U2 frontman Bono is to be feted with France's highest honour in recognition of his lengthy career. The With or Without You hitmaker will be made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) in a ceremony due to be held in Paris, France on Tuesday (16Jul13), according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Culture and Communication.
The Irish singer follows in the footsteps of screen stars including Clint Eastwood, Sir Sean Connery and Sir Michael Caine, and singer David Bowie, who have all received the same accolade.
Bono was previously presented with France's Legion d'Honneur in 2003 by then-president Jacques Chirac.
Eastwood was made a commander in the prestigious Legion of Honor in Paris two years after Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac honoured the Dirty Harry star as a knight of the Legion of Honor.
The actor/director, who flew to France for the ceremony, said, "This is a wonderful honour... I really love France. I love movies, and I love the appreciation that the French people have for movies."
French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent has died. He was 71.
Saint Laurent died on Sunday following a long illness, according to the Pierre-Berg-Saint Laurent Foundation.
The fashion maestro retired from haute couture in 2002, after four decades at the top of his trade.
Saint Laurent launched his fashion career after taking over the Christian Dior fashion house following the death of its founder in 1957. But he was soon conscripted to serve in the French army during the Algerian War of Independence, where he suffered a mental breakdown. He was institutionalized in a French mental hospital at the age of 22.
Upon his release from hospital, he founded his own company.
Saint Laurent went on to dominate the 1960s fashion market and was the first designer to use black models the catwalk. Last week, Naomi Campbell--who first worked with Saint Laurent in the 1990s--signed a comeback deal to front the company's fall/winter 2008 campaign.
In 1983, he became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in 2001 he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Legion d'Honneur by former French President Jacques Chirac.
In his latter years, Saint Laurent--who came out as gay in 1991--became a recluse and spent much of his time at his house in Marrakech, Morocco.
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Days of Glory’s significance lies more off screen than on--an ambitious feat for a $16 million Algerian war movie. Set in WWII when nearly 700 000 North African soldiers fought for France Days of Glory follows a racially divided French brigade. Their mission culminates in a bloody showdown in Alsace. Racism and religious differences contribute to lingering suspicion for the unpaid pensions. French president Jacques Chirac announced last September after seeing the film that he would reverse a 47-year-old policy of freezing war pensions for the widows of expatriate African Army soldiers that fought for France. Chirac’s proclamation affects 80 000 people at $140 million annually. An international cast of talented young men won kudos at 2006’s Cannes Film Festival for best ensemble. French actor Samy Naceri--currently imprisoned for racist assault against a police officer--is ferocious as an assassin. His screen presence is truly that of a superstar his eyes that of a crazed soldier and his posture unpredictable. Roschdy Zem--a politically active actor in France--is beautifully doomed as Messaoud an infantryman called up and lovesick for a woman uninterested in him. We love Messaoud as he discovers the urban wonders of France but his country-boy dumbness tells us right away he’ll perish. Moroccan actor Jamel Debbouze and Frenchman Sami Bouajla round out the lead military. The ensemble is not in the classic tradition of say Apocalypse Now or the storytelling as compelling and slick as Flags of Our Fathers. But Days of Glory is a war movie for the DVD shelf especially for the politically active. Rachid Bouchareb an Algerian filmmaker with deep roots in French immigration has crafted an emotionally explosive war film powerful in its social relevance. Bouchareb co-wrote the script with Olivier Lorelle after touring Africa and France and visiting the French Defense Ministry. It’s not always an easy task however (Home of the Brave anyone?). While the CG-enhanced explosions are thrilling momentum is slow-going until the Alsace climax. But the emotional resonance makes up for it. The soldiers’ faces are crazy naïve or headstrong often what we seem from young men in battle. The timeless international setting is also relevant to American viewers dealing with the costs of their own current war. French subtitles may limit the megaplex potential of Days of Glory stateside but its recent Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language film may add credibility.
Director Ron Howard was thrilled when French President Jacques Chirac allowed him to film The Da Vinci Code in Parisian gallery La Louvre--but he was then restricted at every turn.
La Louvre was the ideal location for the opening of the movie because it houses Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece Mona Lisa, which is instrumental to the story.
But the crew had to be painstakingly careful on the site, ensuring no lights were shone on any of the antique masterpieces, and many elements of the script had to be adapted.
Howard says, "We had to be very specific about every single shot we were going to do, both for security and for preservation reasons.
"There were all kinds of things we couldn't do. In the script, there is blood on the floor but we couldn't do that, and obviously we couldn't take paintings off the walls."
Appeal Upholds Brown's ‘Da Vinci’ Plagiarism Innocence
The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown has again been cleared of allegations he breached copyright and plagiarized the bestseller's plot, this time in New York City.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling made last August that Brown didn't steal from writer Lewis Perdue's novels The Da Vinci Legacy (1983) and Daughter of God (2000).
Earlier this month, Brown was found not guilty of plagiarism, in London's High Court. In that case, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh had insisted Brown ripped off their 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
Director Ron Howard's movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, is due out next month.
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French President Jacques Chirac is facing a political backlash after reports he tried to altar the casting of The Da Vinci Code, promoting family friends for the lead roles.
The World Is Not Enough star Sophie Marceau, 39, was allegedly touted by the French head of state to star as young cryptologist Sophie Neveu—the role ultimately won by Amelie actress Audrey Tautou, according to British newspaper The Times.
Marceau, who is a close friend of Chirac's daughter Claude, was a staunch supporter of Chirac during his 2002 presidential campaign.
The casting scandal was leaked by the film's director Ron Howard, who also revealed Chirac demanded higher pay for actor Jean Reno, who plays detective Bezu Fache in the adaptation of Dan Brown's bestselling novel.
In return, the veteran politician offered to facilitate filming in Paris' historic Louvres museum.
Howard says of the President's request, "That was hilarious. Fortunately, the deal was already closed."
A spokesman for Chirac denied the allegations, but admitted that a meeting between Howard and the film's producer Brian Grazer had taken place.
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Actress Angelina Jolie was named as goodwill ambassador by the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Geneva on Monday, Reuters reports. Jolie was apparently close to tears when she recalled her trips to refugee camps in Pakistan and Sierra Leone, describing the conditions as frightening and shocking. Other goodwill ambassadors have included Sophia Loren and Richard Burton.
French actor Philippe Leotard died Saturday in a Paris clinic from respiratory failure at the age of 60, Reuters reports. Leotard appeared in films such as Les Miserables in 1995 and French Connection II in 1975. President Jacques Chirac said in a statement, "For all French people, Phillipe Leotard will remain one of our most moving artists."
A Marin County Superior Court is refusing to dismiss a lawsuit over the ownership of five of Jerry Garcia's guitars, the Associated Press reports. Grateful Dead Productions, the company representing the surviving band mates, asked Judge Michael Dufficy to dismiss a lawsuit by Doug Irwin for custody of the guitars. Irwin, a custom guitar maker who built the instruments for Garcia, says he is the guitar's rightful owner. Garcia left the guitars to Irwin in his will but Grateful Dead Productions claims to have bought the guitars and that they were not for Garcia to give away. Dufficy ruled last week that the company had not proven that Irwin's three-year statute of limitations to claim the guitars had expired.
A federal appellate court dismissed a lawsuit by producer Kevin McClory against MGM and Danjaq Prods. that claimed he was the co-creator of the James Bond character. According to Variey, Monday's decision upheld a lower-court ruling last year dismissing the suit on the grounds that McClory took too long to assert his rights to the Bond character. McClory collaborated with writer Ian Fleming in the 1950s on a script for Thunderball, and obtained some rights to the story in 1963.
The Dixie Chicks are countersuing Sony Music Entertainment and accusing the company of "systematic thievery" for duping them out of more than $4 million in royalties, according to AP. The country music trio is also seeking to end a seven-album deal with Sony. The company sued the Dixie Chicks in July for breach of contract and accused the group of trying to leave the label by trumping up claims that they had been underpaid. The suit also said that the Dixie Chicks demanded the company renegotiate their contract despite being paid millions.
In the ongoing battle for the Screen Actors Guild presidency, Valerie Harper has turned down Melissa Gilbert's invitation to take part in a public debate, Variety reports. Harper said that SAG issues are private and should not be reduced to fodder for the media. Gilbert responded to Harper's statements by saying it would be inappropriate to expect members to vote without having the opportunity to hear the candidate's views on relevant issues. Gilbert has chosen MASH star Mike Farrell as her running mate.
Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham is hitting the bookstores in double doses. According to Reuters, the self-promoting ex-Spice Girl is publishing an autobiography entitled Learning to Fly on September 13. That is 11 days before an unauthorized biography, Victoria's Secrets, hits shelves. Written by Virginia Blackburn, the tell-all Victoria's Secrets is based on interviews with ex-boyfriends, friends and former dance teachers. Posh also has a new single coming out on Sept. 17 called "Not Such an Innocent Girl."
The WB network has decided to shelve the 13-episode season of the animated series Baby Blues, as well as six episodes held over from last season, Variety reports. The show reportedly did not fit in with WB's five new live-action, adult-oriented shows this fall.
The Cuban artists and bands that were nominated for the Latin Grammy awards have all been cleared to travel to attend the Sept. 11 event in Los Angeles and are awaiting entry visas from the US government, Reuters reports. The show was moved to Los Angeles from Miami because of concerns that protests from Cuban exile groups could jeopardize the safety of performers and guests.
Jennifer Lopez, Celia Cruz and Lou Diamond Phillips have been added as presenters for the 2nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in next month. Artist Alejandro Fernandez and his father Vicente Fernandez will also perform together for the first time in the U.S., joining previously announced appearances by Juanes, Luis Miguel, Alejandro Sanz and Thalia. The Latin Grammy Awards will be telecast on CBS on Sept. 11.
In a boy band first, the Backstreet Boys are preparing to release a greatest hits album. According to ABC News, the compilation is scheduled for release on Oct. 23 and will include the new single "Drowning" from their latest album Black & Blue. The Backstreet Boys have released four albums so far.
Whoopi Goldberg's online gift currency company Flooz.com will file for bankruptcy, according to its Web site. According to a message posted on the site, the company blames changes in capital markets and a general slowdown in the economy for the setback. However, a New York Times report noted that the Web site became a target for thieves in both Russia and the Philippines who used stolen credit cards to buy $300,000 in Flooz during the past three months.