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London River, new film on prejudice released in Italy

It is set during the aftermath of 7 July terrorist bombings

London River, a film exploring prejudice has just been released in Italy.

Set against the backdrop of the 7th July 2005 bombings, London River directed by Rachid Bouchareb (“Days of Glory”), stars the wonderful Malian actor Sotigui Kouyaté who sadly passed away on 17th April 2010.

It tells the story of a friendship which develops between two seemingly unconnected people – Elizabeth (Brenda Blethyn) and Ousman (Kouyaté). Both of them have come to London to search for their children who are missing in the aftermath of the bombings.

Although they come from different religious backgrounds – Ousman is an African Muslim living in France, and Elizabeth is a white Christian living in Guernsey, UK, they share the hope of finding their children alive. Putting aside their cultural differences, they give each other the strength to continue the search and maintain their faith.

Bouchareb comments: “My film is less about the bombings themselves, and more about the meeting between these two people that takes place in their wake. That’s what was more important to me, that these two people who meet are united by the same problem, which is their desire to find their children. And the story is about these two people, a man and a woman from very different backgrounds but faced with the same fears, the same anxieties. I needed a crisis to bring them together, but that crisis could have been something else, the September 11 attacks for example.”

He notes that “Our lives aren’t so different because we are not different, whichever of the four corners of the globe we might live in. In our thoughts, our feelings, our fears, our joys, our hopes and worries - our lives, they are not so different at all. They are the same.”

Kouyatè who plays the role of an African farmer who has travelled from rural France to London to search for his son, said: “London River is about the problems that life poses for mankind. It has to do with the attack of 7/7, and it also talks of Islam, but these subjects are not at its heart. Rather, it wants to show the difficulties people have in accepting one another, the fear they feel. It is a film about how we react to things and this is what interests me. It teaches us that when you meet the other, don’t be scared to look them in the eye, for if you are brave enough to do so, you will be seeing yourself more clearly.”

The film in a very intelligent manner, uses the tragedy to bring closer two people who were living in totally different worlds, apparently convinced that they had nothing in common. But it’s just a matter of time before it emerges that the son Ousman is looking for and the daughter Elizabeth is looking for, not only knew each other but were actually roommates and maybe lovers. 

The love between their children which they were unaware of refuses to be destroyed by the 7 July bombings. Fate has it that their parents must come to know about it in such a sad circumstance.

Parents, who were initially convinced to be totally different, soon realise that they have so much in common. They end up putting aside their cultural and religious differences to give each other the strength to continue the search and maintain their faith in humanity.

LONDON RIVER CREDITS
Production Company: 3B Productions/The Bureau/Tassili Films
Directed by: Rachid Bouchareb
Starring: Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyaté
Producer: Jean Bréhat
Production Designer: Jean Marc Tran
Cinematographer: Jérôme Alméras
Editor: Yannick Kergoat
Sound: Philippe Lecoeur, Franck Rubio, Olivier Walczak
Music: Armand Amar
Running Time: 87 mins
Distribution: Bim

By Stephen Ogongo

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Paint store clerk is Idol winner

DeWyze's victory was based on votes cast after Tuesday's performance show

Lee DeWyze, a paint store clerk who overcame his shyness to impress American Idol judges and viewers with his spirit and soulful voice, triumphed over bluesy musician Crystal Bowersox in the contest's ninth season.

When asked by host Ryan Seacrest how he felt, an emotional DeWyze said, "I don't know. It's amazing, thank you, guys, so much ... I love you. Crystal, I love you."

The finalists had closely matched fan bases, with just a 2% voting gap between them coming into the finale, Seacrest said.

DeWyze's victory was based on votes cast after Tuesday's performance show, which drew more judges' compliments for Bowersox, 24, of Ohio, than for DeWyze, also 24, of Illinois.

The total number of votes cast in the finale wasn't announced by Seacrest. That's a departure from most years past: Last season, for example, the high-profile contest between Kris Allen and Adam Lambert drew 100 million phone and text message votes.

Fox didn't comment on the omission. But Idol, although still TV's top-rated show, has seen audience erosion this season that could have affected the tally. The talented but low-key Bowersox and DeWyze might also have provoked less interest.

The finale made the most of Simon Cowell's last appearance as a judge. A film package recounting highlights from the Cowell years was shown and comedian Dane Cook came on stage to sing "Simon Says," made up of the Briton's barbed comments, and to crack a few jokes.

The walk down memory lane continued with ex-judge Paula Abdul, who often played Cowell's sparring partner during the seasons the shared. "I've loved all the fun we've had together," Abdul told Cowell. "'American Idol's' not gonna be the same without you. But as only I can you, it will go on."

The finale, as usual, was stuffed with humour, including the return of Larry "Pants on the Ground" Platt and William Hung, return appearances by former contestants and music stars.

Kris Allen, last year's winner, sang "The Truth," with Carrie Underwood, Michael McDonald, Christina Aguilera, Hall & Oates, Robin and Barry Gibb, Janet Jackson and Joe Cocker were among those whose performances were scattered throughout the two-hour show.

By The Press Association

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Leona Lewis US tour plans shelved

Chart-topping star Leona Lewis's plans to tour the US were shelved after headliner Christina Aguilera pulled out.

Leona was due to support Aguilera on a 20-city series of dates starting in July.

But Aguilera has now postponed the shows until 2011 after saying she needs more time to prepare.

She said she was busy with her debut film, Burlesque and her new album Bionic and would not have time to rehearse.

By The Press Association

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Davina slammed for 'retard' comment

She has been criticised over a comment made on live TV

Davina McCall has been criticised by media watchdog Ofcom for using the word "retard" on spin-off show Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth.

The incident occurred in January, on the same night as the finale of the last ever series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Evicted housemate Vinnie Jones first used the word when he talked about Davina entering the house in a chicken outfit.

Asked how he knew that the person in the disguise was Davina and not Nicola Tappenden, he demonstrated walking with difficulty and told Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth: "She was walking like a retard, she was walking like this and our Nicky walks lovely."

Davina responded: "I do not walk like a retard."

Ofcom received eight complaints about the Hollywood actor's comment, with seven viewers also offended by Davina's response.

Some said the Big Brother presenter did not reprimand the movie hardman.

Ofcom originally did not uphold the complaints and received letters of protest about its decision. Later, it decided to hold a review by referring the case to its Broadcasting Review Committee.

On Monday it stated: "It was the Committee's view that his (Vinnie's) use of the word 'retard' was capable of being understood not as merely a passing reference directed towards Ms McCall but also as ridiculing those with a physical or learning difficulty, emphasised by his attempt at imitation."

Channel 4 said the comments had been allowed to go unchecked "in the heat of the moment during a live programme" at the end of a final eviction day.

By The Press Association

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Brittany Murphy husband found dead

The report comes five months after the death of his wife

The husband of late actress Brittany Murphy has been found dead, a US newspaper reported.

Sergeant Louie Lozano, of the Los Angeles Police Department, told the Los Angeles Times that the body of screenwriter Simon Monjack was discovered at his home in the Hollywood Hills last night.

Sgt Lozano said the cause of death was not yet known and investigating officers were still at the scene.

The report comes five months after the death of his wife.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office ruled that Murphy died of pneumonia complicated by an iron deficiency, anaemia and multiple drug intoxication.

Coroner's officials said the actress had gone into sudden cardiac arrest because of "drug intake" and her death on December 20 was classified as an accident.

By The Press Association

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