Italian police recover Roman statue stolen from Pompeii

Updated 18 October 2012
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Italian police recover Roman statue stolen from Pompeii

ROME: The head of an ancient Roman statue that could be of the mother of Emperor Nero has been recovered after being missing for decades, Italian police said on Thursday.
The funerary piece was stolen between 25 and 30 years ago from Pompeii, a Roman town that was buried by a volcanic eruption in AD 79 and is now one of Italy’s most famous ancient sites.
“It is impossible to estimate its value in monetary terms, but it is of notable cultural and historical interest,” Captain Rocco Papaleo, who led the investigation told Reuters.
The statue dates from between 100 BC and AD 50 when Rome was at its most powerful as the capital of a world empire and was found after an investigation into the art market by the military police of Piacenza in northern Italy.
The Department of Culture and Archaeology in Parma have judged it to be of “enormous interest” and likely to be of Agrippina the Younger, according to police, who said they did not know the whereabouts of the body of the statue.
The Roman empress was one of the most prominent women of her time and the mother of Nero, an emperor famed for brutality. Some historical accounts say that Nero had his powerful mother killed.
Police said the terracotta head had been hidden for years by a dentist in Parma, w ho had tried to sell it but couldn’t because it was too conspicuous as a stolen work.
The head was recovered after the 62-year-old tried to sell it through an antiques dealer from Piacenza aged 36, who accidentally alerted police as he tried to find a buyer. Both are now charged with receipt and possession of archaeological goods.
Italy has long struggled to protect its wealth of archaeological sites from opportunistic thieves and amateur tomb raiders called ‘tombaroli’, who feed a vast international market in looted artefacts estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to cost $6 billion in losses each year.


Lebanese director wins Cannes jury prize

Nadine Labaki, along with Zain Al-Rafeea, shows the jury prize award for ‘Capernaum’ at Cannes on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2018
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Lebanese director wins Cannes jury prize

  • Labaki took six months to make “Capernaum,” which relied on amateur actors.
  • “Shoplifters,” directed by Japanese filmmaker Hizokazu Kore-eda, was awarded the Palme d’Or.

CANNES, France: Lebanese director Nadine Labaki won the Cannes jury prize on Saturday for “Capernaum” — her devastating portrayal of poverty in Beirut.

The film, set among the city’s poor, left audiences in tears with a breathtaking performance by Zain Al-Rafeea, a 13-year-old Syrian refugee boy.

Labaki had been tipped to become only the second woman to win the Palme d’Or, but the jury, led by Cate Blanchett, awarded that honor to “Shoplifters,” directed by Japanese filmmaker Hizokazu Kore-eda.

The winners were announced during the Cannes closing ceremony after one of the strongest festivals for Arab films in decades.

Labaki took six months to make “Capernaum,” which relied on amateur actors. Zain plays a boy of the same name who runs away from home after his desperate mother and father sell his 11-year-old sister into marriage for a few chickens. 

He then takes his parents to court for having brought him into the world.

Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” the highest-profile American film in competition at Cannes, was awarded the grand prize. The film ignited the French Riviera festival with its true tale of a black police detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. 

Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters” is about a small-time thief who takes a young girl home to his family after seeing scars from abuse. The family decide to keep the girl and raise her as their own.