Cannes awards top Palme d’or prize to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite

Believe the hype. Gisaengchung (Parasite), the critically lauded drama from Snowpiercer and Okja director Bong Joon-ho, just won the coveted Palme d’or award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, barring Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood from the top honor.

The competition jury, led by Birdman‘s Alejandro González Iñárritu (a previous Cannes Best Director winner for Babel), announced the award winners on Saturday. Elle Fanning, Maimouna N’Diaye, Kelly Reichardt, Enki Bilal, Alice Rohrwacher, Robin Campillo, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Paweł Pawlikowski (last year’s Cannes Best Director winner for Cold War) also served on the jury.

According to Iñárritu, the decision to give the Palme d’or to Parasite was “unanimous.” Previous winners include Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters in 2018, Ruben Östlund’s The Square in 2017, and Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake in 2016.

The film follows Ki-woo, the eldest son of his down-on-their-luck family, who is introduced to the wealthy Park family for a potential well-paid tutoring job. The meeting leads to a collision of both families and an unexpected incident. In a statement from the director, Joon-ho asked critics to refrain from unveiling major spoilers for future audiences.

“For people of different circumstances to live together in the same space is not easy,” he said of Parasite. “It is increasingly the case in this sad world that humane relationships based on co-existence or symbiosis cannot hold, and one group is pushed into a parasitic relationship with another. In the midst of such a world, who can point their finger at a struggling family, locked in a fight for survival, and call them parasites? It’s not that they were parasites from the start. They are our neighbors, friends and colleagues, who have merely been pushed to the edge of a precipice. As a depiction of ordinary people who fall into an unavoidable commotion, this film is: a comedy without clowns, a tragedy without villains, all leading to a violent tangle and a headlong plunge down the stairs. You are all invited to this unstoppably fierce tragicomedy.”

Tarantino’s star-studded new film, meanwhile, didn’t win anything.

Emily Beecham won the Best Actress award for Little Joe, while Antonio Banderas won Best Actor for Pain & Glory. The Young Ahmed co-directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne won Best Director, and Best Screenplay went to Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

See the winners below.

Palme d’Or: Gisaengchung (Parasite), Bong Joon-ho

Grand Prix: Atlantique (Atlantics), Mati Diop

Best Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Le Jeune Ahmed (The Young Ahmed)

Jury Prize: Tie between Les Misérables (Ladj Ly) and Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles)

Best Actor: Antonio Banderas, Dolor y Gloria (Pain & Glory)

Best Actress: Emily Beecham, Little Joe

Best Screenplay: Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Céline Sciamma

Special Mention of the Jury: It Must Be Heaven, Elia Suleiman

Camera d’Or: Nuestras Madres (Our Mothers), César Díaz

Queer Palm (Feature): Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Céline Sciamma

Short Film Palme d’Or: “The Distance Between Us and the Sky,” Vasilis Kekatos

Special Distinction of the Jury: “Monstruo Dios” (“Monster God”), Agustina San

Queer Palm (Short): “The Distance Between Us and the Sky,” Vasilis Kekatos

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‘Hitler was the baddy, our chap was good’: The rise of neo-fascism in Europe’s ‘political laboratory’

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May 26, 2019 05:19:47

Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini is the namesake for two of the Italian peninsula’s most famous rulers.

Key points:

  • The great-grandson of Benito Mussolini is set to run for office in EU elections
  • Surge in far-right popularity as politicians use Mussolini to court far-right votes
  • Italy has become a vanguard for political experimentation

One is the ancient Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, the other is fascism’s ideological architect.

While laying no claim to Caesar’s lineage, he is the great-grandson of Benito Mussolini, who ruled Italy as a brutal dictator from 1925 until he was killed by partisans in the final days of World War II.

Today, Caio Mussolini is jostling for a seat in the European Parliament as a member of the far-right Brothers of Italy party.

He describes himself as “a post-fascist who refers to those values in a non-ideological way” and he’s asking Italians to “look forward”.

But in Italy, politics is imbued with history — was Caio Mussolini chosen to run for office because of his name, or in spite of it?

Benito Mussolini still looms large in Italian life — two of his granddaughters are already politicians.

Alessandra Mussolini is a prominent member of Parliament and her half-sister Rachele is a Rome councillor.

But now arguably the nation’s most powerful politician, the charismatic Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, is helping resurrect Mussolini’s image and ideology to court far-right voters.

Although Italian fascism inspired Adolf Hitler’s own violent brand of nationalism, and despite Italy’s disastrous entry into World War II, Mussolini’s legacy is polarising.

To an outsider that may be surprising, but for many Italians, Mussolini and fascism are not just palatable — experts say they’re fast becoming “fashionable”.

How then does a nation once left in complete ruin by a fascist dictatorship now find itself a vanguard for far-right populism in Western Europe?

Italy never had a ‘denazification’ of public life

Everywhere you look in Italy, you’re confronted by history.

Roman amphitheatres sit alongside renaissance cathedrals, medieval castles dot the countryside.

But no piece of history stands as jarring as the thousands of fascist-era buildings and monuments scattered across the peninsula, many still adorned with fascist insignia.

While the end of Nazism in Germany brought with it a process of vigorous self-examination, Italy never underwent a period of post-war introspection.

Tobias Jones is an Italy-based journalist and author of The Dark Heart of Italy, a book about the nation’s far-right politics.

“Italy never had, like Nazi Germany, a ‘denazification’ of public life,” he said.

“Instead of a process of education and reflection, everything was really swept under the carpet for 50 years.”

Barely a year after the war ended in 1946, Mussolini’s supporters skirted around anti-fascist laws and formed a new far-right party, the Italian Social Movement.

While it no longer exists, Caio Mussolini’s party, the Brothers of Italy, is its heir.

“Italians have a narrative whereby they say ‘Mussolini did lots of good things’,” Mr Jones said.

“They say ‘Hitler was the baddy, our chap was good’.”

Mussolini originally resisted Hitler’s anti-Semitism, labelling it a “German vice” — but eventually he acquiesced to the Nazis’ demand to hand over Italy’s Jews.

He also enforced a regime of terror and violence against political opponents over his two-decade rule.

“Italians forget they had 20 years of brutal dictatorship,” Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, told the ABC.

“Ignorance is helpful to the right … [Mussolini] promised Italians modernity but instead they lived in caves because of bombs. People don’t remember that.”

‘Salvini and Mussolini have much in common’

Anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic parties are riding a wave of anti-liberal sentiment across Europe and could hold as many as 35 per cent of seats in the EU’s Parliament after today.

At the helm of Europe’s lurch to the right is Italy’s energetic, social media savvy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, known to his followers as ‘the Captain’.

Mr Salvini markets himself as the antidote to Europe’s failed liberalism and is now the most powerful exponent of far-right populism on the continent.

In the space of only a couple of years, his Northern League Party has transformed from a northern secessionist party into an anti-immigrant, pan-European nationalist movement.

And while far from outright extolling the virtues of fascism, his seductive brand of far-right politics is tapping into Italy’s rich vein of Mussolini nostalgia.

“Salvini is very good at winking at hardcore fascists. He’ll put Mussolini slogans on Twitter and Facebook, he’ll wear clothing that’s identified with the far right,” Mr Jones said.

When earlier this month Mr Salvini addressed a crowd from a balcony where Mussolini once stood and watched the execution of four partisans in 1944, the symbolism was glaring.

“Salvini has been able to channel Mussolini and they have much in common,” Dr Ben-Ghiat said.

“[He] uses social media like Mussolini did newsreels, he builds emotional bonds at rallies … he neutralises his enemies through humour.”

‘There’s almost a sort of fascist hipster now’

For Mr Salvini and his reformed separatist party, Italy has no greater enemy than illegal immigration.

Europe’s 2015 migration crisis and Italy’s position as a key entry point have fuelled a wave of xenophobic angst only worsened by Mr Salvini’s anti-migrant rhetoric.

“The constant through Salvini’s political life has been finding scapegoats — where it used to be the poorer south, now it’s immigrants; where it used to be Rome, it’s now Brussels,” Mr Jones said.

Italy’s plethora of neo-fascist groups have been emboldened by Mr Salvini’s platform of ‘Italy for Italians’, a mantra with echoes of Mussolini’s nationalism.

So pervasive and normalised has fascist symbolism in Italy become, Mr Jones even suggests “it’s become very fashionable”.

“If you want to be radical, unorthodox, there’s almost sort of a hipster fascist now.”

“It’s not just political, it’s cultural … they have clothing lines, barbers, tattoo shops, parachute clubs, football clubs — there’s a whole sort of movement to it.”

‘Silvio Berlusconi brought fascism to power’

As a slew of far-right parties anticipate strong gains in the EU’s parliamentary elections, Europe’s centrist parties have been left wondering where it all went wrong.

Some point to Italy’s political crises of the 1990s as the genesis for the resurgence of European neo-fascism.

Prior to 1994, fascism had remained largely dormant in Italy as a political force.

But in the early 90s, political paralysis, endemic corruption and economic stagnation gave rise to a new force in Italian politics that still reverberates today.

Media magnate and three-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Forza Italia party emerged from the chaos to dominate Italian politics for the next two decades.

Mr Berlusconi formed a coalition that included far-right parties, paving the way for their revival in mainstream politics.

“Silvio Berlusconi is so important for the contemporary right all over Europe — he brought neo-fascism to power. Importantly, he broke a taboo of shunning fascism in mainstream politics,” Dr Ben-Ghiat said.

“I was living in Italy in 1994 as a student, I saw these figures on the far-right fringe soon sitting in parliament.”

‘Italy is constantly reinventing the political wheel’

It might be tempting to look at Italy as nothing more than a schismatic and dysfunctional state, but that may be naive.

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen last week described Italy as a “political laboratory” — it’s long been a pioneer in political experimentation.

Italy had Mussolini before Hitler — Mr Berlusconi’s brash, scandal-ridden tenure preceded Donald Trump’s America.

Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo formed the 5-Star political movement that now governs alongside Mr Salvini’s Northern League — all before Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won his country’s presidency.

And now, it’s pioneering European far-right populism.

As Mr Jones explains — “Italy is a country of extremes, of idealism as well as Machiavellian rule of politics”.

“That’s why it’s fascinating — it’s constantly reinventing the political wheel, for better or for worse.”

The ABC approached Mr Salvini for comment but he did not respond by publication time.

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How Mothra got lit for Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Director Michael Dougherty and production designer Scott Chambliss tweaked the look of all the outsized beasts featured in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (out May 31). But the pair decided that a close-to-complete overhaul was required when it came to Mothra, who first appeared in the Japanese 1961 movie which is named after the giant flying critter and over time has become one of the most beloved creatures in the Godzilla universe.

“In most of the iterations, Mothra was the least designed of the creatures,” says Chambliss. “She looked like a real moth that had been blown up a zillion times. We approached each of these monsters as specific characters, with their own innate characteristics that were manifested in their bodies. Mothra is traditionally seen as a female entity, and we wanted to give her that feminine presence and also grace, but of course insane strength and a fiercesomeness as well. Bringing those qualities out while remaining true to the idea of flying Mothra was interesting. We went through more iterations trying to discover what the fine details of that were than we did any of the others.”

Dougherty and Chambliss resolved to show the character’s inner light in a literal fashion.

“Mothra’s always been beautiful, from her very first film,” says Dougherty. “That’s always been how she sets herself apart from the other creatures. So, where the other creatures definitely instill a sense of fear and terror, Mothra brings a sense of awe and wonder and beauty. It was important to me that her new design pays tribute to what came before but I really wanted to introduce the concept that she’s bioluminescent. Mother Nature has gifted bioluminescence to a lot of different animals and I like the idea that Mothra really uses her bioluminescence to communicate, possibly even as a weapon.”

Watch the trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters above.

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German and Spanish Cup finals: Bayern and Barca target doubles

Post update

Barcelona 0-0 Valencia

Barcelona, no doubt a little rocked by that Valencia chance, go up the other end and win a corner.

Post update

Barcelona 0-0 Valencia

It’s started at a pretty steady pace. Valencia are playing fairly deep, which is understandable.

I’ll get my coat?

Barcelona v Valencia (20:00 BST)

Valencia boss Marcelino García Toral has not won any of his 20 outings in all competitions facing FC Barcelona (W0-D6-L14), as coach of Recreativo Huelva, Racing Santander, Real Zaragoza, Villarreal and Valencia.

He’s still not got over the defeat by L****pool

Barcelona v Valencia (20:00 BST)

Just do not mention “that Anfield team” to Lionel Messi or he’ll go off on one.

On Friday, after four years of not attending a news conference, the Argentine maestro did.

The topic of the Champions League semi-final second leg cropped up – unsurprisingly – and all that pent-up disappointment came out.

He said: “We have to apologise for the second half of the match at Liverpool [when they conceded three goals in the 4-3 aggregate loss] not because of the result, but because of how it looked and that we didn’t compete. It was one of the worst experiences in my career.”

Winning the Copa should provide some consolation for the lad. Maybe.

And he also did win the European Golden Shoe on Friday.

Copyright: Getty Images

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson: British heptathlete leads Gotzis Hypo-Meeting after day one

Katarina Johnson-Thompson has claimed two of her personal bests in Gotzis – for the 100m hurdles in 2017 and the 200m in 2016

Katarina Johnson-Thompson finished day one top of the heptathlon standings at the Gotzis Hypo-Meeting in Austria.

The Briton, 26, went into the lead after going highest in the high jump before claiming the quickest 200m time.

She has 4,034 points, ahead of the USA’s Kendell Williams (3,857) and Erica Bougard (3,809).

Niamh Emerson had to withdraw after two events after aggravating a knee injury while fellow Briton Tim Duckworth is sixth in the decathlon.

The annual event traditionally attracts many of the world’s best multi-eventers and Johnson-Thompson was sixth fastest in the 100m hurdles with 13.29secs.

She then jumped 1.95m in the high jump – just three centimetres off her personal best – before registering 12.95m in the shot put and running 23.21secs in the 200m, with Bougard next best in 23.65.

Emerson, 20, had the joint-second highest mark for the high jump with 1.83m but in the process suffered a recurrence of her knee problem. She was sixth overall after two events.

In the decathlon, Duckworth ran 10.61secs in the 100m before claiming the best mark of 7.72m in the long jump, putting him second overall.

But 12.80m in the shot put saw the American-born 22-year-old slip to sixth after three events on 2,594 points, with Canada’s Damian Warner (2,854) top of the standings ahead of Grenada’s Commonwealth champion Lindon Victor (2,731).

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A.P. Bio canceled after two seasons at NBC

School is out… indefinitely.

NBC canceled the Glenn Howerton-led comedy A.P. Bio after two seasons, the show’s creator, Mike O’Brien, revealed late Friday night in a thread on Twitter.

“I’m intensely sad to announce that AP Bio will be ending after this season,” he wrote. “This has been my favorite project of my life and that’s because of the amazing writers, cast and crew. As most canceled shows probably feel, I think we were just hitting our stride and everyone was still loving the work, so this is very hard. We have 4 left to air and they’re 4 of my favorites.”

Directing his followers to the NBC app and Hulu, where the other episodes are available to watch, O’Brien added, “Please check them out and tell a friend about the show and tell the people who worked on it that they did a good job!”

A.P. Bio stars Howerton as Jack Griffin, a disgraced Harvard philosophy instructor who’s forced to return to Toledo, Ohio and teach Advanced Placement Biology at Whitlock High School. Patton Oswalt, Aparna Brielle, Mary Sohn, Lyric Lewis, Jean Villepique, Jacob McCarthy, Paula Pell, and Tom Bennett also star.

Seth Meyers, Mike Shoemaker, Andrew Singer, and Lorne Michaels serve as executive producers with O’Brien.

“For the record, it does really well online. Really really well,” Shoemaker tweeted of A.P. Bio. “It has faithful viewers that just don’t watch TV the old way. BECAUSE IT’S 2019.”

“I am so unbelievably grateful to have had the opportunity to play with all of the incredible people who worked tirelessly to make this show happen both behind and in front of the camera,” Brielle wrote in a statement on Instagram. “we’ve been so lucky and blessed to have the special bonds we do… and we’ve become a family. that means all of you are stuck with me for life.”

Pell, who also serves as a writer on A.P. Bio, said the cancellation “hurts.”

“@NBCAPBio was a true gift dropped in my lap,” Pell tweeted. “I adored playing Helen and spending my days with this glorious cast, head to toe. You made me laugh even on days I didn’t want to. Apparently NBC is replacing @NBCAPBio with a new show that’s generating a lot of buzz. Military meets comedy. ‘Major Diarrhea’ premiering this fall.”

“This has… not been a great day,” Oswalt added.

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