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Fadeout near for traveling 'Cinema Paradiso' in Portugal

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MONFORTE, PortugalShades of Oscar-winning classic “Cinema Paradiso” run through the life of Antonio Feliciano, a sprightly 75-year-old who fears he may be the last of Portugal’s traveling film projectionists.

“If I’m not the last one, I’m close,” Feliciano said. “This is a legacy that is going to end. When I’m gone, traveling cinema will be mentioned in articles, but only as a memory.”

After six decades traveling four million km (2.5 million miles) to screen 4,000 films in Portugal’s far-flung villages, Feliciano does not plan to retire just yet. But he is resigned to the fact that the Internet, digital TV and distribution monopolies have made his craft obsolete.

Like Toto, the boy who befriends projectionist Alfredo in the 1988 Italian hit film, Feliciano also started as a youngster, in the 1950s, helping a traveling projectionist announce the weekend’s bill on a loudspeaker in his village in rural Alentejo.

“The film bug”, as he calls it, grew and by his teens he was out on the road, helping screen films in music halls and bullfighting rings. That led to a career which even the need to earn a living as a bookkeeper did not interrupt, combining weeks in a Lisbon office with weekend screenings.

About 200 km from Lisbon, hilltop Monforte is a typical Alentejo village – picturesque, but sleepy, its population reduced to 3,000 by economic woes and emigration.

On a bright Sunday, however, the village livens up with Feliciano about to screen a film in honor of Domingos Pecas, a local projectionist who died in 2005 after 50 years in the business.


“Our entertainment was the traveling cinema, we didn’t have anything else, no TV, no radio, we were very poor,” resident Nazare Alfaia, 71, said.

“I don’t know how to read, so I can’t remember the names of the films, but they were adventures, cowboys and horses,” she added, surrounded by a collection of Feliciano’s old projectors and fading posters of Westerns and musicals.

Artemisio Pecas, the projectionist’s son, recalled that “before the film, they showed news, and it was at the cinema that people would see Lisbon, the colonies, even the sea, for the first time”.

Wearing a blue workcoat with the word “Cinema” printed on the back, Feliciano spends an hour setting up, at one point using a hammer to align the reel of a biopic of Amalia Rodrigues, diva of Portugal’s melancholic ‘fado’ music.

“This is a ride of unpredictable emotions, never easy. The sound must be good, the image clear, the equipment protected for travel. I’m like a trapeze artist without a net,” he said.

But he has no regrets: “Sometimes I feel like I ‘am’ cinema. At a screening, here’s the machine, the screen, the audience, all concentrated together, we laugh, cry together. And without me it doesn’t work. Thrilling.”

Feliciano looks younger than his years, his conversation peppered with anecdotes about his quasi-bohemian life.

His jovial expression sours only when he laments that he cannot find anyone to carry on the tradition.

“It’s a shame that this important cultural expression is lost, that when I die there will be no one left to go from village to village to show a film.”

(Editing by Axel Bugge, Michael Roddy and Andrew Heavens)

Source: R-HMovies


Gunnar Hansen, actor in 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' dies at age 68

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<span class="focusParagraph articleLocation”>Gunnar Hansen, who played the mentally disturbed masked killer in the chilling 1974 film “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” has died of pancreatic cancer at age 68, his agent said on Sunday.

Hansen’s character, Leatherface, “is one of the most iconic evil figures in the history of cinema,” the agent, Mike Eisenstadt, said in a statement. The character murders several people in a house and uses a chain saw on some of his victims in the low-budget horror film.

A native of Iceland, Hansen lived in Maine for the past 40 years, working mostly as a writer and actor, Eisenstadt said. Hansen is survived by his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower.

Hansen recently published a memoir, “Chain Saw Confidential,” giving readers what Eisenstadt called a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

Before he died, Hansen had started pre-production of a film called “Death House” that he created, wrote and produced, Eisenstadt said. It will be produced early next year in his memory, he said.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Source: R-HMovies


'Saturday Night Live' with Trump earns best ratings in years

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NEW YORKDonald Trump’s appearance as guest host of “Saturday Night Live” helped the TV comedy sketch show earn its highest viewership ratings since 2012, the NBC television network said on Sunday.

The show, which came under fire from Latino groups for inviting the blunt-spoken Republican presidential frontrunner to host, garnered a 6.6 rating in the 56 U.S. markets measured by Nielsen Media Research, NBC said in a statement.

The Trump show was the highest rating for SNL since Jan. 7, 2012, when an episode hosted by retired basketball star Charles Barkley pulled in a 7.0 rating, said the Comcast Corp.-owned network.

Saturday’s rating was about 50 percent higher than the season premiere on Oct. 3 when Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton made a cameo appearance, according to

Ratings are a measure of the audience as a percentage of all television households, whether their sets were turned on or not during the show’s time slot.

Trump’s appearance received an avalanche of advance publicity when Hispanic groups objected to NBC’s decision to invite the billionaire developer, saying it was legitimizing his “racist” views on immigration.

Even so, many critics say the SNL skits featuring Trump didn’t quite live up to all the hype.

“Viewers tuned in to see a joyless, nearly unfunny show, which ended in a curtain call with Mr. Trump and the cast that played like a hostage video,” wrote New York Times television critic James Poniewozik.

Before the show, Latino activists demonstrated outside NBC’s New York studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The former star of reality TV show “The Apprentice” outraged many Americans in June when he described Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug smugglers. While he made a crackdown on illegal immigration a main campaign theme, Trump has also said many of his employees are Hispanics and that they love him.

The show made reference to that controversy when comedian Larry David, in an obvious send-up, called out “Donald Trump is a racist!” to an apparently unfazed Trump. David then told the host that he was seeking a $5,000 bounty that a website called promised to pay for on-air heckling.

Trump told CNN on Sunday that he vetoed some of the more risque skits, and earlier in the week he told Fox News it was because he didn’t want to alienate voters in Iowa, home of the first event in the 2016 presidential nominating contest.

(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank McGurty and Mary Milliken)

Source: R-HMovies

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