Monaco

The Pretender

Many characters made appearances during my efforts earlier this year to persuade the international community that the freedom fighters of Libya needed the world’s help.

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It is not actually his region. Still, with the arrogance that is so characteristic of his behavior in matters he knows little about (which is a lot of matters), he entered the region as if in a triumphal march. But it wasn’t the power and sway of America that he was representing in Turkey and in Egypt. For the fact is that he has not much respect for these representations of the United States. In the mind of President Obama, in fact, these are what have wreaked havoc with our country’s standing in the world.

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Let me bring to your attention a couple of things about the Mexican team before Friday’s opening match. I am fairly certain you have heard about Hugo Sánchez, the famous striker who owned Spanish football during the eighties playing for Real Madrid. Yes, Hugo was great: trained by gymnasts, his acrobatics remained unmatched in the box. His most famous goal, against Logroñes in 1988, still is one of the most beautiful in the long history of the sport (I challenge anyone who worships Zidane’s goal in the Champions League 2002 final to watch the above clip).

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Europe is burning. The unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull volcano won’t stay put; Southern European countries are competing with each other to announce the most draconian austerity measures imaginable; a liquidity flood of Biblical proportions has failed to restore market confidence; and, if that weren’t enough, Simon Cowell is getting cold feet about marriage. These are dark days. So what better time for me to flee stern Con-Lib London and seek relief at the Cannes Film Festival? Surely better Penelope Cruz than Premier Cameron. Penelope was too busy to hang out.

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On the evening of February 17, BBC Radio 4 interviewed author Gordon Thomas, who estimated that half a million (and as many as a million) Jews work for the Mossad--or at least are on call. This is a rather remarkable work force, what with the cunning of the Jews and their mental agility.

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Being Human

Quiet Chaos -- IFC Films The Girl From Monaco -- Magnolia Pictures Nanni Moretti, treasured in Europe, is scarcely known in the United States. This schism usually happens with film people whose work is strapped culturally to one country, but Moretti's writing and directing and acting are not only celebrated in Italy, they have prospered elsewhere. Not here, however, though his strongest concern is human commonality. Sometimes, in a career that began in 1973, he has appeared in films directed by others. This is true of his latest, Quiet Chaos.

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Being Human

QUIET CHAOS IFC FILMS   THE GIRL FROM MONACO MAGNOLIA PICTURES   Nanni Moretti, treasured in Europe, is scarcely known in the United States. This schism usually happens with film people whose work is strapped culturally to one country, but Moretti's writing and directing and acting are not only celebrated in Italy, they have prospered elsewhere. Not here, however, though his strongest concern is human commonality. Sometimes, in a career that began in 1973, he has appeared in films directed by others. This is true of his latest, Quiet Chaos.

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  The Girl from Monaco. The "typical" lightweight French sex comedy brought up to date with strands of drama. A lawyer, in Monaco to defend a woman accused of murder, is guarded against thuggery by a man who was once the lover of the lawyer’s amour. Light but not featherweight. (8/12/09) Quiet Chaos. Nanni Moretti, an outstanding figure in Italian film, celebrated almost everywhere but the U.S., plays a man suddenly bereaved of his wife who seeks solace in the being of his ten-year-old daughter. Moretti is an extraordinary actor who affects us deeply by what we know he is not revealing.

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Out of Joint

The sunburned Englishman sat at the bar of the Peponi Hotel in Lamu, nursing a vodka-and-grapefruit-juice cocktail and sucking on an Embassy cigarette. A former resort owner who sold out a couple of years ago but still pays regular visits to this island off the Kenyan coast, Gerald had recently returned from a fishing trip to the neighboring island of Kiwayu—a journey that had turned up unsettling evidence of the changes creeping into the region. The Kiwayu beach hotel was deserted, he said, except for a pair of FBI agents who had converted their bungalow into a listening post.

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