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Berlin film 'Goat' shows sadistic cruelty of U.S. college rituals

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BERLIN The crew of a hard-hitting film about initiation rituals at U.S. college fraternities said they hoped the movie would break the code of silence that has kept such violent hazing practices veiled in secrecy for too long.

The film “Goat”, which is screening in the Panorama Section at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, is based on the memoir of Brad Land. It tells the story of two brothers, played by Nick Jonas and Ben Schnetzer, who get dragged into the brutal traditions of a college fraternity named Phi Sigma Mu.

The film shows the sadistic cruelty and humiliating violence of initiation rituals in which former victims often become the next perpetrators, cementing a certain code of conduct and concept of masculinity in these seemingly elite groups.

“I think it’s important for anyone going to college to see this film and have some perspective before diving into college culture,” Jonas told Reuters.

The actor said the film was a commentary about masculinity and some of the challenges that come when a group of young men are all fighting to be alpha in a closed environment.

Director and co-writer Andrew Neel said one reason for doing the movie was that hardly any feature films have been made on the subject so far.

For Neel, the film is much about male insecurity which stems from deeply rooted societal expectations all young men find themselves confronted with.

“I think men have some stuff to work out so I think the world might be a better place if we tried to start having a dialogue about masculinity and male coming of age,” Neel said.

He noted that it was hard to understand why young men would voluntarily expose themselves to such humiliating practices.

“Everyone knows it happens which is what’s so strange because kids are dying every year and being brutalised and there is no need for it to continue, really,” Neel noted.

“I hope that colleges will pay attention to the film, I do, because for some reason people know about it but don’t do anything about it.”

The film is co-produced by James Franco who also has a short scene in the movie as a highly respected alumnus of the student fraternity.

Jonas said shooting the movie was a special experience.

“This was about 25 days of extreme intensity and a beautiful story, a story that’s still hard to watch. But I think we got a really important message and I was thrilled to be part of it.”

(Writing by Michael Nienaber; editing by Susan Thomas)


Source: R-Entertainment

Don Cheadle says his Miles Davis film meant to show full legacy

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BERLIN Actor Don Cheadle said on Thursday that in his biopic of Miles Davis he chose to focus on the latter years of the great jazz trumpeter’s career because it was a way into the broader legacy of the man considered one of the alltime best jazz musicians.

Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead”, in which he plays Davis and which he also directed, was shown on the sidelines of the Berlin International Film Festival.

It focuses mainly on a period when Davis had not made a record for several years and was in dispute with his record company, Columbia, over having failed to live up to the terms of his contract.

“I felt like it would give me the opportunity to look at all of the decades, it would give me the opportunity to be expansive as opposed to reductive,” Cheadle told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

“You just start giving short shrift to all of the eras as opposed to putting the music front and centre and letting that music from any era and any decade push us through. So I think by focusing on the specific it gave me the ability to be very expressive and talk about any part of the film and any part in his library and his discography that I wanted to.”

Appearing in Berlin the same week that director Spike Lee was here to promote his film “Chi-Raq”, Cheadle said he generally agreed with Lee’s public criticism of the lack of diversity in the Hollywood Academy Award nominations for best actor this year, with not a single black among the candidates.

“I mean if you had asked if, you know, the industry was good for black people in the ’70s I’d say yes it was. And then it wasn’t again. And in around the mid-’80s it was and then it wasn’t again.”

“You know, these are pendulum swings and we revisit times when diversity is something that is a big issue and for awhile Asian, you know, Asians were represented in a way in studio films that were much more represented than they are now,” he added.

“So diversity is not just about black and white, it’s about the multiplicity of ethnicities and stories from all over the world.”

(Reporting by Swantje Stein; Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Susan Thomas)


Source: R-Entertainment

Adele 'cried all day' after shaky Grammy performance

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British superstar Adele said she cried all day after what was supposed to be a triumphant return to the Grammys stage turned into a shaky live performance in which she sang off-key.

“I was so embarrassed,” the “Someone Like You” singer told U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in an interview recorded on Wednesday and to be broadcast on Thursday.

“I cried pretty much all day yesterday,” said Adele, a six-time Grammy winner in 2012. “I don’t feel like it could go that much worse than the Grammys, though.”

Monday’s Grammy Awards marked the biggest appearance for the 27-year-old singer in four years. It followed the release in November of “25,” which broke U.S. sales records and quickly became the best-selling album of 2015 with worldwide sales of some 15 million. The November release made it ineligible for Grammy consideration on Monday.

Accompanied by just a piano on the Grammy stage in Los Angeles, she sang her new single “All I Ask.” But the performance was marred by technical issues when a microphone fell onto the piano’s strings, and she turned in an uncharacteristically shaky performance, hitting sharp and flat notes.

Adele told DeGeneres she heard immediately that the song was not going well and wished she had stopped and started again.

“Next time I have any sound issues, I am gonna stop. I’ll be like, sorry that’s not working for me. If we have time to do it again, let’s do it; otherwise, bye!,” she said.

She also acknowledged feeling more pressure now to perform well than a few years ago. “The more successful I get, the more pressure there is, really,” she said.

Adele starts a nine-month-long, sold-out European and North American tour on Feb. 29.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


Source: R-Entertainment

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