Oscars chief being investigated for sexual harassment

Academy President John Bailey is subject to an internal investigation following three charges of sexual harassment, accorting to US media reports on March 16, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 March 2018
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Oscars chief being investigated for sexual harassment

LOS ANGELES: The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body which hands out the Oscars, is being investigated for sexual harassment, US media reported on Friday.
The trade publication Variety and CBS News said the Academy immediately opened an investigation after receiving three harassment claims against John Bailey on Wednesday.
In response, the Academy issued a statement saying that it “treats any complaints confidentially to protect all parties.”
The group’s membership committee “reviews all complaints brought against Academy members according to our Standards of Conduct process, and after completing reviews, reports to the Board of Governors.”
It added: “We will not comment further on such matters until the full review is completed.”
In December, the Academy adopted a code of conduct for its members.
Bailey, 75, a cinematographer whose credits include “Groundhog Day” and “The Big Chill,” was elected to a four-year term as head of the Academy in August.
He followed Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African-American woman who had led the charge to increase racial diversity in the Academy. Her tenure included dealing with the social media-driven #OscarsSoWhite campaign and accusations of racism within the Academy.
Bailey’s brief tenure has been marked by the birth of the #MeToo movement started by actress Alyssa Milano and which went global, highlighting accusations of sexual abuse.
Harvey Weinstein, whose studio Miramax was behind hits such as “Shakespeare In Love” and “Pulp Fiction,” was expelled from the Academy in October following accusations of sexual harassment and abuse by dozens of women.
At a February lunch for this year’s Oscar nominees, Bailey promised the Academy would adopt a “greater awareness and responsibility in balancing gender, race, ethnicity, and religion.”
“The fossilized bedrock of many of Hollywood’s worst abuses are being jackhammered into oblivion,” he said.


Film Review: ‘Beauty and the Dogs’ takes hard look at an unfeeling society

Updated 20 October 2018
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Film Review: ‘Beauty and the Dogs’ takes hard look at an unfeeling society

CHENNAI: A brutal title, “Beauty and the Dogs” is an electric French-Tunisian drama by Kaouther Ben Hania (“Imams Go to School,” “Zaineb Hates the Snow”), which has been entered as Tunisia’s submission for the best foreign-language film at the 2019 Academy Awards. Although the film is yet to earn a nomination, it is a powerful piece of cinema that deserves recognition.
Based on a real-life incident in 2012, the movie begins at sunset and ends at sunrise and zooms in on a woman traumatized by an unfeeling society. A rather weak script, but bolstered by a strong, moving story mounted on lovely long takes, Hania’s creation is an unflinching look at how a young woman who is raped by a policeman fights a degenerate system.

Hania does not sensationalize and focuses on the aftermath of the horrifying incident when her protagonist, Mariam (Mariam Al Ferjani), doggedly pursues the villainous cop, who has all the muscle power and support of his superiors. They try every trick to derail Mariam’s grit and determination.

The movie begins on a note of fun with Mariam attending a college party at a Tunis disco. After a mild flirtation with Youssef (Ghanem Zrelli), the two go for a walk on the beach, where she is raped. We only see Mariam running with Youssef at her heels, and we get a feeling that he is chasing her. But no, she is running away in desperation.

“Beauty and the Dogs” is a hard critique of an unfeeling society. Even a woman police officer that Mariam approaches is uncaring and, worse, throws her back into the den of dogs, so to speak. Earlier, a female attendant at a clinic where Mariam goes for a mandatory physical examination seems contemptuous. The film is littered with points of horrific humiliation for Mariam, something which leads to audience sympathy staying unwaveringly strong.
The film is especially important in the current #MeToo climate, where an international discussion on sexual harassment and rape is taking place from Hollywood to Bollywood but has yet to shake up the Middle East.