Lebanon reverses ban on Spielberg film ‘The Post’ – Kara Wai ecstatic over Excellence in Asian Cinema Award

BEIRUT, Jan 17, (Agencies):: Lebanon’s interior ministry will allow the release of Steven Spielberg’s latest film, “The Post”, overturning a ban by the General Security authority, a senior official said Wednesday.

The security body had on Monday announced it was banning the Hollywood thriller to comply with an Arab League boycott targeting supporters of Israel.

In a rare move, the interior ministry chose not to sign off on the decision by General Security, which in addition to controlling Lebanon’s borders, is responsible for censoring films, plays, and books.

“Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouk is going to allow the film to be shown,” a senior ministry official told AFP.

The company distributing the film in Lebanon confirmed that the film, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks would be released in cinemas in Beirut and elsewhere on Thursday.

The acclaimed production tells the behind-the-scenes story of the 1971 publication by The Washington Post of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the lies behind US involvement in the Vietnam War.

Lebanon is divided on the boycott-driven bans, with some welcoming them as a bulwark against the “cultural normalisation” of Israel’s occupation.

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LOS ANGELES: Saban Films has acquired North American rights to Pasha Patriki’s “Black Water,” starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren.

The action-thriller is the fifth collaboration between Van Damme and Lundgren. It was produced by Jason Cherubini, Alexander Ferguson, Tyler W. Konney, and Richard Switzer for Dawn’s Light Productions. Saban Films is planning a theatrical release in the second quarter.

“Black Water” is written by Chad Law, with a story by Law, Konney, and Switzer. Van Damme portrays a deep cover operative who awakens to find himself imprisoned in a CIA black site on a submarine. With the help of a fellow prisoner and an amateur agent, he must race against the clock to escape the vessel and expose who set him up.

“Jean-Claude and Dolph are a powerhouse duo, it’s refreshing to see them fighting on the same side for a change,” said Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley. “The pair are iconic action heroes; our audiences will absolutely love ‘Black Water.’”

Patriki executive-produced the film along with David Allen, Patrick DePeters, Eric Fischer, Matthew Helderman, Chad Law, Joe Listhaus, Luke Taylor, and Viviana Zarragoitia.

Ness Saban and Bromiley negotiated the deal on behalf of Saban Films, with XX. Taylor & Dodge handled international sales.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong actress Kara Wai says she is ecstatic over receiving this year’s Asian Film Awards’ Excellence in Asian Cinema Award.

“This is not an acting award, it’s an achievement award, so I’m thrilled and feel as if I’m walking on clouds,” the star of “Wu Xia” said in a recent interview.

With a career that spans more than 40 years and success in both television and film, the 57-year-old actress was named Best Actress for the second time at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards in November for the role of a manipulative madame in “The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful.”

Wai began her career in the 1970s in Hong Kong as a Kung Fu star in the Shaw Brothers films. In 1982, she received a Best Supporting Actress Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards for her role in the action movie “My Young Auntie.”

Wai thrilled audiences and impressed critics with her performance as a desperate mother in 2009’s “At the End of the Daybreak” and an Alzheimer’s patient in “Happiness” in 2017. Last November’s Golden Horse Award was icing on the cake.

As she approaches her 58th birthday, Wai said she knows it was a mixture of luck and preparedness that got her career to where it is today.

“The lifespan of an actress is short. It started happening when I was 50 and now I’m 58. This rarely happens for actresses, and it’s happening to me. I think you can say that I’ve had help from a lot of good friends,” she said.

“Was there hardship? Yes, I worked very hard, and only I know what I have encountered. So it has been bitter and sweet.”

Wai is to receive the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award at the Asian Film Awards ceremony in Hong Kong on March 17. (AP)

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