Dench to receive Donostia Award
NEW YORK, Aug 29, (Agencies): Ben Kingsley said he didn’t portray Adolf Eichmann out of love or admiration. Rather, he wanted to “nail him to the gates of Auschwitz.”
The Oscar-winning Kingsley, who has tackled historical figures before, including Mahatma Gandhi, Otto Frank and Simon Wiesenthal, said playing Eichmann in “Operation Finale” produced an entirely different feeling in him.
“With Gandhi, I loved him. With Simon, I loved him. With Otto, I loved him. With Itzhak (Stern), I loved him. But him – I’ll nail you to the gates of Auschwitz. I’ll put you up there so everyone can see what you did, what you stood for and who you are,” Kingsley told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
The story takes place fifteen years after the end of World War II. A team of Mossad agents travel to Argentina with the extremely dangerous mission of smuggling Eichmann out of the country to bring him to justice in Israel.
Eichmann, wanted for war crimes, was living in the South American country after escaping Germany at the end of the war. He was the main architect of the Final Solution, the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews that led to more than six million deaths.
“I put him into the camera for you to judge him, for you to see. I’ve let go of him and I dedicated my performance to Elie Wiesel and the millions who lost their lives under his command,” Kingsley said.
“Rather than saying to the man that I portrayed, ‘I am doing this for you’, because I certainly wasn’t, I used to say to Elie Wiesel, ‘I’m doing this for you’, because I know that Elie and other survivors said quite rightly that if we forget the six million, we are murdering them all over again.”
In the film, the rhetoric spoken by Eichmann bares an eerie similarity to the vicious debates currently surrounding the immigration issue in the United States and across the globe. Kingsley sees the film as a cautionary tale and hopes that audiences “will have thoughts after the seeing the film that they did not have before.”
After protests by neo-Nazis and white supremacists last year in Charlottesville, Virginia, Kingsley thinks it’s important to not forget the lives lost in the Holocaust, so it doesn’t happen again.
“Star Wars” star Oscar Isaac took a break from shooting the latest installment in the franchise to attend the recent New York premiere of “Operation Finale”.
“I flew in from a galaxy far, far away where we’re shooting in London,” he said.
Isaac plays Nazi-hunting Mossad agent Peter Malkin. He also drew parallels between the rhetoric of Eichmann and the vicious debates of today on immigration.
“You start to hear a lot of similar language, and it’s so, so powerful what a demagogue can do. How he can whip up just normal people, not monsters, not psychopaths – just regular people to hate,” Isaac said.
Isaac is also an executive producer on the film.
Nick Kroll, who plays a Mossad administrator, agreed the film is a cautionary tale.
“We have to be aware of the fact that holocausts are still going on and that we must do our part to protect people from genocide,” he said.
The film hits theaters Aug 29 and also stars Melanie Laurent, Lior Raz and Joe Alwyn.
LOS ANGELES: San Sebastian International Film Festival (SSIFF) has announced that the third of this year’s Donostia Awards will go to famed British actress Judi Dench. Other recipients this year are Japanese TV and filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda and American actor, director, producer Danny DeVito. Dench will receive the award in a ceremony held on Tuesday Sept 25, held just before a screening of her latest film, Trevor Nunn’s “Red Joan”.
Dench is a seven time Oscar nominee, having won the award for best supporting actress in 1999’s “Shakespeare in Love”, twelve time Golden Globe nominee, with wins in 1997 (“Mrs Brown”) and 2000 (“The Last of the Blonde Bombshells”), and has essentially owned the Bafta’s, with 26 nominations and 11 wins in the past half-century plus.
She also scooped a Tony award for best lead actress in 1999’s “Amy’s View”. 2018 will mark the actress’ first appearance at the San Sebastian Festival.
Among her more notable performances are her turns as the Queen of England, whether as Victoria in “Mrs Brown” and “Victoria & Abdul”, or Elizabeth in “Shakespeare in Love”; working alongside Maggie Smith in “A Room With a View”; or her iconic stint as James Bond’s boss M, a role she filled from 1995-2012 when Ralph Fiennes took the reins. It was her time spent on the Bond franchise, arguably Britain’s most well recognized after “Harry Potter”, that cemented her reputation as not just a period piece standard, but a box office mega-star with drawing power most actors only dream of.
In “Red Joan” Dench plays the titular Joan Stanley, a woman living a quiet life around the turn of the 21st century. Out of seemingly nowhere, the retiree is arrested by MI5 and accused of providing confidential information to communist Russia throughout the Cold War. The film reflects back on Stanley’s life from university through her career, and a series of impossible decisions she was forced to make in that time.
Although intended as recognition of a career’s worth of work, the Donostia is often given to actors still in their prime, as is the case with Dench. Upcoming films from the actress include Kenneth Branagh’s “Artemis Fowl” and Andy Goddard’s “Six Minutes to Midnight”.