NEWS:  FEBRUARY 2016

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24 February 2016

Christine Letailleur's production of LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES starring Vincent and Dominique Blanc is being staged in Modena, Italy today and tomorrow. Performances will be held at the Emilia Romagna Theatre. The traveling play has received much praise as it's made its way around France and Belgium since opening on November 3, 2015. After it leaves Italy, it will be staged at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris beginning March 2.

Laura Zangarini of Italy's Corriere spoke with Vincent about his role. "Valmont is a manipulator," he explains, "and humiliation was the favorite board game of the aristocrats before the revolution." He says what the audience will discover in Modena is a "rhythmic show, funny, comical and terrible at the same time with sharp words like blades and a wonderful actress, Dominique Blanc in the role of Madame de Marteuil." It was the idea of playing alongside the French actress that convinced him to return to the theater. "We are very good friends and I always dreamed of working with her. I missed the stage and I'm happy to return to it." He explains how the eighteenth century is a perfect century to question the meaning of debauchery, hedonism and pleasure. He adds, "The value of those love letters is the same for us today with tweets, emails and text messages... The relationship between Valmont and the Marquise de Marteuil is a bullfight similar to the struggle between the matador and the bull."

The play's director, Christine Letailleur, explained how her theater generation has been marked by Patrice Chéreau and saddened by his death and this stage production is a strong tribute to the man. Both actors were outstanding in two of his films - "Queen Margot" and "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train".

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When questioned about his film, "Alone in Berlin", which premiered at Berlinale last week, Vincent shared how he was inspired by Ettore Scola's 1977 film, "A Special Day", starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Scola, who directed Vincent in "The Voyage of Captain Fracassa" [1990] and passed away last month, was a great influence when Vincent was both writing the screenplay and during filming. He confesses he has a love for Italian cinema admiring several directors - Rossellini, Visconti, De Sica, Pasolini, Antonioni and Scola. On a personal note, I have long admired Visconti's 1971 film, "Death in Venice". Highly recommended and a soundtrack to die for - the music of Gustav Mahler.

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Daughter Iman is in the news again. With a model pal named Sonia Ben Ammar, it's a shoo-in that you'll be featured in the gossip columns because Sonia's love interest at the moment is Brooklyn Beckham. Here's some photos from Hello magazine of the gang at Disneyland in California. I believe Iman is doing some photo shoots in LA. I remember how the beautiful Brooke Shields abandoned her modeling career at 18 to attend Princeton University, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in French literature. Kudos! By the way, in the past week I have added several new photos to the Bal des debutantes Gallery.

 
16 February 2016

Always willing to give his time to international social and charitable causes, Vincent participated in a fundraiser sponsored by the Womanity Foundation on February 4. Over a thousand people attended the sixth gala evening at Palexpo in Geneva. The celebration also marked the 10th anniversary of the Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering girls and women worldwide.

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Here's a Berlinale portrait gallery from The Hollywood Reporter:

Just hours ahead of the film’s world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival yesterday, the director and cast sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the long journey from book to film and the importance of fighting tyranny, whatever the cost. Actor Brendan Gleeson shared his thoughts with, "I remember being in Berlin when the wall was here. We hitched through East Berlin and stopped in a cafe and had the feeling, a very real feeling, that you better keep your head down." That's exactly what I said in my comments two days ago!

The controversy continues today by the critics as to whether the film should have been filmed in German rather than English. Popular opinion is that the subject matter would have been better served without the distraction of actors struggling with accents lending the film more authenticity. To those who wince at reading subtitles, let me tell you that you're missing out on some of the world's best cinema.

 
15 February 2016

During the Berlinale press conference today, German actor Daniel Brühl shared his thoughts on the importance and relevance of a film like "Alone in Berlin" in today's world. He said, "In Europe, especially in Germany, there is a return to the right-wing political movements, so we have to be alert. Making a film like this today is much more important than you think because it is necessary to raise public awareness about the dangerous past. History is made ​​of influences, but sometimes we tend to forget it."

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson added his comments about playing Otto, "It's important to understand the historical moment in which the story is set... I do not know if I could find the courage or if I would have his generosity."

Apparently the cast enjoyed Vincent's working method. Effervescent British actress Emma Thompson declared, "It is always important to have a director who is also an actor. I'm very close to James Ivory, who has never been an actor. But I must say that Vincent did a great job, able to handle the emotions generated by telling a story so tragic. Vincent was a perfect barometer of our emotions on the set and we could communicate without words."

Vincent shared with the press how he made choices on the look of the film. "We used a very simple and natural light. The danger was making an overly stylized film so we had to find a balance between aesthetics and realism. I was inspired by Italian neo-realism, particularly in "Una giornata particolare". I showed the crew some German cinema and some Russian films."

Critics agree that powerful performances from the actors can lead to audiences being haunted by the question that made the book such a success in the first place - "What would I do during these circumstances?"

[See gallery for more photos] 

14 February 2016

It is the night before the premiere of ALONE IN BERLIN and though I wasn't "alone," I recall two of my visits to both East and West Berlin in 1975 and 1977. The first time we traveled with our children because it was an educational opportunity for young minds. The second time it was just my husband and I and we lunched on the other side of the wall. It definitely was an Orwellian experience. Of course, the wall came tumbling down but the memories stay with me of barbed-wired fences and guard towers and the East German police with their pistols demanding our passports twice as our car veered from the main highway out of Berlin. Chilling...

 
12 February 2016

Good news! Altitude Film Distribution and Picturehouse Entertainment have teamed up once more to take U.K. distribution rights to ALONE IN BERLIN ahead of its Berlin premiere on Monday following several market screenings. Altitude Film Entertainment founder Clarke said: "We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment by bringing 'Alone In Berlin' to UK screens. It’s a fascinating story which has been brilliantly and carefully realised by Vincent Perez with powerhouse performances from Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson and Daniel Brühl." Binns, director of programming and acquisition at Picturehouse, added, "I loved the book and I am thrilled that the screen adaptation has been so movingly and cinematically assembled. We can’t wait to bring this extraordinary story to audiences on the big screen."

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I have no idea when the photo below was taken especially since Vincent is sporting a mustache. It comes from twitter, posted four days ago, and shows him with "Dalida" director Lisa Azuelos and cast members Jean Paul Rouve (far right) and Patrick Timsit (center).

 
08 February 2016
The Guardian published an article yesterday called, "'My family resisted the Nazis' - Why director had to film 'Alone in Berlin'".  Here is an excerpt:

The film is directed and co-written by Vincent Perez, the son of a Spanish father and German mother, whose own German family resisted the Nazis and lost an uncle to the gas chambers. His Spanish grandfather was shot for resisting fascism. "I read the book and I got addicted to it," said Perez. "It was obviously a very cinematic story." In making the film, he felt "the energy, the strength, the fight, the struggle" of his own family members and other wartime heroes who "nobody talks about … People did tiny things and lost their lives, and we never talk about it. We’re telling the story of those people." One of the film’s challenges was to convey the "fear in the air" for ordinary people living under Nazism. Perez said: "How it was just to buy some bread, to live in the street or to know that anyone could sell the other one to the Nazis. The book shows it really well."

The film will battle for the prestigious Golden Bear next week at the Berlin Int'l Film Festival. These movie stills have just been released:

 
03 February 2016

Yesterday it was announced that Vincent has been cast in the biopic, DALIDA, directed by Lisa Azuelos. The film will trace the career of the famous singer from her birth in Cairo in 1933 to her tragic death in 1987. The Egyptian-born Italian-French singer and actress who performed and recorded in more than 10 languages will be played by Italian actress Sveva Alviti, unknown in France. The cast includes Riccardo Scamarcio as Orlando, Jean-Paul Rouve as Lucien Morisse, Patrick Timsit as Bruno Merrick, Nicolas Duvauchelle as Richard Chanfray, Niels Schneider as Jean Sobieski, Michael Cohen as Arnaud Desjardins, Brenno Placido as Lucio, Alessandro Borghi as Luigi Tenco and Vincent as Eddie Barclay. Shooting will begin shortly and will continue through April 22, 2016 in France, Italy and Morocco. The premiere date has been set for January 11, 2017.

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Here's another father-and-daughter photo from a November issue of Switzerland's L'illustré magazine. This is my favorite one of the bunch.

 

 

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