Archive for May, 2017

Musicians from the Manchester Camerata and Happy Mondays singer Rowetta joined Andrew Marr to pay tribute to the victims of Monday’s bombing in Manchester.

The musicians performed “You got the love” ahead of a concert in support of the victims’ families, to be held at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on the first of June.

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DC Cosplay Bunnies at Comic ConImage copyright

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Fans dressed as their favourite characters at London Comic Con this weekend

Scratch below the surface at Comic Con and you might be surprised to find thousands of young women who go because they find it empowering.

It might have a reputation for attracting nerds and geeks, but as one female fan put it: “You feel very accepted, and you get to be whoever you want for a day – it’s really special.”

Here are some of the female voices from this year’s fan convention in London.

Samantha Prosper – as Emily from the film The Corpse Bride

“I love the movie and the character. She’s passionate and kind so I was inspired to be like her.

“I love the atmosphere here – it’s really good for young women because it’s non-judgmental.

“Any person of any shape or colour can come and feel absolutely welcome – it’s so kind and friendly that nobody feels out of place. You can come as anyone you want and be absolutely fine.”

Sophie Skye and Eliza – as Maleficent from the film

Sophie: “I’m playing Maleficent, the Angelina Jolie version. I love cosplay because it gives you the chance to play someone else for a day. It’s escapism, pure fantasy.

“You can be covered or wear the smallest of clothes, it’s a very respectful environment where you can express yourself. There’s a lot of amazing female characters in the comic, anime and film world, so there’s a lot of inspiration.”

Eliza: “I love young Maleficent because her wings are ginormous and she can fly very fast and she’s cool. My dad made my wings and I bought my necklace here.

“I love the different types of costumes here, they’re all related to comics.”

Phoebe and Martha – as Fionna from TV animation Adventure Time and Harley Quinn from the film Suicide Squad

Phoebe: “I love reading comics and watching animations and films. I came as Fionna because she’s really strong and powerful – she once rescued a prince.

“I came here last year as well, and one of the best bits was meeting comic book artists like Jess Bradley.”

Martha: “I saw the movie Suicide Squad and loved Harley Quinn because she’s cool and sassy so I decided to dress like her. I really like seeing so many people dressed up here.”

Grace Ford – as Blue Diamond from TV animation Steven Universe

“I’ve been coming for about six years. I love dressing up – you can escape reality and it’s just a bit of fun really. I fell in love with Blue Diamond’s look and design and thought, ‘Why not go for it?’

“I won’t lie, I was a bit worried about coming here after the Manchester attack but it’s good the police are here. It gives reassurance.”

Comic book artist and illustrator Jess Bradley

“Me and my husband love doing comic conventions because it gets your work out to a wider audience and the atmosphere’s fantastic.

“I’ve been doing it for about 10 years and you get so much positive feedback. It’s just so much fun.

“I draw comic strips and write and illustrate children’s books and colouring books. I tend to focus a lot on self-publishing because you have complete control over what you do.”

Vivian Park – as a character from horror thriller film The Purge

“My costume is inspired by The Purge – there’s something dystopian about it and I’m really inspired by it. I bought my mask from the masquerade in Venice.

“I love Comic Con because everybody comes together and we all have something in common, no matter where we’re from.

“It’s a place where you feel very accepted and you get to be whoever you want for a day – it’s really special.”

Katie Berry and Kelly Peach as Mercy and D.Va from online game Overwatch

Katie: “I’m here because I’m a really big comics fan and you don’t really get this atmosphere anywhere else.

“I made my costume – it took about a month for the breastplate and then about a month for the rest – it’s made of Perspex.”

Kelly: “I’ve been coming for five or six years and it’s always the same people and there’s such a community feeling – everyone’s into the same things, everyone wants to celebrate all these interests that they wouldn’t get to explore in their day-to-day lives. Dressing up is part of the fun.”

Emily Hopkins – as Jillian Holtzmann from the Ghostbusters remake

“I’m here because I love everything about it. My confidence is boosted being around people who are carefree and appreciate the same things.

“It’s helped me feel less worried about the stuff that I like – it’s not nerdy, it’s great! Everyone’s so different, I just love it. I can escape and get creative.

“I came as a Ghostbuster because it’s about time there were more female-centric films and I think the hate the movie got was completely unnecessary, and the majority came from people who couldn’t be be bothered to see it and give it a chance.”

Comic book illustrator Karen Rubins

“I’m here to sell my comics and prints and meet people who like my work.

“I work for a comic called The Phoenix with a strip called The Shivers by Dan Hartwell, and our characters include girl heroes solving mysteries and standing up to supernatural threats.

“In the comic village here at Comic Con there’s at least 50% female artists and it’s a great space to work, it’s really inclusive and there’s loads of different comics you can discover.”

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Manchester drum and bass producer Marcus Intalex has died.

He’d been due to play a set at the Soul:ution party at London’s Pickle Factory but the club posted a message on Facebook saying it was cancelled.

Friends of the Burnley DJ, whose real name was Marcus Kaye, have been paying tribute to him on Twitter.

Chase Status said on Twitter: “RIP Marcus Intalex. Such devastating news, another legend, one of Manchester’s greats taken too early.”

Marcus Intalex

A statement posted on his record label’s Facebook page confirmed the news of his death.

It says: “It’s with heavy hearts and great sadness we have announce that Marcus passed away this morning.

“Thanks for the kind words so far and we appreciate the privacy and respect shown for his loved ones and friends at this sad time.”

A number of Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJs have been paying their own tributes.

It’s unclear how Marcus died. His death is trending on Twitter.

He released drum and bass via Metalheadz and Exit Records as well as his own Soul:r label.

As Trevino, he dropped house and techno tracks from 2011 with labels like Aus Music, The Nothing Special and Klockworks.

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The cast of You Were Never Really HereImage copyright

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A red carpet photocall – a regular sight in Cannes

With the prizes given out, the bags packed and the hangovers kicking in, the 70th Cannes Film Festival has drawn to a close.

This year’s top prize went to surprise winner The Square, a Swedish film about the sometimes bonkers art world and how we can best help others.

Cannes has seen dozens of film premieres and parties, and red carpet appearances from the likes of Rihanna, Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

Here are some of the highlights and talking points from the past 12 days.

It can get emotional

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Kirsten Dunst was overwhelmed as she appeared on the red carpet

The lack of sleep, the pressure, the importance of the occasion – who can blame festivalgoers for showing a bit of emotion?

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house during the press conference for Wonderstruck when the child actors said how much they’d learned from their adult co-stars – and vice versa. There may have been a few tears wiped away during the film’s premiere itself too.

Then there was the reaction to Dustin Hoffman‘s performance in Noah Baumbach‘s The Meyerowitz Stories, which left both the actor and director weeping – and a fair proportion of the audience too. Some are tipping Hoffman for Oscars success for the role as a cantankerous patriarch at the centre of a dysfunctional New York family.

Kirsten Dunst burst into tears on the red carpet for the premiere of The Beguiled – but the smiling reaction of director Sofia Coppola and Elle Fanning, who also appears in the Civil War-era drama, shows they were tears of happiness.

There was laughter as well as tears

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Noah Baumbach, Emma Thompson and Ben Stiller had fun in Cannes

Will Smith provided the laughs at the jury press conference on the opening day of Cannes, heckling the audience, whooping with delight and even making a Fresh Prince of Bel Air reference.

Then Emma Thompson was also in a great mood when promoting The Meyerowitz Stories – and was later seen laughing and dancing, high heels in her hand, at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association party for the International Rescue Committee.

And director Yorgos Lanthimos told the cast of his dark, intense thriller The Killing of the Sacred Deer it was a comedy. But Colin Farrell laughed at this suggestion, saying Lanthimos, the man behind surreal romantic drama The Lobster, is “messed up”.

And now for the unofficial awards…

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The Square actor Terry Notary reprised his performance as an ape-man on the red carpet, watched by co-stars including Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West

  • Most shocking scene: When performance art being staged for paying guests’ entertainment at a gala dinner pushes the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in The Square, as a man playing an ape makes things at first awkward and then horrifying
  • Most incongruous use of a song in a film: When the strains of Annie’s Song are heard as a giant pig runs amok in a shopping centre in Okja, all you can do is laugh
  • Best/most creepy use of social media: The opening scenes to Michael Haneke’s Happy End, in which an unseen character documents a woman’s bedtime routine on a mobile phone – and later in the film, when the same phone records the demise of a hamster
  • Most honest confession: Ben Stiller admitting he didn’t know how to pronounce The Meyerowitz Stories either
  • Most unlikely collaboration: Elisabeth Moss and Gwendoline Christie joking as they chatted before an interview that they’d like to develop a shoe range – and then they insisted holding hands throughout
  • The ‘It Should Have Won The Palme d’Or’ prize: A tie between The Florida Project, starring Willem Dafoe, and Wind River, with Jeremy Renner and Elisabeth Olsen, both of which had critics scratching their heads as to why they weren’t in the official competition

People will do anything to get into screenings

Film fans, sometimes in tuxedos, holding signs asking for tickets for the day’s films is a common sight along the Croisette, Cannes’ main boulevard.

Some got lucky – if someone had a spare ticket, it was preferable to give it away rather than get black-marked for the invitation not being taken up. Bonus points for those who at least made an effort with their appearance or made an amusing sign.

It’s a 24-7 festival

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Getty Images

Starting queuing for an 8.30am screening at 7.30am, not coming out of a 10pm screening until half past midnight… and then there are the beachfront parties that make partying seem like an Olympic sport, with one festivalgoer boasting she was planning to go to eight in one night.

Caffeine does count as a food group, right?

Read more from Cannes:

  • The Square wins the top prize
  • The critics’ verdicts on this year’s films
  • Huppert says ‘so much to do’ for equality
  • Netflix film stopped after technical glitch
  • Kidman: ‘We need to support female directors’

Some of the most popular things screened weren’t films

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Is Elisabeth Moss (centre, with Gwendoline Christie and Nicole Kidman) dreaming up ideas for a shoe range?

The presence of virtual reality is getting bigger and bigger each year. The most high-profile example this year was Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s installation Carne y Arena, a 20-minute shuttle ride away that required viewers to go into a hangar one by one.

And Eric Darnell, who co-wrote and co-directed Madagascar, brought his latest project Rainbow Crow – starring the voice of John Legend – to the festival.

The spotlight also turned to television, with new series of Top of the Lake and Twin Peaks debuting at the festival, which usually only celebrates the big screen. Some even said Jane Campion‘s crime drama Top of the Lake, which was shown in its six-hour entirety, was one of their festival highlights.

Film-makers love books

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Amazon Studios

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Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael in Wonderstruck

Six of the 19 films in competition at Cannes were taken from books – ranging from Wonderstruck, based on Brian Selznick’s half-illustrated young adult fiction book of the same name, to Joyce Carol Oates’ Double Delight, which was turned into steamy L’amant Double.

Cannes audiences are vocal

You have to feel for the film-makers bringing their babies, months and years in the making, into the merciless arena of Cannes. If an audience at Cannes likes something, they want you to know about it. And if they don’t, there’s no way you can escape their displeasure.

We had boos during opening credits – for the Amazon logo at the beginning of Wonderstruck, and more loudly, for the Netflix logo ahead of its two films in competition.

But applause greeted many of the other films, and Robert Pattinson was lucky enough to get a six-minute standing ovation at the end of the premiere for Good Time.

Solidarity with Manchester

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Getty Images

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Festival representatives gather for a minute’s silence

Terrorism was a shadow lingering over the festival well before news of the Manchester attack made its way to the festival, with heightened security involving scans, multiple ID checks and bag searches. This is near Nice after all, the site of the lorry attack last year.

The attack that left 22 dead after an Ariana Grande concert meant there was a sombre atmosphere across the Cannes site. There was also a sense of solidarity, with foreign journalists giving heartfelt sympathies and people from around the world joining in a minute’s silence. The red carpet, the scene of flashbulbs and photographers’ shouts, was still as the Cannes president and French actress Isabelle Huppert were among those who took to the steps of the Palais – the hub of the festival – in a show of sympathy.

The festival said it was an attack “on culture, youth and joyfulness, on our freedom, generosity and tolerance, all things that the festival and those who make it possible – the artists, professionals and spectators – hold dear”.

And in a nod to the work of those protecting the festival, this year’s Palme Dog award – the tongue-in-cheek prize given to the best dog at the festival – went to three security dogs, to represent the sniffer dogs around the world saving lives every day.

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Media captionJohn Noakes and his famous encounter with an elephant on Blue Peter

Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes, who hosted the show in the 1960s and 1970s, has died aged 83.

Noakes was the BBC children’s show’s longest-serving presenter, appearing for more than 12 years, and was often seen with his dog Shep by his side.

He was also known for his daredevil stunts like climbing Nelson’s Column and jumping out of planes – and for his famous encounter with a baby elephant.

A family statement said he had “endured and suffered from” Alzheimer’s disease.

“Whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing,” it said.

“His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories. That is how his family would like him remembered.”

  • John Noakes: The action man of Blue Peter
  • In pictures: John Noakes and his pets, stunts and co-presenters

Noakes joined the show at the end of 1965 after training as an engine fitter for the RAF, and stayed until 1978.

He became a favourite as the show’s action man, and continued to play on that image with several series of Go With Noakes, where he travelled around the UK with Shep alongside him.

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John Noakes pictured in 1966, a year after his arrival on the show

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Shep, an enthusiastic border collie, became Noakes’ faithful companion

That led to his catchphrase “Get down Shep!” – which even became the title of a song by comedy group The Barron Knights.

Noakes appeared on Blue Peter with co-presenters including Christopher Trace, Valerie Singleton, Lesley Judd and Peter Purves.

Purves told BBC News that Noakes’s death was “very sad” but added that the Alzheimer’s had become “extremely serious” in recent years.

Media captionFormer Blue Peter co-presenter Peter Purves tells World at One John Noakes “was incredibly brave”

Remembering his friend, he said: “He was unique. He had qualities that no-one else had and he’ll be remembered very fondly by a lot of people, and none more so than me.”

He was “very, very brave” in doing his many stunts and adventures, Purves added.

“We had so much fun together over the years. There were hundreds and hundreds of happy memories. I’ll never forget him.”

John Noakes’s most memorable TV moments

THAT elephant: Noakes revelled in the merry chaos that erupted when a frightened baby elephant called Lulu misbehaved in the studio. He cried “ooh, get off me foot!” as he tried to get hold of Lulu – and the rest is British TV history.

Bobsleigh bruises: When he shot down the Cresta Run in Switzerland, the camera travelling with him, viewers saw him crash out at high speed. They also saw him lower his trousers to show the bruises on his thigh afterwards.

Flying high: With the help of the RAF, Noakes jumped out of a plane in 1973 to became the first civilian in Europe to freefall from a height of five miles.

Media captionFormer Blue Peter presenter John Noakes climbs Nelson’s Column

Nelson’s Column: In a task that would never pass a modern risk assessment, Noakes scaled a series of ladders to reach the top of Nelson’s Column in 1977, telling viewers he was “literally hanging from ladder with nothing at all beneath me”.

Shep’s death: Nine years after he left Blue Peter, an emotional Noakes returned to the BBC on a programme called Fax, presented by Bill Oddie, to break some “very bad news”. Fighting back tears, he informed the nation that Shep had died.

Other previous Blue Peter hosts added their tributes.

Janet Ellis, a presenter from the 1980s, wrote: “The best, bravest, funniest BP presenter. If we didn’t walk in John Noakes’ shadow it’s because he shone the light for us. RIP”.

Konnie Huq, who appeared in the 1990s and 2000s, wrote on Twitter that he was “a legend”, adding: “John Noakes. Best Blue Peter presenter ever. RIP. So sad.”

Sarah Greene added: “Deepest condolences to the family of John Noakes. He made us feel we could all get out there whizz down the Cresta Run, he broke the bounds.”

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John Noakes (right) with former Blue Peter co-presenters Peter Purves and Val Singleton in 2000

Zoe Salmon, who fronted the show between 2004 and 2008, tweeted: “I am deeply saddened to hear about John Noakes, a Blue Peter legend who will live on in our hearts. Privileged to have met him.”

Katy Hill wrote: “SADDEST news about the legendary John Noakes who inspired me to want to present Blue Peter do EVERYTHING he did. THE BEST!”

BBC director general Tony Hall described Noakes as “one of the BBC’s most loved children’s presenters”.

In a statement, he said: “He was a warm and engaging presenter who appealed to all ages and provided children’s TV with some of its most memorable moments. He will be missed by his many friends and family.”

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A minute’s silence took place at Radio 1′s Big Weekend in Hull in honour of those killed and injured in the Manchester attack.

Fans marked the moment at 3pm with the music stopping on all three stages, followed by cheering for the city.

Katy Perry headlined Saturday night and dedicated Part of Me to Manchester.

Radio 1 Breakfast Show presenter Nick Grimshaw said the festival, at Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire, was a “community of music lovers”.

He added that everyone had been thinking about Manchester all week feeling “completely heartbroken”.

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This is the moment 25,000 people fell silent.

Security has been ramped up at transport hubs around Hull and at entrances to the festival site.

Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper says every bag will be searched and every person checked twice across the weekend.

“What happened in Manchester has absolutely been at the forefront of our minds in making sure that we are utterly determined to provide a safe and secure environment for people to enjoy themselves,” he told Newsbeat.

There are armed police, sniffer dogs and airport-style scanners at entry points to the site.

Police at Big Weekend, Hull

The two-day event will also see performances from Stormzy, Little Mix, Kasabian, Kings of Leon and Bastille.

“I don’t have any concerns because of the experts that we’ve been consulting with,” he said.

“They are the best in the country and the most informed in the country.”

He added that the extra support will allow “50,000 people will come together and show that they are not afraid”.

Kasabian, who played on the main stage, said the crowd lifted their set after recent events.

Sergio Pizzorno

Sergio Pizzorno said: “It’s so nice that this happened in the wake of what happened on Monday just positivity and togetherness just fantastic.

“For anyone who came today, we can’t thank them enough.”

Lead singer Tom Meighan added: “It’s about togetherness and everyone loving each other a bit more.

Tom Meighan

“Music brings people together and that is great in light of what happened.”

Former X Factor winner James Arthur is among many other artists to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena bombing.

“I was sort of in two minds as to whether to dedicate my song Safe Inside.

“In hindsight I dedicate that performance to those who lost their lives in Manchester.”

James Arthur

“I have got four sisters, two sisters that are very young. My heart goes out to all the people who have sisters, children or who lost somebody that day.

“It’s a tragedy and it has been so depressing the last couple of days but we must stay united and be strong as a nation and try and move forward.”

Emeli Sande says the attack’s “been really on [her] mind”.

“I was eight years old when I went to my first concert in Aberdeen – it was [90s RB group] Eternal and I remember how excited I was.

Emeli Sande

“To think that girls were going [to Ariana's gig] and that happened just makes me so angry.

“Music should be the one place we feel safe to come together.

“It’s really made me appreciate the responsibility we have as artists to come and uplift people.”

Zara Larsson was first up on the main stage on Saturday.

“Music unites us all,” she told fans.

Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons went into the crowd at the beginning of It’s Time, their first song.

“It was just in our hearts and minds and I think it needed to be addressed before we started,” he told Newsbeat.

Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons

“What we’re all here for is the music and to not be fearful and to come together in love and peace.

“That’s powerful and important to show – especially now that no-one will stop music and no-one will put fear into our hearts.”

There was a massive cheer from the crowd when JP Cooper dedicated his new song Passport Home to his hometown, Manchester.

“Manchester has definitely raised me, so that was a big outpouring of my heart towards everybody there.

“If it wasn’t for Manchester I wouldn’t have got into music. Genuinely. If I wasn’t a kid growing up in Manchester in the 90s I probably never would’ve discovered my love for music, so I’ve got a lot to give back.

JP Cooper

“The first show I ever went to was Oasis at the G-Mex [now called Manchester Central] in 1997.

“Every kid had a guitar in their house around that time, so that gave me the opportunity. I didn’t come from a privileged background, but there was cheap guitars lying around and it rained a lot, so we stayed in and wrote songs.”

JP played his first gig since the Manchester attack in London on Thursday. He says it was important to go ahead with it.

“Of course we’re shaken by this [attack] but everybody has to continue.

“It was a difficult show, but it was a healing for me. It was an outpouring of so much love from me to the crowd and from the crowd to me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.”

Reading band The Amazons opened the Where It Begins stage.

Drummer Joe Emmett, says they have to continue performing live despite Monday’s attack in Manchester.

“We’ve been impressed by the security that they have put in today.

“You’ve got to respect what happened but we’ve also got to do what we can and we’ve got to keep on bringing music and culture which is part of our identity as Brits.”

Watch full sets, highlights and see exclusive photos here.

Big Weekend promo

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Dominic West and Terry Notary in The SquareImage copyright
Magnolia Pictures

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Dominic West has an encounter with Terry Notary, playing a performance artist, in The Square

Art world satire The Square, directed by Ruben Ostlund, has won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Swedish title was one of 19 films competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or, in the 70th year of the festival on the French Riviera.

Prizes also went to British filmmaker Lynne Ramsay and director Sofia Coppola.

But juror Jessica Chastain said she was shocked at the way many of the films she saw at Cannes portrayed women.

Chastain, star of The Help said it was “disturbing” to see the way women were depicted on screen, saying: “The one thing I really took away from this experience was how the world views women. There are some exceptions, but for the most part I was surprised with the representation of female characters on the screen in these films.

“I hope when we include more female story-tellers we will have more of the women that I recognise in my day-to-day life, ones that are proactive, have their own agency and don’t just react to the men around them – they have their own point of view.”

Toni Erdmann director Maren Ade, who also sat on the jury, agreed more female directors were needed, adding: “We’re missing a lot of stories they might tell.”

Cannes: The winners

Palme d’Or: The Square

Grand Prix: BPM (Beats per Minute)

Jury prize: Andrey Zvyagintsev, Loveless

70th anniversary award: Nicole Kidman

Best director: Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled

Best actress: Diane Kruger, In the Fade

Best actor: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

Best screenplay: Joint winners Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here

Camera d’Or (best debut film): Leonor Serraille, Jeune Femme

Short film prize: A Gentle Night, Qiu Yang

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who chaired the jury, said the winning film was a rich and “completely contemporary” tale about “the dictatorship of being politically correct”.

The director of Julieta and All About My Mother said the festival was “the birth of a lot of wonderful movies” and that he had been “completely mesmerised” by some of the films in competition.

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Left to right: Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Ruben Ostlund, Dominic West and Terry Notary

But he appeared emotional when discussing how much he had loved Grand Prix winner BPM, which tells the story of activist group Act Up and the lack of government support for Aids sufferers in the 1990s.

“They are real heroes who saved many lives,” he said, his voice breaking.

BPM had been a favourite to win the Palme d’Or, alongside bleak Russian family drama Loveless and heist thriller Good Time, with The Square an outsider.

Jury members also included Men in Black star Will Smith, South Korean director Park Chan-wook, Chinese star Fan Bingbing, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, French actress and writer Agnes Jaoui and composer Gabriel Yared.

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Focus Features

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Nicole Kidman stars in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled

British filmmaker Lynne Ramsay was the joint winner of best screenplay for You Were Never Really Here, for which Joaquin Phoenix was named best actor. It tells the story of a private contractor sent to rescue a young girl from a paedophile ring, and Ramsay said it had been a “labour of love”, and that “to be recognised for the writing is great”.

The best director award went to Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled, a drama about an injured soldier taken in by a girls’ boarding school during the American Civil War – only the second time the prize has gone to a woman.

It stars Nicole Kidman as the headmistress and the Australian actress was given a 70th anniversary award to mark the fact she had three films and one TV series shown at this year’s festival.

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Amazon Studios

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Joaquin Phoenix stars in You Were Never Really Here

The Square stars Claes Bang with British actor Dominic West and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss in supporting roles. While it received good reviews, it was not tipped to win the main prize.

After winning, Ostlund said: “I think my first reaction was ‘oh my God, how fantastic’. I mean I hugged the main actor that I’ve been working with almost for two years now. We have been struggling together and it was a very, very happy ending of that work of course.”

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Ruben Ostlund punched the air as he posed with his prize

The Square focuses on Bang’s character Christian as the gallery he runs prepares for a new exhibition in the gallery’s courtyard in which members of the public can stand and ask for help. Meanwhile, his private life starts to unravel after he is mugged and seeks the return of his belongings in an unorthodox way.

It received four stars from the Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Collin, who said that while it is a “slow burn”, it has a “cumulative force that can’t be resisted”, while Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian gave it the same score, calling it “thrillingly weird”.

The Swedish director was previously best known for Force Majeure, about a family ski trip rocked by a father’s selfish reaction to an avalanche.

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Brodie ArthurImage copyright
Gareth Jones

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Brodie Arthur will take the spirit of Sgt Pepper to terraced houses in Toxteth

It is (almost) 50 years ago today that The Beatles released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Liverpool is celebrating the landmark album’s anniversary with a festival – and one event is taking it particularly close to home for locals.

When actress Brodie Arthur was asked to take part in Liverpool’s official Sgt Pepper anniversary celebrations, she first needed to do some quick research.

“When they said ‘Sgt Pepper,’ I said, ‘Oh no, I’ll have to Google it because I don’t know any of the songs on the album,’” the 25-year-old says.

“When I listened, I knew a couple of them, but I wouldn’t necessarily have associated them with the album. I remember the cover and what it looks like, but I’ve never really been familiar with it.”

Now more familiar, Arthur is the star of a play inspired by track six, She’s Leaving Home.

Listening to it afresh as someone half the age of the album itself, the stirring ballad still “hits you in the feelers”, she says.

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The Beatles were at the height of their powers when the album was released on 1 June 1967

The play is one of a number of events taking place in the Fab Four’s home city for the anniversary.

Each song has inspired a different performance or artwork.

But none is what you might expect – there are no tribute gigs or homages to the LP’s iconic cover.

  • More details: Sgt Pepper reimagined for anniversary

For She’s Leaving Home, Liverpool-based theatre company 20 Stories High asked young people about their home lives and their reactions to the song, which was written about a girl who walks out because she feels trapped by her parents – who say they have “sacrificed most of our lives” for her.

Performances will take place for audiences of just 10 people in the front rooms of terraced houses in the Toxteth area, meaning the play is more closely rooted in the city than any of the other anniversary events.

Arthur, who’s from Toxteth and is a former member of 20 Stories High’s youth theatre, says she can relate to the song.

Bringing the song up to date

“Even though it was 1967, it does feel like that [now], and it hit me because when I left home my mum was a bit like that – ‘I’ve sacrificed my whole life,’ and all the rest of it.

“I was just looking at it like, ‘I’m 18 and I want to move out and why are you being so horrible?’

“But now when I look back and after listening to the song, I thought, ‘Oh bless her, she must have been an absolute emotional wreck and I was just packing my bags and leaving her.’”

Playwright Keith Saha says he didn’t just want to retell the song’s original story.

“We wanted to think, what is it like in 2017? What decisions do young people have to make now when they leave home?”

For the intimate performance, Brodie delivers her monologues from the sofa, occasionally heading upstairs or out of the front door to shout at unseen characters while audience members watch from other sofas and stools.

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Gareth Jones

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Audience members will watch Brodie Arthur from the comfort of their, or someone else’s, home

Her teenage character must make her way in the world while supporting her mum and two siblings, and we also hear about friends and their housing problems.

Many of the stories in the play come from the members of the youth theatre who shared their experiences before the script was written.

According to Saha and director Julia Samuels, they included a young pregnant woman who wasn’t prioritised for council housing until her baby had been born; those having problems with private landlords; young carers; parents who sacrificed things for their children; and children who sacrificed things for their parents.

The results hit home, Arthur affirms. “I was on Facetime with my boyfriend and I was going through the script, and him and his mum were going, ‘Mate, how relevant is that? It couldn’t be any more bang on.’

“My mate came round yesterday and I only went through the first eight pages and she was like, ‘Girl, I can’t wait to see this, I literally feel like this is me and you years ago.’

“It’s real, isn’t it? Or it feels it.”

Ringo’s house ‘too small’

First, 15 public performances will take place in a house in the Granby area, half a mile from the house where Ringo Starr grew up.

“We did think about doing it in there,” says Samuels. “But it was a bit small.”

After that, the play will go on a micro-tour of Liverpool 8 (the postcode area that lent its name to Starr’s 2008 album), with another 15 performances in 15 homes.

The householders all applied to host Arthur and her performance, and can invite family, neighbours and friends to watch.

It really is close to home for Arthur – her auntie lives three doors down from the house that is hosting the first 15 performances, and a cousin lives over the road.

Familiar faces

“So this is where I’m from, this is all I’ve ever known.”

This means she could see lots of familiar faces gazing from the sofas and stools around her.

“Obviously I’m nervous to see how many people I actually know whose houses we’re going in to. But I think it just gives an extra bit of passion because some of the issues that are raised are actual issues.”

Fifty years on, Sgt Pepper is still speaking to the people of Liverpool.

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People evacuating the Old Vic TheatreImage copyright
Thomas Coxhead

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Theatregoers were told to leave the venue after a security alert

Star Wars actor John Boyega was among hundreds of people forced to evacuate the Old Vic theatre in central London due to a bomb threat.

The venue near Waterloo was evacuated along with nearby pubs and restaurants after the security alert was raised.

On social media, theatregoers said they and the cast had been moved to the nearby Imperial War Museum gardens.

Police said the incident was now over. Boyega is playing the lead role in the play Woyzeck at the theatre.

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Actor John Boyega is starring in a production of Woyzeck at the Old Vic theatre

The Old Vic had earlier tweeted: “We have been evacuated as a precaution; audience safety is our priority. We are liaising with the Met Police.”

A Met Police spokeswoman said it had been called at about 14:30 BST to a report of a security alert at the theatre and a decision was taken to evacuate the building.

About two hours later the police force said the incident was “not suspicious”.

Boyega is best known for playing Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the Star Wars series.

In the current production at the Old Vic, he plays a young British soldier in 1980s Berlin during the Cold War and his performance has been widely praised by theatre critics.

The UK terrorism threat level was earlier reduced from critical to severe earlier, five days after the Manchester Arena attack but increased security remains in place at events across the country.

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After 10 days of films, frocks and fizz, the 70th Cannes Film Festival is coming to an end.

The prestigious Palme d’Or is to be handed out, having been chosen from a selection of 19 films in competition.

The jury, headed by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and including Jessica Chastain and Will Smith, select winners for acting, writing and directing too.

Film critics have given the BBC their views on the hits and misses from the festival.

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Jon Frosch, reviews editor at The Hollywood Reporter, said: “My favourite was French film BPM (Beats Per Minute), about AIDS activists. It’s a really no-nonsense drama – both a group portrait of activists and a love story. It is really unsentimental, beautifully done, and would be my choice for the Palme d’Or.”

He also had praise for Good Time – a heist film set in New York about a man trying to free his brother from jail – and The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), starring Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson and Ben Stiller, about a dysfunctional family coming together amid a crisis.

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Robert Pattinson (left) has won praise for his performance in Good Time

“I also really, really liked the Safdie brothers film Good Time,” said Frosch.

“It’s a very dynamically shot crime thriller with a great performance from Robert Pattinson, who has a really good Queens accent – he’s fantastic. He’s magnetic and doesn’t have any of those methody mannerisms that pretty actors can sometimes do when playing low-lifes.

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Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler play half-brothers in The Meyerowitz Stories

“And I really liked Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, which I thought was his most mellow film in a long time. Another surprise, other than Pattinson, was Adam Sandler in that movie – he was just really funny and tender.”

Finn Halligan, chief film critic at Screen Daily, said this year’s offering was not up to the standard of last year – which saw the Palme d’Or go to Ken Loach for I, Daniel Blake, with Oscar nominated Elle also debuting.

“Having seen all the competition titles, I’d say it hasn’t been a banner year – although there were some good fun films in there, like the Safdie brothers’ Good Time and Francois Ozon’s L’amant Double,” she said.

The latter film is a thriller about a model who is in a love triangle with twin brothers – and involves one of Cannes’ most explicit sex scenes ever seen.

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Amazon Studios

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Joaquin Phoenix stars in You Were Never Really Here

She also had praise for You Were Never Really Here by Briton Lynn Ramsay, about a man – played by Joaquin Phoenix – trying to save a kidnapped girl, describing it as “the flip-side of Sofia Coppola’s delicate sensibilities in The Beguiled“.

That film, one of four works shown at Cannes featuring Nicole Kidman, is about an injured soldier taken in by a girls’ boarding school in the American Civil War.

But Halligan was more taken by Kidman’s role in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, where she plays the wife of a surgeon who brings a teenage boy into their home, with dangerous repercussions for the family.

“When she’s great, she’s amazing. She’s completely unadorned and playing, and looking, her age – which is not a bad thing, but done in a really realistic way. It’s her at her absolute best.”

Jason Solomons, critic for Radio 4′s Front Row and The New European, said: “It was an average, quite conservative selection this year – not a vintage year. They could really do with a bit more variety and a bit more looking forward.

“It all felt too white, too male and too Western and looking at the past. I still think we need to see more African cinema, more Chinese cinema and more Indian cinema.”

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Altitude Film Distribution

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Loveless was directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

He singled out Russian films Loveless – about a warring couple searching for their missing son – and Gentle Creature, which tells the story of a woman visiting her husband in jail.

“Russian cinema was very strong this year, particularly the film Loveless which I thought was tremendous and powerful but also very funny and is a film meaty enough to win the Palme d’Or – it had that heft.

“Its director, Andrey Zvyagintsev, has been at the top of his game for a long time so it’s time to recognise that. He’s bold and brave and takes on Russia.

“Sergei Loznitsa’s Gentle Creature was rather divisive – it has two good hours, then a half hour I’d cut, with a terrible rape scene which is rather brutal, and a dream sequence that doesn’t make sense.”

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Films Du Losange

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Happy End has been inspired by the themes explored in Michael Haneke’s award-winning Amour

He added: “I think we’ll be seeing a prize for BPM, which I found terrific. I found The Meyerowitz Stories sweet and funny, and it could see a supporting Oscar nomination for Dustin Hoffman.

“And I still don’t know what’s going to happen to the Michael Haneke film Happy End – about a bourgeois family living in Cannes. I don’t know if it’s a bad film or absolute genius. I’m not sure if it’s the film to win Haneke his third Palme d’Or.”

Freelance critic Damon Wise, contributing editor at Empire, described it as a “funny year” which left people “feeling a bit short-changed”.

He said: “I certainly know that some are wondering whether planning a starry 70th birthday party was a bigger priority for the festival.”

He said Netflix’s other film Okja – Bong Joon-ho’s work telling the story of a young girl’s battle to save her pet superpig from an evil corporate giant – along with The Beguiled and The Killing of a Sacred Deer were among his favourites.

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Okja is produced by Netflix, which has been a controversial brand at Cannes

He added: “Something that hit me in the gut was Robin Campinello’s 120 Beats Per Minute, which I think might strike a chord with Pedro Almodovar, being an account of the Paris-based Aids activist group ACT UP in the early ’90s.

“My favourite film came right at the last minute – Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here – it’s so brutal and at the same time so subtle.

“I had to see it twice, just to make sure what I thought of it. It sounds obvious – a hitman wants to get out of the game – but Ramsay crafts something unexpectedly fantastic from a really familiar story. There’s a terrific, totally unnerving score from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood that kept me glued to my seat.”

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