, and with the success of Slumdog Millionaire, his music is now becoming familiar to Western audiences. Born in Madras (now Chennai) India in 1966, Mr. Rahman, a convert to Sufi Islam, continues to live and work there.

Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack

Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack

His score for Slumdog Millionaire has been nominated for two Academy Awards. He also has two nominations for Best Song from the same movie, “O Saya” and “Jai Ho” (which means “be victorious”). Only two Indians have ever won an Oscar. In 1983, Bhanu Athaiya won for best costume design for Gandhi, and Satyajit Ray, the director of The Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali, Aparajito, The World of Apu) received a lifetime achievement award in 1992.

Slumdog Millionaire has already been a big winner in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The award for best music went to A.R. Rahman for the original score of Slumdog Millionaire, beating out the competition from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Alexandre Desplat), Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard), Mamma Mia! (Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus), and Wall•E (Thomas Newman). The BAFTA was presented to Mr. Rahman by Kylie Minogue, the Australian pop singer/songwriter who is collaborating with him on his next project, a film called Blue.

See Also:
Talking Shop: AR Rahman [BBC News; February 17, 2009]
‘Slumdog’ Composer Rahman, ‘Mozart of Madras,’ Vies for Oscars [Bloomberg.com; February 22, 2009]
‘Slumdog’ Fusionist in Oscar Spotlight [NY Times; February 20, 2009]