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Latest in Culture


Swiss art prize cancelled after sponsor Lacoste’s objection

By AFP The organizers of a €25,000 ($32,000) art prize said on Wednesday they have cancelled this year’s competition after sponsors Lacoste objected to an entry by a Palestinian photographer. Jerusalem-born artist Larissa Sansour said she was told the luxury clothing brand deemed her photo series “too pro-Palestinian”. The Elysee Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, had …

DNE

Vatican fits sensors to preserve priceless Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel has been fitted with detectors to check for pollution from its millions of visitors every year that could harm priceless frescoes by Michelangelo and Botticelli. Vatican Museums director Antonio Paolucci explained in the Holy See’s official daily, Osservatore Romano, on Thursday that the initiative was in order to update the building’s air …

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Grammys to honor late Steve Jobs for contribution to music

The Grammys will pay special tribute to late Apple founder Steve Jobs, Brazil’s Tom Jobim – of "Girl from Ipanema" fame – and US singer Diana Ross at the upcoming awards show, the organization announced Wednesday. The Apple co-founder and mind behind the wildly popular iPod, iPad and iPhone died in October after battling pancreatic …

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France spotlights short films on winter solstice

France marked the shortest day of the year on Wednesday with the launch of a nationwide short film festival, 30 years after starting a hugely popular music festival on the summer solstice. Dubbed "The shortest day", the festival is a mix of formal events, held in cinemas, museums or train stations around the country, with …

DNE

Famed Myanmar satirist ‘shocked’ by freedom

He kept his quick wit throughout jail terms, torture and solitary confinement, but it seems nothing quite prepared Myanmar’s most famous comedian for his first trip out of the military-dominated state. "When I saw the airplane I got a shock, when I saw the airport I got a shock, when I saw the big building …

DNE

Stone lion resumes post in Spain’s Alhambra

By AFP One of 12 marble lions that stand watch in Spain’s historic Moorish palace, the Alhambra, in Granada returned to its spot Monday after being restored by experts. A miniature crane lowered the 300-kilogram (660-pound) stone beast into place at the foot of a fountain in the Court of the Lions at the heart …

DNE

Five ancient shipwrecks found in central Stockholm

Five shipwrecks dating from the 1500s to the 1700s have been found during renovation work on a quay in central Stockholm, the Swedish Maritime Museum said on Monday. "Five shipwrecks … from the 1500s to 1700s have been found in connection with the renovation of Stroemkajen," the museum said. The location is right outside the …

DNE

’27 Club’ of dead rockers is a myth, says study

By AFP Fame boosts the risk of early death for rock stars but the claim that the peril is greatest at the age of 27 is false, according to a study published on Tuesday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The theory of the “27 Club” spread earlier this year when Amy Winehouse joined Jim …

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Egyptian film program opens in Frankfurt

Looks can be deceiving — especially with a city like Frankfurt. The fifth largest city in Germany is the financial and transportation center of the country, home to the European Central Bank and the German Federal Bank in addition to some of the largest commercial banks in Europe. The stodgy, serious veneer of Frankfurt makes …

DNE

Ballet keeps Polish seniors on their toes

By Maja Czarnecka / AFP Dressed in white tutus, seven pensioners from a village in southern Poland love to get on their tiptoes to dance ballet classics like Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” All these new found ballerinas are grandmothers — one is even a great-grandmother — and the oldest member of the troupe is 73. “If we …

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‘Extremely Loud’ is incredibly phony

By David Germain / AP It is no surprise that the grief-drenched Sept. 11 drama “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” should turn out incredibly mawkish. A cloying exercise in sentimentality, the film also winds up extremely annoying, even infuriating. Director Stephen Daldry’s film, featuring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, centers on the worst day most Americans …

DNE

Musical diplomacy in Islamic Cairo

On Thursday night, the US Embassy presented a concert featuring collaboration between Nubian Drums, one of the many musical heritage projects of Islamic Cairo mainstay Intissar Abdel-Fattah, and the Bombie Trio, a band from the US advertised as jazz but better described as a blues-rock cover band. The embassy’s forays into cultural programming seldom produce …

DNE

British writer Christopher Hitchens dead at 62

The renowned British writer and polemicist Christopher Hitchens, whose targets ranged from God and Mother Teresa to Henry Kissinger, has died after an 18-month battle against cancer. He was 62. Hitchens began his career in London but he moved to the United States in 1981 and enjoyed great success both as a writer and speaker, …

DNE

Tales of the country

By Myriam Ghattas The Fourth Panorama of the European Film concluded recently. Taking place in Cairo it featured a number of documentaries that explored certain facets of Egypt which may have been little known to local audiences though they are highly fascinating and instructive. From “The Alexandrians” to “Sira: Songs of the Crescent Moon,” we travel …

DNE

Mahfouz literary award given to the January uprising

For the past fourteen years, the American University in Cairo Press has given the Naguib Mahfouz medal, named for Egypt’s most internationally known novelist, to a younger talent, to “recognize an outstanding contribution to Arabic writing.” This year, which is also the 100th anniversary of Mahfouz’s birth, the AUC Press instead decided to give the …

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‘The Artist’ tops Golden Globes nominations

French-directed silent film "The Artist," a tribute to the pre-"talkies" era, won six Golden Globe nominations Thursday to lead the field as Hollywood gears up for its annual awards season. Tied for second were "The Help," about black servants in the pre-civil rights era US south, and "The Descendants" starring George Clooney, both nominated in …

DNE

Cinema Komunisto: Living in Tito’s vision

"Cinema Komunisto" (2010), which recently screened at the fourth Panorama for European Film in Cairo, is a true feat of archival documentation and storytelling. The Serbian film narrates the construction of the image of the former country of Yugoslavia based on a compilation of archival footage from film productions and film that were made at …

DNE

Palestinian film ‘Habibi’ wins best Arab film at Dubai fest

Dutch-Palestinian production “Habibi Rasak Kharban” won the Muhr Arab Feature award at the eight Dubai International Film Festival, ending a stellar edition marred by an otherwise weak Arab features selection. Widely panned by both Arab and international critics, the first feature by American filmmaker Susan Youssef is a modern retelling of the Arab fable “Qays …

DNE

Music school sets different rhythm for Gaza’s children

A room in Gaza’s only music school fills with the sound of the qanun, a traditional Middle Eastern instrument, transporting listeners far from the impoverished territory. Seven-year-old Zeina Al-Hamamra confidently picks out a melody on the instrument, a kind of zither, leaning forward to pluck the farthest strings with tiny fingers strapped with silver picks. …

DNE

Spielberg, Jackson introduce Tintin to America

Steven Spielberg hopes he’s the typical American when it comes to Tintin: the filmmaker had never heard of the guy, but once he got acquainted, they became friends for life. Peter Jackson knows he’s the typical non-American when it comes to Tintin: he’s known him since before he could read, and the character’s globe-trotting adventures …

DNE

British artist Emin lands prestigious teaching role: report

Controversial British artist Tracey Emin is to become the new Professor of Drawing at London’s prestigious Royal Academy, the country’s oldest art school, reports said Wednesday. The General Assembly of Royal Academicians (RAs) — an illustrious club of sculptors, architects, printmakers and painters — made the decision on Thursday, the Times reported, but a formal …

DNE

Exhibit reveals Auld Lang Syne’s mysterious roots

At the stroke of midnight this New Year’s, millions of people around the globe will hold hands and belt out the famous song "Auld Lang Syne" — but how many will have a clue what it means? The Scottish poem and heartstring-tugging tune are reckoned to vie for the title of most widely recognized song …

DNE

Angelina Jolie hailed for Balkan war film debut

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie has won praise for her directing debut — a powerful story of love amid the atrocities of the Bosnian war — from both film critics and victims’ relatives. The Hollywood "A" lister is used to being feted for her performances in films ranging from "Girl, Interrupted" — which won her the …

DNE

‘Hydrarchy’ exhibition revisits the sea

In the 19th century, the international order of power and commerce rested on the sea: the vast merchant navy and the gunboats of the British Empire. In the 20th century, power gradually passed to the skies, as air-power gradually became the defining tool of imperial wars, and planes the primary means of personal travel around …

DNE

Clooney’s ‘Descendants’ leads LA Critics awards

George Clooney’s family drama "The Descendants" was chosen Sunday as the year’s best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, whose prizes are an early influence on the way to the Academy Awards. From "Sideways" director Alexander Payne, "The Descendants" stars Clooney as a neglectful father in Hawaii trying to tend his daughters after …

DNE

Shades of Lebanese history and a dash of ‘1/2 Revolution’ in Dubai

For most of the previous decade, Egyptian film dominated the regional fest circuit, stirring a media frenzy for its popular stars and winning awards right and left for work that was far more developed, if less daring, than that of neighboring countries with less experience and no industrial backbone. Egyptian cinema has been in decline …

DNE

Picasso, royal tapestries in unique show in Romania

Fifty-five tapestries created by the French royal Manufacture des Gobelins and by contemporary artists like Picasso and Miro went on display from Friday in Bucharest, in a world premiere. "A selection of tapestries of such scope and quality is unprecedented," said Bernard Schotter, the administrator general of the Mobilier National, the French government’s treasure house …

DNE

Posthumous Winehouse album ‘reflects chaotic life’

A posthumous album by Amy Winehouse, a rough and ready assortment of alternative versions of hits, unreleased tracks and covers, has been hailed as a poignant snapshot of the singer’s troubled life. Critics said that "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" perfectly reflects the chaotic final years of the artist, whose death in July aged 27 after years …

DNE

An Egyptian novelist reads in Frankfurt

On Nov. 24, Egyptian novelist Khaled Alkhamissi read excerpts from his bestselling novel “Taxi” to an audience in Frankfurt as part of the “Festival of Egyptian Culture.” “Taxi” is Alkhamissi’s 2006 debut novel, which gave him a sense of celebrity unknown to most contemporary Egyptian writers, selling thousands of copies more than other established contemporary …

DNE

Dubai Film Fest opens with ‘Mission: Impossible’ world premiere

In a year where glamour and entertainment in the region were forced to take a backseat to the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) emerges strongly from the storm with one of its most interesting line-ups yet. The extravagant tone of this year’s edition was set with the opening …

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