Review: ‘The Forgiven’ sees Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain confront their privilege

Review: ‘The Forgiven’ sees Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain confront their privilege
The film stars Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 July 2022

Review: ‘The Forgiven’ sees Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain confront their privilege

Review: ‘The Forgiven’ sees Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain confront their privilege

CHENNAI: A weekend of debauchery into something more in director Michael McDonagh’s “The Forgiven,” which takes a frank look at race and privilege. The film is set to be released in cinemas this summer after it premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Set in Morocco, the camera expertly captures the sneering disdain with which a group of white holiday-makers regard the locals.  McDonagh, who adapted the script from Lawrence Osborne’s novel, satirizes rich Westerners by portraying them as bigoted and alcohol-fueled. This is apparent in the first minutes of the movie when a squabbling couple — Jessica Chastain’s Jo and Ralph Fiennes’ David — are seen driving through the desert. They’ve flown in from London to celebrate the new estate built by their old friend Richard (Matt Smith).




Ralph Fiennes stars in “The Forgiven.” (YouTube)

Having been drinking the entire day, David is ill at ease driving through the dark desert when he loses control and hits a teenager, instantly killing him. Undecided about what to do with the body, they load it in the boot of the car and carry it to a plush estate, where guests are engaging in boisterous revelry. If this was not bad enough, the boy’s old father arrives at the resort — his only child is dead and he is inconsolable. David is confused, Jo is nervous, but their friends treat the whole episode as some kind of inevitability.

David, in what is the only touch of humanism in the entire movie, agrees to accompany the father to his village for the burial. After a few days of spending time with the grieving family, David is wracked by guilt, but Jo — who is having her own fun at the resort — is not. 

Devoid of any trace of sorrow, Chastain is effective, mixing her highs and lows with panache. But it is Fiennes whose performance is unforgettable. Conveying an arc that travels from drunken callousness to fright and guilt, he is fantastic. And Moroccan actor Ismael Kanater as the boy’s father, Abdullah, is probably the most telling character, who hides his rage and anguish in a way that unnerves a confused David. 

“The Forgiven” is subtle and plays out a scenario where disrespect and ostentatiousness is rampant. A fairly expansive and well-crafted narrative, the film offers a penetrating look at racist snobbery.


Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022

Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022
Updated 15 August 2022

Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022

Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022
  • DJs, rappers, producers sign up to new advisory board
  • Innovation and diversity are key pillars of this year’s event, organizers say

RIYADH: XP Music Futures has created an advisory board of industry insiders to ensure maximum diversity and innovation when it stages its second festival in November.

Among those appointed to the so-called board of advocates and advisors are American rapper Kim Renard Nazel — better known as Arabian Prince — music producer and record label founder Saud Alturki, immersive audio specialist Marcela Rada, digital media expert Natasha Stambuli, and the regional head of A&R and marketing at Sony Music Middle East Karima Damir.

Mohammed Bajbaa, who founded Saudi clothing brand Proud Angeles and fashion consultancy Proud X, Saudi rapper Jara and DJ Space Boi, will also be on the board.

XP director Nada Alhelabi said: “83 percent of last year’s attendees loved XP because of its programming. Partnering with a diverse set of professionals means guests see representation they can identify with and relate to.

“Our trusted board of advocates and advisors serve as one way for us to stay connected to communities … and deliver another great edition of valuable cultural and music exchange, tangible progress and inspire unlimited innovation.”

With its Day and Nite program and focus on innovation through disruptive, forward-thinking methods, XP is the forerunner within the MENA region for the music and creative industries.

It will not only discover and discuss how new technology is the driver of change in the music ecosystem – exploring the fast-moving Web3, the new iteration on blockchain technology and Metaverse – but also bring technology for guests to experience in immersive installations.

Its other core pillars of talent, scene and impact will work to implement ways to flourish careers in the music industry, nurture the scene through workshops and panels, and initiate dialogue around music, mental health and well-being, and their role in creating a socially conscious industry.

“The ultimate objective of XP is to accelerate the development and transformation of the music landscape across the Middle East,” Alhelabi said. “We are grateful to be driving, crafting and optimizing wonders into our world.”

The festival runs from Nov. 28-30. Music professionals and enthusiasts can register at https://mdlbeast.com/events/xp-2022.


Stolen Picasso painting found in Iraq  

Stolen Picasso painting found in Iraq  
Updated 15 August 2022

Stolen Picasso painting found in Iraq  

Stolen Picasso painting found in Iraq  

DUBAI: Iraqi authorities announced this week that they found an original painting by the renowned Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in the Iraqi province of Diyala on Saturday, Iraqi News Agency reported.

The painting, said to be worth millions of dollars, was seized from a drug group after a raid late July. 

Director of the anti-narcotics media office Colonel Bilal Sobhi told the publication: “The Anti-Narcotics Directorate carried out an operation in Diyala governorate, in which a network of three defendants who were involved in the trade and transport of narcotic drugs were arrested, and a painting belonging to the international painter Picasso was seized in their possession, estimated at millions of dollars.”

“It is a major operation that is calculated for the anti-drugs General Directorate,” he added.

Details of the artwork have not been revealed yet. The Pablo Picasso Foundation, responsible for promoting and managing the artist’s work, did not issue a statement either. 


Part-Arab model Imaan Hammam stuns in Tiffany & Co. global campaign

Part-Arab model Imaan Hammam stuns in Tiffany & Co. global campaign
Updated 15 August 2022

Part-Arab model Imaan Hammam stuns in Tiffany & Co. global campaign

Part-Arab model Imaan Hammam stuns in Tiffany & Co. global campaign

DUBAI: Dutch Moroccan Egyptian model Imaan Hammam has landed herself yet another global campaign.

The catwalk star fronted the latest Tiffany & Co. promotional video for the US luxury label’s Lock collection alongside American skateboarder Tyshawn Jones.

The new releases feature yellow, white and rose gold bangles with sparkly diamonds that symbolize “togetherness and inclusivity,” according to the brand’s website.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Imaan Hammam (@imaanhammam)

In the video that the Netherlands-raised Hammam shared with her 1.4 million followers, she wore a white gold bracelet that looks like a padlock, with full pave diamonds, while Jones opted for a white gold bangle.

For the shoot, Hammam kept her look to a minimum.

She wore a black form-fitting dress and her makeup was soft and featured neutral shades — not to mention her iconic signature curly hair made for the look.

The model wore diamond jewelry in the video. (Instagram)

Hammam’s repertoire is growing day by day.

Last week, the model made headlines for starring in Romanian Jordanian designer Amina Muaddi’s latest campaign, which celebrated the duo’s Arab roots.

The short clips, shared on Muaddi and Hammam’s Instagram accounts, were shot in Cairo.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Imaan Hammam (@imaanhammam)

In the video captured by British Egyptian filmmaker and photographer Dexter Navy, the 25-year-old catwalk star flaunted Muaddi’s new Drop 2/22 collection.

The videos and images featured Hammam in multiple scenarios, including standing alongside a white Arabian horse and posing atop intricately woven rugs.

She posed for pictures alongside women and men wearing traditional outfits and head and face covers decorated with jewelry.

Hammam is one of the most in-demand models in the industry. The now 25-year-old was scouted in Amsterdam’s Centraal Station before making her catwalk debut in 2013 by walking in Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture show.

Since then, she has appeared on the runway for major fashion houses, such as Burberry, Fendi, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, Balenciaga and Carolina Herrera, to name a few.

Hammam, who has been featured in leading fashion publications, such as Vogue and V Magazine, also starred in international campaigns for DKNY, Celine, Chanel, Versace, Givenchy, Giorgio Armani and many more. 


Saudi Arabia continues to rank among top 5 overseas markets for ‘Bullet Train’ 

Saudi Arabia continues to rank among top 5 overseas markets for ‘Bullet Train’ 
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi Arabia continues to rank among top 5 overseas markets for ‘Bullet Train’ 

Saudi Arabia continues to rank among top 5 overseas markets for ‘Bullet Train’ 

NEW YORK: The Brad Pitt action film “Bullet Train” led all movies in ticket sales for a second straight weekend, according to studio estimates this week, with Saudi Arabia continuing to earn a spot on the overseas play ranking.

David Leitch’s assassin-crowded film grossed $114.5 million globally in two weeks from 61 overseas markets. 

Saudi Arabia led the Middle East and North Africa market with $3.6 million and it ranked among the top five globally. 

Overseas play was led by France with $5.8 million. The UK is currently at $6 million. Mexico has grossed $5.4 million, followed by Australia’s $4.1 million and Saudi Arabia and Spain at $3.6 million each. 

The Sony Pictures film cost $90 million to make. 


REVIEW: ‘Day Shift’ is a horror show in the worst possible sense

REVIEW: ‘Day Shift’ is a horror show in the worst possible sense
Updated 15 August 2022

REVIEW: ‘Day Shift’ is a horror show in the worst possible sense

REVIEW: ‘Day Shift’ is a horror show in the worst possible sense
  • Netflix vampire movie has little going for it

LONDON: Hitting screens in the Middle East and North Africa, Netflix’s latest horror action movie “Day Shift” could be about to disappoint.

What is it with Netflix and sucking the life out of interesting new IPs? If it is not “Bright” or “Project Power,” it is “Outside the Wire” or “Thunder Force” — seemingly fascinating and original science fiction and fantasy movie ideas that wind up less than the sum of their parts?

So it is with “Day Shift,” the streaming giants’ new horror-action caper starring Jamie Foxx as vampire hunter Bud, and Dave Franco as his nerdy union representative. The notion that vampire hunting could be a viable career path in the San Fernando Valley, with unionized payouts for turned-in fangs and a benefits package, is moderately entertaining. Unfortunately, stuntman JJ Perry’s directorial debut never gets beyond that initial premise, all-too-quickly devolving into a tonally nonsensical plot and script, one-note characters and wooden performances across the board — it says something when a cameo from Snoop Dogg is far from the worst performance in a movie.

The film stars US actor Jamie Foxx. (Supplied)

Even having watched it, it is hard to sum up what the movie’s plot is, or why Karla Souza’s rent-a-villain Audrey (a vampire real estate mogul … no joke) wants Bud and his family to suffer. In keeping with his stunt background, the only time Perry’s movie comes to life is during some of the more inventive action sequences. There are some interesting drone shots that keep one particular chase sequence zipping along, and the choreography of some of Foxx’s vampire slaying is suitably kinetic. But everything else feels depressingly derivative — this is every vampire movie you have ever seen before, only done worse, and stretched so thin that you can see where the script is playing for time before launching into the next predictably bombastic set piece.

Much like many of its characters, “Day Shift” is a movie that needs putting out of its misery. We can only hope that, despite Netflix’s obvious quest for a new family of franchises, this one stays dead.