81st Academy Awards ended just as they had been predicted - another set of predictable and overrated winners that are going to be forgotten in few years time. The only "surprise" was, of course, Sean "Milk" Penn beating Mickey "The Wrestler" Rourke, and only for those without a clue about Hollywood politics.
The greatest winner - Slumdog Millionaire - is, on the other hand, right film for these times. Uplifting, rags-to-riches populist story, just like those Hollywood used to make in 1930s in order to give hope to impoverished masses during Great Depression.
The biggest disappointment of the whole 78th Academy Awards
was not in the films that won or were "robbed". The biggest
disappointment was in the film that wasn't even considered for the award, like
Few nights ago Croatia experienced a torching which had
little to do with Ante Gotovina. Its consequences, however, are likely to be
much more important than random acts of vandalism.
Few days ago Croatian public was informed about Croatia
finally "returning to the world cinema map" by being used a location
for expensive Hollywood productions. First such film was supposed to be Omen 666, remake of legendary
1976 horror film. To make things even more delightful to Croatian public, the
director is John Moore, Irishman best
known for Behind Enemy Lines,
action spectacle praised for "telling the truth about last war" - in
other words, portraying Serbs as evil genocide-loving scum that should be wiped
out by US military might.
This kind of credential, however, didn't help Moore or
production when some of the details came to light. The shooting was supposed to
last five days and Diocletian's Palace in Split and various nearby sites with
ancient Roman architecture were supposed to be used for locations. The scenes
shot were supposed to be set in Israel.
Production company apparently received all the necessary
permits from Croatian Ministry of Culture and other relevant institutions.
However, local authorities and Catholic Church weren't informed. They also
expressed disgust after learning that one of locations is going to be
Manastirine - ancient Roman cemetery near Solin, town which used to be ancient
Salona, capital of Roman province of Dalmatia (which used to cover most of
former Yugoslavia in ancient times).
Manastirine also features some ancient Christian graves.
That was enough for fundamentalists to call this production a sacrilege.
According to them, use of such sacred object for "Satanistic films"
Their protests came to nothing and the sets were already
been brought to cemetery. They stood there until Saturday morning, when they
were burned. Police so far didn't release any official statements, but,
according to Slobodna Dalmacija, the fire was "result of torching".
Today's Slobodna Dalmacija now reports about production
"being pulled from Split" and "Hollywood leaving Croatia". So,
another great Croatian dream is supposed to end in nightmare of vandalism and
On the other hand, producers' decision to leave is quite
understandable. Nobody should risk someone's life or health for something most
likely to be instantly forgotten as just another pointless Hollywood remake.
Few days ago, a year after Theo van Gogh's murder, came
another remainder that the real world is much uglier than Hollywood likes us to
believe. In today's world talented
filmmakers continue to become victims of demented ideology.
I hope that Croatian state television will pay proper homage
by airing The Message or Lion of the Desert.
Paris suburbs riots happen to be one of the most
underreported stories in Croatian and world's media. I too didn't blog as much
about it as I would have liked.
However, before I gather enough time and inspiration, I
would love to remind the readers of certain film
made ten years ago dealing with the scenario very much like the one currently
playing out in Paris.