Showbiz

Natalie Portman film to open Venice festival

By Jennifer Lipman, July 23, 2010

A film starring Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman as a top ballerina has been selected to open this year's Venice Film Festival in September.

Ms Portman plays the lead in “Black Swan”, a psychological thriller directed by Jewish filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.

It will be the third consecutive film by Mr Aronofsky premiering at the Venice event, following The Fountain and The Wrestler, which won the festival's Golden Lion prize in 2008.

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Finkelstein: no 'war of words' with Berkoff

By Jennifer Lipman, July 22, 2010

A dispute involving two high-profile Jewish writers has been cleared up by The Times writer Daniel Finkelstein, who has offered his surrender.

Actor Steven Berkoff had criticised The Times executive editor for comments he complained would make sense only to someone who “came from another planet.”

Mr Finkelstein said he was sorry his column, in which he described many Jewish laws as “inconvenient and hard to explain to outsiders”, had caused upset.

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Berkoff v Finkelstein: row over Jewish law

By Jennifer Lipman, July 22, 2010

Two high profile Jewish writers are engaged in a public dispute over the purpose of religious law.

Actor Steven Berkoff has accused Daniel Finkelstein of making “a sad reduction” of Jewish ritual and suggested his comments would make sense only to someone who “came from another planet.”

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Hall of Infamy: David Cronin

July 21, 2010


"How can Lydon so callously disregard the suffering of a people under colonial occupation? The answer is easy. [His band] will be performing in Tel Aviv as headliners at a festival sponsored by Heineken.


"Along with giving him all the free beer he can swallow, Lydon can be sure the brewers will help to swell his bank account. Finally, he has found a corporation that gets 'the opportunity of me'.”









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Aaron Sorkin to film presidential scandal

By Jennifer Lipman, July 19, 2010

Aaron Sorkin, the creator of White House television series the West Wing, is planning to bring another political story to the big screen.

Mr Sorkin is set to film the story of the rise and fall of John Edwards, the Democrat presidential contender brought down when a gossip magazine revealed his extramarital affair with an aide.

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Missy Elliot ignores Israel boycott campaign

By Jennifer Lipman, July 14, 2010

Rap star Missy Elliot has defied pro-Palestinian protesters and landed in Israel ready for a much-anticipated performance.

Activists had launched a campaign to dissuade her from going and join musicians including Elvis Costello and the Pixies in boycotting shows there.

But the American singer has ignored this and is set to perform in Tel Aviv on Thursday, her first ever concert in Israel.

She is also said to be planning to visit the Western Wall and Dead Sea while in the country, before heading to Morocco for the next date of her European tour.

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Johnny Rotten defies Israel-gig protest

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

Former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten has vowed to perform in Israel despite a campaign by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign for him to boycott the concert.

John Lydon – the punk singer’s real name – said in a radio interview that he has been sent hate mail because his band Public Image Limited is due to play in Tel Aviv in August.

But the controversial star, known for his anti-government stance, said he would not give in even as pro-Palestinian activists said they would picket an upcoming Bristol concert.

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Nazi jibe presenter Jon Gaunt loses court case

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

The former TalkSport presenter, Jon Gaunt, has lost his legal battle with Ofcom over calling a councillor a Nazi on air.

The High Court found that the watchdog was justified in upholding complaints against the radio show host and that this "did not constitute a material interference to his freedom of expression".

Mr Gaunt was fired from TalkSport in 2008 after the media regulator found that he had breached the Ofcom code for addressing Michael Stark, a Redbridge councillor, as a "health Nazi" and an "ignorant pig".

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Swiss let Roman Polanski go free

By Lucy Morris, July 12, 2010

The Swiss Justice Ministry has rejected an extradition request from the United States for Roman Polanski.

The Polish-born Holocaust survivor fled America in 1978 after being charged with the drugging and rape of a 13-year old model.

Mr Polanski, 76, who is an Oscar-winning director, famed for "Rosemary’s Baby", "Chinatown", and "The Pianist", was arrested on the way to collecting a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival in 2009.

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Dustin Hoffman did not cancel Jerusalem appearance

By Jennifer Lipman, July 7, 2010

Jewish actor Dustin Hoffman did not halt arrangements to attend the Jerusalem Film Festival in the wake of the Gaza flotilla clash, despite what one of the organisers had claimed.

Yigal Molad Hayo, the associate director of the Cinematheque, the location of the annual festival, had told the Jerusalem Post he had been “very close to reaching an agreement” for Mr Hoffman to appear at the event.

But he said: “Then the flotilla happened and correspondence was ended.”

However he has now retracted his statement as “misleading and incorrect”.

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