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tv   Talking Movies  BBC News  August 27, 2018 2:30am-3:01am BST

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in the city of jacksonville in florida has shot dead two people. at least 1a others were wounded. the suspect, who's also dead, has been identified as david katz, a 24—year—old old from baltimore. the american playwright and screenwriter, neil simon, has died at the age of 91. one of the world's most prolific writers for the stage, he penned comedy classics such as the odd couple, the sunshine boys and barefoot in the park, enjoying unrivalled success on broadway. pope francis has asked the people of ireland for forgiveness for all the abuses carried out by clergy. he was speaking at an open air mass, attended by more than 100,000 people. it marked mark the end of his two day visit to the country. 0ur ireland correspondent, emma va rdy, attended sunday's events. she explained how well the pope's words have been received. well, i think pope francis was under
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pressure this weekend, and we saw him condemning clerical abuse more repeatedly than ever before. now, a number of people we spoke to who turned out to greet him told us they felt very reassured that he is sincere and genuine about tackling this issue. but there were also many survivors of sexual abuse who were listening to his words over the weekend who say they still feel a lack of confidence in the vatican's own investigations. and there were some of those survivors who spoke to pope francis directly who said that they still came away from that meeting feeling that the church isn't going to be robust enough with members of its own clergy who have been involved in cover—ups, and said that that will take — it's a culture within the church that will take time to change. so i think that, as pope francis leaves ireland tonight, anger is still very high on this issue, and people will be waiting to see what action will follow. now on bbc news, talking movies. welcome to this special hollywood
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and race edition of talking movies, i'm tom brook. in today's programme, we'll be focusing on how the american film industry is dealing with the issues of race and diversity. spike lee speaks. a look at blackkklansman, the latest picture from the legendary black filmmaker. america first. this film is about today and we live in a very, very serious time in this world. does it matter that most film critics are white and male? does it have a negative affect on diversity in cinemas? it's about not only having one narrative. that goes in terms of filmmaking, it goes in terms of acting, it goes in terms of film criticism.
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and asians, long underrepresented on the big screen, now have crazy rich asians, the first major asian—led studio film in 25 years. so, is the drought now over? we have such a treasure trove of interesting stories to be told, with equally as powerful new actors. and we look at the state of portrayals of native americans in hollywood cinema. why won't the old stereotypes fade away? nothing of any substances going to change until you have the native people writing the stories and directing them. plus a report on the new wave of black stories and black characters that have been moving into cinemas. i think black panther changed the equation because it made executives see there was international value in black films. all that and more in this special hollywood and race edition of talking movies.
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leading african—american filmmaker spike lee is back this month with blackkkla nsman, a period film which relates very much to the present—day. this politically provocative picture has been getting excellent reviews and it marks a real return to form for the director. i happen to be talking to a true white american. god bless white america. the central character in blackkklansman is a real—life figure, ron stallworth, a black police detective who infiltrated the white supremacist group, the ku klux klan, in colorado springs in the 1970s. he did it by striking up a relationship with klan members by phone, then a white surrogate police officer, a colleague, stood in for him in face—to—face meetings. ron stallworth was modest about his accomplishments at the film's new york premiere. infiltrating the group, penetrating them was very easy
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because they didn't take time to recognise the signs that something was not right. you had two different voices talking to you, one in person, one on the phone, and they didn't recognise that they were being had. it wasn't difficult at all. you for the white race, ron? oh, hell, yeah. so it becomes a combined... both: ron stallworth. can you do that? with the right white man, you can do anything. spike lee was drawn to ron stallworth‘s story for many reasons, he was certainly impressed by him as a man. courageous, heroic. i mean, the klan don't play, they kill people, they murder people, which are acts of terrorism. homegrown terrorism. so, to do that back in the ‘70s... i mean, it was no picnic. a key klan member scrutinised in the film is its former grand wizard, david duke, a pivotal
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figure in the organisation. actor topher grace portrays david duke. thank you so much for never putting your country second. the first half of the film really shows more of what the modern—day idea of racist was at the beginning of the ‘70s, kind of beer belly, redneck dude. and then david, the most evil thing about him, he's really brilliant, he figured out a way to put a different face on racism. america first. all: america first! duke is heard using words that president trump has also uttered. throughout lee's film, there's connections to be made with events in the 1970s and the present—day, most notably when the film transition from a fictional ku klux klan rally in the past to a very real protest in charlottesville a year ago, when white supremacist groups clashed violently with counterdemonstrators. it was a day that resulted in the death of heather heyer, struck down when a car drove into a crowd. the film is quite provocative
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in a way, do you feel it could really entrench people in terms of their opinions rather than bringing about enlightenment? i've done my part and we'll see how the world sees it. this film is about today, and we live in a very, very serious time in this world. many people who've seen the film felt this was just about the united states of america, this is about the global rising of the right, notjust the united states of america. spike lee's film marks a triumph for him as a director. it's seen as his best movie in years, and his first picture in a while to have become part of the cultural conversation. stallworth brothers. we're on a roll, baby! with critically acclaimed films like blackkklansman and megahits like black panther, it's been a noteworthy year for black cinema.
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more modest of undertakings of black characters and black stories have also been doing very well, as tristan daley reports. with months still left in 2018, this year has already seen the release of several films with black leads. a number of these films deal with real issues facing black people in america, but with creative flair. you don't talk white enough. like this, young blood. hey, mr kramer, this is langston from regal view. i didn't catch you at the wrong time, did i? there was sorry to bother you, a satire about a telemarketer dealing with problems of race and capitalism in a wacky alternate universe. in blindspotting, colin, played by daveed diggs, tries to stay out of trouble on his last days of probation in his rapidly gentrifying hometown of oakland in california. even though this isn't a musical film, characters in the movie rap. every time you come around, you monsters got me feeling like a monster in m own town.
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diggs, who co—wrote the film, says although this project is a comedy, it doesn't shy away from real—life circumstances. we describe it as a buddy comedy in a world that won't let it be one. 0urfilm's protagonists would love it if it's an escapist movie but that's not the world we live in. it takes a buddy comedy trope, and doesn't ignore the circumstances real people live in, and this is what we get. i wanted to actually find my dad's address. anotherfilm, night comes 0n, also deals with the circumstances of real people. it follows angel, who has recently been released from juvenile detention and goes on a journey to see her estranged father. while the film doesn't deal directly with the race of its main character, the lead, dominique fishback, is happy to play such a developed role. 0pportunities like this are few and far between for black actors. it's a real, true character study, which i think is what i dreamed of doing when i was younger, and now to be able to be a person
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and live as another person, and this film is for people who wanna know about human relationships and experiences. while some black filmmakers rejoice at new creative opportunities, executives are more concerned with the prospect of financial gains. industry leaders in hollywood have long maintained black stories don't sell as well at the box office as their white counterparts. however, 2017's get out get out and this year's black panther have already poked holes in that line of thinking. earlier this month, blumhouse productions premiered blackkklansman. the company ceo's, jason blum, believes that the recent successes of black screen stories are changing the minds of film executives. there's always been this myth that black films don't do well overseas. i think black panther changed the equation because it made executives see that there's international value in black films, which they'd never really accepted until black panther.
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while there are those that celebrate this moment, others are not so ready to rest on their laurels. at the moment right now, it feels like we're having a critical mass of films that deal with issues important to black people, but that's actually a shame. three orfour movies in a summer actually is not... that shouldn't be a movement, that should be common practice. every few years it seems audiences are teased by an increase in the number of films that push the envelope in terms of diversity and creativity, but soon after, periods of complacency follow and executives forget the benefits of inclusivity. many hope industry leaders remember lessons from the 2018 season as they plan their future productions. i'm a tough guy! nowadays, diversity on screen, or the lack of it, is being closely monitored and there's also scrutiny on those evaluating films. a recent us survey found the vast majority of film reviewers were white and male.
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what does this mean for diversity in cinemas? well, emma jones has been finding out. i have never seen anything like this. how much more are you hiding? those who criticise for a living are now dealing with a dose of their own medicine. visible diversity on screen is one of the direct results of the 0scarssowhite campaign. now questions are being asked about why the status quo prevailed for years. they all think that you and me and planning some kind of uprising. the people need a sign for them to believe in their own strength. jessica chastain, who recently starred with native american actor michael greyeyes in woman walks ahead, has been a vocal critic of the critics and their own lack of diversity, even as they reported on the uproar in hollywood. it's about not only having one narrative. that goes in terms of filmmaking, it goes in terms of acting, it goes in terms of film criticism, which i think is a major problem and no one seems to be talking about it.
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that when you have 90% ofjournalists are from one demographic, they're the ones telling an audience what is worthwhile to see. if we're creating diversity in filmmaking, we also need diversity in that point of view. so is she right? here in london, this is a press screening for spike lee's blackkklansman. it's not completely white and male, as you'd hope for the hotly—anticipated work of a successful african—american filmmaker. but a survey this year by usc annenberg found that the make—up of reviewers of 2017's 100 most popular movies on the site rotten tomatoes was just under 80% male, 67% white male and just 2.5% nonwhite female. the major arguments against pale, male perception of film criticism is this, it no longer reflects the kind of societies that we're
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living in, never mind the kind of films that audiences increasingly want to see, and hollywood actually wants to make. but criticism come awards season is notjust an art, it's business. critics wield immense power to reward, and historically, performances from black, asian and minority ethnic groups have been overlooked. you might have a film, like, for example, get out, and that's a hugely popular film and a lot of critics liked it and a lot of white critics liked it, but it was really the black critics, the few, who championed that film, who said, for example, that daniel kaluuya was an outstanding chance for an oscar nomination. i remember when i first said that a few people laughed, but on the kind of films where you're seeing a lot more black characters, they're the more kind of arthouse films, the oscar films, and they need a lot of help and a lot of nurturing, and they need people to support them. david coates
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for ex david coates ample, moonlight would never have been a success unless it was a big group of african american critics in america who really got behind it, and from that it created a snowball movement and a crescendo, and the appreciation of that film grew and grew. idris elba may be hotly tipped as the nextjames bond, but this is his directing debut, yardie. when i was a boy, my brother would always ask me, "which way you gonna go?" it premiered at this year's sundance film festival, and is the fictional story of a young jamaican‘s rise to the top in the drug—dealing london underworld. the original book sold purely on word of mouth, and the film probably needs the same championing from critics. it's a very nuanced world, and the language dictates a lot of the world. so i do think critics that can help other critics into an understanding of things is great. but that's not to say, though, that i can watch a movie that i've got no association with culturally and have some kind of embrace towards it.
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ultimately, film criticism suffers from the same problem as film direction — there are only a fewjobs at the top. it took deliberate intervention to put someone like ava duvernay in charge of a blockbuster like a wrinkle in time. initiatives are under way in many critics‘ circles to at least make room at the bottom, but how long until these critics manage to clamber to the top? asians are woefully underrepresented in hollywood films but that may change this week with the release of crazy rich asians. it is the first movie to feature a largely asian cast in a contemporary story. crazy rich asians, inspired by a bestseller, tells the story of rachel, a chinese—american professor in new york who travels with her 0xford—educated boyfriend to meet his family in singapore, where he was born. there she discovers to her amazement
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that he is singapore's most eligible bachelor and heir to a massive fortune. she thinks you're an unrefined banana — yellow on the outside, white on the inside. those are for your fingers! henry golding sees the film as breaking new ground. it really opens the idea to not only the studios, but to audience members around the world, the fact that as asians, we have typical stories like what we've been seeing so far, these love stories, and that we have such a treasure trove of interesting stories, with equally as powerful lead actors, waiting to be told. asian—americans who went to the movie premiere in new york responded positively, viewing it as validating. i've lived here my whole life,
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though i was born in china, and i've never seen a film that has such an asian cast portrayed in such diverse ways and so glamorously. being able to have visibility to all the asian actors, it is really good to see them on screen. don't you want nick to be happy? i know you are not what nick needs. crazy rich asians stands in stark contrast to most hollywood films, where there is a dearth of asian stories and characters. a report has found that among recent hollywood films, asians represented around less than 1 in 20 of all speaking characters and often the asian characters who do appear onscreen reinforce negative stereotypes. the history of america, lots of the stories told with asian or asian american characters, and they are put into boxes, like these stereotypes of kung fu masters and like china dolls, or dragon ladies orjust being sidekicks or being effeminate males, that is something that
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i think was set very long ago. crazy rich asians tries to deliver more rounded, authentic depictions of asian men and women. to have these characters who have so much depth to them, who have a strength to them and are very much human, and notjust token characters in the film, it is just going to be so important for a lot of asian people. crazy rich asians has been the target of some protest. there were complaints that the leading man, who has a white british father and malaysian mother, wasn't "asian enough" for this asian film. there is also been some criticism over the representation of singapore in the film, that the local malay and indian populations have been ignored. the criticism is that there are not a lot of brown figures all actors or people from malaysia or india in the film, absolutely, there isn't enough.
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there should be more of these films to be able to represent everybody. but again, this is a step in the right direction. crazy rich asians has been a hit at the us box office and it is hoped its success will lead to more asian led films in future — a sequel is already in the pipeline. its release has been described as a watershed moment for asian representation. in recent years, there has been some improvement in the representation of people of colour by hollywood but one group has been left behind, native americans. they have been appearing in films since hollywood's early days but their representation on screen has not really evolved. hollywood has always relied on the native american. in its early days, the western was film's most popular genre,
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the cowboy its iconic hero and the indian its most reliable villain. native americans were threats, they were the enemy. the true story of native americans in the united states is one of marginalisation, poverty and extreme oppression, and the movies have done their part to support this, depicting them as at best props in a white man's heroic story, or at worst an antiquated race of people needing to be pushed aside. films that are made are what i call white saviour films, indian people, there might be native actors in them, there might be roles for native people but they are not written and directed from the native perspective, and they are not our stories. it supports this idea of indians as victims. it is a very narrow perspective. if the stories themselves are narrow, the casting is even narrower. for decades at a time, it seems that most native american characters were only
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played by a single actor. following his performance as kicking bird in dances with wolves, graham green was called upon to play native americans in numerous subsequent projects. more recently, adam beach and wes studi have dominated those types of roles. it seems that only one major native american actor gets native american roles in hollywood films, for years and years at a time. what does this tell you about how hollywood sees native americans? i think it is important that we do have stars in our community because they are people that we aspire to be, which i think is very significant. i think it is a problem that there aren't more roles being written for a wider spread of native folks, and ultimately i think they are being written, i think it is that they are not being produced. native people being able to imagine whatever they want to be in a film with native crew and a native director, then suddenly our
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potential expands dramatically. need a ride? you bet. what are you going to trade for it? we're indians, remember. what are you going to barter? while representation remains a hot issue in hollywood, native americans are still not seeing the kind of progress that other people of colour have fought for and achieved. recent films featuring native american characters, like wind river and hostiles, while largely endorsed by critics, failed to meaningfully revise the white saviour stereotype. nothing of any substance is going to change until you have native people writing the stories and directing them and telling them from that perspective. there are a handful of people who have gotten that opportunity, not too many. i go back to smoke signals, which also by the way is an example of people saying, well, native projects cannot pay
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for themselves — that is actually not true. they can pay for themselves if they are promoted properly like anybody else's work is, which smoke signals was. why can't you have a normal conversation? you're always trying to sound like some damn medicine man or something. i mean how many times have you seen dances with wolves? 100, 200? geez, you have seen it that many times, haven't you? the marginalisation of native americans runs deep throughout american culture. movies are only part of culture, but with their power to reshape lives by influencing millions, they could be a large part of the solution. well, that brings this special hollywood and race edition of talking movies to a close. we hope you have enjoyed the show. please remember you can always reach us online. and you can find us on facebook too. so for me and the rest
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of the new york production team, it is goodbye as we leave you with this montage of clips from films we discussed during the show. hello, good morning. after all the cold, wet weather that we had yesterday, you know things can only get better. it was stuck at 13 degrees for much of the afternoon, and with some rain heavy enough to give some localised flooding. we almost had two inches of rain falling in south wales. it came from all that thick cloud there. well, that has moved away. still quite a moist, westerly airstream heading our way, so there'll be a fair bit of cloud around today. but at least we will see some sunshine at times, and no more thanjust a few light showers. it will be warmer, as well. so a few showers coming in on the westerly breeze across northern ireland for awhile, western scotland, over the irish sea into the north—west of england and wales. the showers becoming fewer through the afternoon. southern and eastern areas may stay dry. some sunshine at times, 19 degrees typically. significantly warmer than yesterday in scotland and eastern england, and perhaps the low 20s in the afternoon for the south—east
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and east anglia. fine as we head into the evening, and a lot of the cloud will tend to break up, because we're seeing pressure rising. clear skies for the most part overnight, and maybe temperatures down to nine or ten degrees. a bit of rain not far from the north—west by the end of the night. may start with some pockets of mist and fog in southern counties of england, shouldn't last long. plenty of sunshine for awhile, then as temperatures rise, the cloud develops, spreads out a little bit, and then that will break up later on in the day. it should be dry, really, apart from the far north—west of scotland and northern ireland. some warmer conditions spilling into eastern scotland, maybe the low 20s here, mid 20s possible for east anglia and the south—east. some difficulties tuesday and into wednesday. that band of rain is coming in from the atlantic on the weather front. but there are developments taking place around biscay into the near continent, threatening some heavy bursts of rain, perhaps, not far away from east anglia and the south—east of england. the worst of itjust across the water, perhaps, and that weather front coming into england and wales bringing more cloud than rain, the rain tending to peter out.
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and behind that, we should get more sunshine for scotland and northern ireland, with a slightly cooler and fresher feel here. that wetter weather does tend to ease through, and obviously the worst of itjust across the near continent. but high pressure then builds in behind that, settling things down. thursday looks like being a nice day. it'll start off a bit cool, perhaps, but it's going to be dry and there should be quite a bit of sunshine, hardly a breath of wind. get the sunshine, and with the light winds it should feel quite pleasant. still, temperatures near—average for the time of year, low 20s in the south—east, around 17 through the central belt of scotland. a lot of dry weather again, really, friday, perhaps into saturday away from the north—west, and the signs are that especially in the south—east it should get a bit warmer. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is nkem ifejika. our top stories: a shooting in florida. three people are dead after a gunman
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opened fire during a video game tournament in jacksonville. the single suspect in this case is a white male, and it's pending confirmation we believe him to be 24—year—old david katz from baltimore, maryland. pope francis ends his visit to ireland, saying he'll pursue justice for victims of abuse committed by the roman catholic church. one of the kings of broadway. american playwright neil simon dies at the age of 91. and celebrating 100 years since the birth of legendary composer and musician, leonard bernstein.
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