Italian director says film foresaw papal resignation

Updated 12 February 2013
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Italian director says film foresaw papal resignation

VATICAN CITY: The Italian director of a film which tells the story of a pope who resigned spoke in an interview on Tuesday of his uncanny foresight after Pope Benedict XVI announced he will step down.
“Sometimes cinema can anticipate reality,” award-winning filmmaker Nanni Moretti, whose latest movie “Habemus Papam” starring Michel Piccoli as the pope went on general release in 2011, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
Moretti said the resignation in St. Peter’s Square that ends his film was a powerful image “as if a simple gesture, after all just a few steps back for a man, could bring down St. Peter’s basilica or even the Church itself.”
“Even though it did not seem topical or believable, I told myself it was the story I wanted to tell. Not reality as it is but as it could be. And now here we are,” said Moretti, who has also made a comedy about Silvio Berlusconi.
“Habemus Papam” talks about a papal nominee, Cardinal Melville, who suffers a panic attack when he is due to appear before a crowd in St. Peter’s Square immediately after his election by a secret conclave of cardinals.
The cardinals recruit a psychoanalyst played by Moretti to ease his depression but he fails and the pope-to-be announces he will not take the post.
“I wanted to tell the Story with a capital ‘S’ of a man who refuses to give precedence to his role, however sacred and powerful, over his human nature,” he said, adding that he doubted that the pope had actually seen the film.
Moretti said his film had wanted to make a portrayal of a “more human” Vatican, as well as a “thoughtful” criticism of the Catholic Church.
He said he had taken special care over how to portray cardinals in the film as he wanted to show them “full of confusion, humanity and fear.”
But he admitted that fiction could only go so far in portraying the Catholic Church — “I don’t really know what happens in a conclave.”


#MeToo hits Pakistan as allegations mount against leading singer

Updated 21 April 2018
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#MeToo hits Pakistan as allegations mount against leading singer

  • Actress Meesha Shafi posted a lengthy message on Twitter, accusing singer Ali Zafar of physically harassing her on “more than one occasion”
  • “No woman goes public with allegations like this just for, fun," tweeted Pakistani novelist and columnist Bina Shah

ISLAMABAD: Pressure mounted Friday against Pakistani singer Ali Zafar after he was hit with a sexual harassment allegation by a leading actress in the first high profile “#metoo” accusation in the staunchly patriarchal country.
The allegations were trending across social media in Pakistan after popular actress Meesha Shafi posted a lengthy message on Twitter, accusing Zafar of physically harassing her on “more than one occasion.”
“This happened to me despite the fact I am an empowered, accomplished woman who is known for speaking her mind!” read the statement.
Zafar denied the accusations, threatening legal action against the actress.
“I intend to take this through the courts of law, and to address this professionally and seriously rather than to lodge any accusations here,” he wrote on Twitter.
Following the accusation, other high-profile voices were quick to lend their support.
“No woman goes public with allegations like this just for, fun. Obviously, you spend no time listening to women when they talk about how widespread harassment is in our society,” tweeted Pakistani novelist and columnist Bina Shah.
Zafar has dominated the music charts in Pakistan for nearly two decades and has also starred in a number of films including Bollywood satire “Tere bin Laden” which translates as “Your Bin Laden.”
The #MeToo and #Timesup campaigns have gone global since allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were published last October, sparking an avalanche of accusations against other powerful men.
However, the movement has been slow to catch on in Pakistan, where women have fought for their rights for years in a patriarchal society where so-called “honor” killings and attacks on women remain commonplace.
In a report released earlier this week by watchdog Human Rights Commission Pakistan, the group said violence against women remained troubling, with 5,660 related crimes reported in the country’s four provinces in the first 10 months of 2017.
In August, firebrand opposition leader Imran Khan was also hit with allegations of sexual misconduct by a female lawmaker who accused the famed cricketer of sending obscene text messages and promoting a culture of sexism within his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
He later denied the allegations.