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Rousing ghosts: Ukraine famine film warns Europe

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Rousing ghosts: Ukraine famine film warns Europe

BERLIN (Reuters) – Fading memories of 20th century horrors are leaving European society less resilient to similar evils that could lie ahead, Polish director Agnieszka Holland said at the premiere of “Mr Jones”, her film about the 1930s Ukrainian famine.

Director Agnieszka Holland poses during a photocall to promote the movie Mr. Jones at the 69th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Holland, who during a decades-long career has made films about the Nazi Holocaust and Communist tyranny in eastern Europe, pointed to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as a sign lessons from the past were being forgotten.

“I think that the experience of World War Two, the Holocaust, gave to Europe especially some kind of vaccination out of fear that things like that can happen again, but it evaporated in the last few years,” she told reporters at the Berlin Film Festival before her film was presented on Sunday.

The film, one of 17 competing for the festival’s Golden Bear award, tells the story of Gareth Jones, the Welsh journalist who escaped the gilded cage of 1930s Moscow to discover that the facade of a thriving Soviet economy rested on Ukrainian corpses.

The famine of 1932 and 1933, when leader Josef Stalin killed millions by diverting train-loads of wheat to prop up the Russian heartlands, still burdens ties between Russia and Ukraine, which is fighting a war against Moscow-backed separatists in its east.

Holland said the story of Jones, who risked his life to tell the world of peasants eating tree bark and orphaned children eating their own siblings in Ukrainian villages, was especially important in an age of “fake news”.

Written by Andrea Chalupa, a New Yorker of Ukrainian descent, the film contrasts Jones’s heroism with his more successful rival Walter Duranty (Peter Sarsgaard), whose initial compromises become lies as the New York Times correspondent seeks to preserve his status as doyen of Moscow society.

“The story I was telling myself was I have access,” said U.S. actor Sarsgaard. “I was the gatekeeper for the Western world and if I went away there’d be no access. I betray myself and my profession by degrees.”

Duranty’s drugs-, drink- and sex-fueled orgies, clearing houses for journalists seeking gossip, are shot in rich colors that contrast with the unsaturated whiteness of wintry Ukraine.

In one scene, starving Ukrainians look on ravenously as Norton eats an orange, its peel the one dab of color in the frame.

Holland said she hoped the film would spark a reevaluation of the importance of journalism and its ability to tell the truth, blaming Britain’s Brexit vote on “essential lies” and “manipulation” by wealthy financial backers.

Now, she said she was worried about the efforts of Steve Bannon, former adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, to mobilize politically in Europe. “He is financed by the richest industrialists,” she said. “The only tool we have is free, courageous media.”

But the film’s immediate task was to remind the world about the least known of the massacres that disfigure Europe’s 20th century, said British actor James Norton, who plays Jones.

“There are ghosts calling for this spotlight to be shone,” he said. In 1935, Jones, not yet 30, was murdered by Soviet agents while reporting from Mongolia.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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Jimmy Kimmel wishes son happy birthday on Instagram, thanks hospitals that saved him

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Jimmy Kimmel wishes son happy birthday on Instagram, thanks hospitals that saved him

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel on Sunday took to Instagram to wish his son Billy a happy birthday and thanked Los Angeles hospitals that “saved his life.”

The picture shows his son smiling while holding a carrot. Back in May 2017, the host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” opened up to his audience that his son was going to have heart surgery shortly after he was born on April 21, 2017, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles

The 13-minute monologue was Kimmel’s most memorable and showed an emotional side that few have seen. Kimmel spoke about a quick-thinking nurse that noticed that his son appeared purple and detected a heart murmur.

Billy was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital and underwent open-heart surgery. He will also undergo another procedure in his teens to replace the valve, according to the 2017 monologue.

“We are grateful always to the nurses and doctors at @CedarsSinai & @ChildrensLA who saved his life and all of you who prayed & sent positive thoughts our way. #HappyEaster.”

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Kimmel used his son’s top-notch treatment to make the case for access to health care for all children.

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Recap: ‘Game of Thrones,’ Season 8, Episode 2 – Winterfell prepares for an epic battle

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Recap: 'Game of Thrones,' Season 8, Episode 2 – Winterfell prepares for an epic battle

In the follow-up to the highly anticipated premiere of the last season of “Game of Thrones,” we rejoin the families in Winterfell as they prepare to combat the Night King and his army of the dead.

[Spoiler Alert: The remainder of this article will discuss Season 8, Episode 1 of “Game of Thrones”]

The second episode opens on a tense scene between Daenerys and Jamie Lanniester, as Khaleesi seethes with rage while confronting the man who murdered her father, lovingly known as the Mad King. After a lengthy debate about his trustworthiness, which was supplemented by a powerful character defense by Breanne of Tarth, it is eventually determined that Jamie should be allowed to stay and fight in Winterfell. It then thrusts Jamie into awkward conversations with various individuals at the castle who he’s wronged throughout the last decade, as it’s noted that he’s caused a lot of pain for many who have decided, for the most part, to let bygones be bygones as they attempt to fight for their lives against the undead.

RECAP: GAME OF THRONES, SEASON 8 EPISODE 1: A REUNION IN WINTERFELL

The episode as a whole feels like a filler piece – grappling between the dramatic escalations that took place last week, and will take place again next week during what’s certain to be an epic battle.

Throughout the hour-long episode, we see the majority of the show’s main characters coping in their own ways with what they see as almost certain death.

It’s evident at this point that Cersei is certainly not fulfilling her promise to bring her troops to Winterfell to fight for the living, which has angered Daenerys to the point that she begins to doubt Tyrion’s intelligence as the hand of the queen.

It’s also drummed up drama between Daenerys and Sansa, who, given her complicated history with Cersei, knew it wasn’t wise to ever take her for her word. Daenerys approaches Sansa and extends an olive branch, and the two actually appear to quash their differences for a moment. That is, until, Sansa raises the question of what will happen to the north should Daenerys take the iron throne. Sansa makes it abundantly clear that she doesn’t intend to give up her home to another ruler again, and fans know that Daenerys doesn’t take kindly to those threatening her authority.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8: WHAT PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR

It is revealed about half way through the episode by the remaining members of the Nights Watch and Tormund Giantsbane that they have had to go around the Night King on their way to Winterfell, and that the undead will reach the castle by morning.

The remainder of the episode is filled with emotional moments as the characters express what the feel they must before the battle.

Milesandre and Grey Worm, undoubtedly the best love story of the series, discuss where they might spend the rest of their days together should they survive. As many anticipated after the first episode, Arya makes a move on Gendry, saying that she wants to know what it’s like to be with a man before she dies.

Tyrion predictably copes by sitting in front of a fire and drinking wine, eventually garnering a group of some of the show’s best characters to join him. After a discussion about how Breanne has never been knighted despite her impeccable service, Jamie knights her himself. We see a softer side to Breanna here, as she’s faced with reconciling the feelings she’s long had for Jamie that she’s never confronted.

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We end the episode in the tombs once again, as Jon stands in front of a statue of his mother, Lyanna Stark. Daenerys joins him, sensing him withdrawing from her as he obviously grapples with the realization that he is in love with her, but she is, in fact, his aunt.

When Jon reveals this to her, she’s rightfully shaken up, but more concerned about the fact that Jon now has more of a legitimate claim than her to the Iron Throne.

Tune in next week as we recap what is sure to be an eventful battle scene on the next episode of “Game of Thrones.”

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MTV contest winner reveals details of wild weekend with Van Halen in 1984

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MTV contest winner reveals details of wild weekend with Van Halen in 1984

In 1984, MTV gave contest winner Kurt Jefferis a chance to party all weekend with his heroes: the notoriously depraved band Van Halen.

The then-fledgling music-video channel flew Jefferis and a pal from Phoenixville, Pa., to Detroit, where they met up with the band at Cobo Hall. First things first, Jefferis told The Post, “a guy handed me a bottle of Jack Daniels. I took a sip and asked for more.” After being passed a joint, “I took a couple hits and a couple more swigs of Jack Daniels.”

During the show, Jefferis got smashed in the face with cake and showered in champagne by the band members, then he went backstage where there was a feast of lobster, filet mignon and cocaine.

“I did a couple lines. Then David [Lee Roth, the singer] said, ‘I think Kurt needs Tammy,’ ” Jefferis recalled.

The groupie “took off her clothes and started dancing naked. The two of us wound up together in the shower.”

After that, things got fuzzy. Unbeknownst to MTV, Jefferis had suffered brain trauma a couple of years earlier, as a result of falling 13 feet over a stairwell, and was not equipped to handle Van Halen-level partying.

Read more from the New York Post.

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