Will Smith visits Jordan’s Petra with ‘Aladdin’ crew

Will Smith visited Petra in Jordan with his crew on Wednesday.
Updated 09 November 2017
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Will Smith visits Jordan’s Petra with ‘Aladdin’ crew

JEDDAH: US star Will Smith has thanked the royal family and people of Jordan for taking “perfect care of us.” Smith, who arrived this week in Aqaba for shooting Disney’s “Aladdin” visited Petra with his crew on Wednesday.
“We’re shooting Aladdin in Jordan. Took my crew to see PETRA! It’s been on my Bucket List for about 20 years. IT’S CRAZY! Special ‘Thank You’ to the Royal Family & to the people of Jordan. You all took PERFECT CARE of us. We Shall Return!” the “Men in Black” star wrote on Facebook, posting a group photo of the trip.
Earlier, Al-Rai newspaper quoted Commissioner of Tourism and Commerce at the Aqaba authority’s special economy unit, Sharhabil Madi as saying that Smith’s visit was related to the filming of “Aladdin,” in which the latter plays the role of the Genie.
Madi added that attracting famous international figures to Aqaba comes within the framework of the authority’s plan to promote the region as a safe tourist and economic destination.
“The authority has to take advantage of the presence of such artistic figures who are filming global films watched by hundreds of millions around the world and bearing the name of the place where these films are produced. Aqaba today gained international fame due to these works of art,” he said.
He added: “There will be dozens of artists and international foreign and Arab stars participating in the production of Aladdin, which is being filmed in the ‘Valley of the Moon Wadi Rum’ for a period of up to two months.”
Smith was also photographed having dinner at a restaurant in Aqaba.
Many Jordanians on social media welcomed the actor and his crew to their country.
Hisham Ayyash wrote: “Jordan and Jordanians love you and we were honored to have you in Jordan. We will be waiting for your next trip to us! To everyone and on behalf of all Jordanians, please count Jordan as your 2nd home any time!”
“We are honored to host your new film Mr. Smith, hope you have a blast in Jordan and take a glimpse at the true Middle Eastern culture away from the noise of American mainstream media. Make sure to try mansaf (traditional Jordanian dish),” wrote Shadi Hawari.


Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018
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Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.