- French film stars Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, and Juliette Binoche among celebrities offering support for Iraq hostages.
- Iranian filmmaker Abolhassan Davoodi, whose credits include Book of Love and I Love the Earth, was hospitalized after being arrested by Iran’s Islamic religious police.
- Tony Kushner currently rewriting the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s as-yet-untitled 1970s-set terrorism drama.
French film stars Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve & Juliette Binoche offer support for Iraq hostages
French film stars Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, and Juliette Binoche have joined forces with other French celebrities to offer support – by way of recorded voice messages – for Iraq hostages Christian Chesnot, a Radio France correspondent, and Georges Malbrunot, a reporter for the Parisian daily Le Figaro. Along with their Syrian driver, Mohammed al-Jundi, Chesnot and Malbrunot were kidnapped by a group identifying itself as the Islamic Army on Aug. 20 in Iraq.
The kidnappers’ declared aim is to force the government of French President Jacques Chirac to lift its ban on headscarves (and other “conspicuous” religious symbols) in the country’s public schools. Chirac and his supporters, however, have refused to budge. Signed into law last March, the ban went into effect at the beginning of the school year in early September.
The voice messages, which were recorded under the auspices of Reporters sans Frontières, were first broadcast on French radio on Sept. 17. The fate of the three hostages held in Iraq remains unknown.
Update: In November 2004, U.S. Marines freed Mohammed al-Jundi in Fallujah. The following month, the Islamic Army released Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.
French cinema icons
Among Jeanne Moreau’s most notable acting credits are Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows and The Lovers; Roger Vadim’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte; François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim; Luis Buñuel’s Diary of a Chambermaid; and Lumière, which Moreau herself directed.
In movies since the late 1950s, Catherine Deneuve’s big-screen credits range from Palme d’Or-winning musicals (Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) to vampire cult classics (Tony Scott’s The Hunger), in addition to then off-screen companion Roger Vadim’s Vice and Virtue, Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour and Tristana, François Truffaut’s The Last Metro, and François Ozon’s 8 Women.
The most recent arrival among this particular trio, Juliette Binoche has already amassed a well-regarded body of work, including Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue, and Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s The Horseman on the Roof. In early 1997, Binoche was the unexpected Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner for her (co-lead) role in Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient.
Iranian filmmaker Abolhassan Davoodi hospitalized after Islamic religious police arrest
In other news, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and several local filmmakers have condemned the arrest of the organizers of this year’s Cinema House Awards ceremony, which has enraged Muslim fanatics in Iran’s theocratic government. Khatami has warned that such moves will force Iranian intellectuals to flee the country.
The ceremony organizers were arrested by Iran’s Islamic religious police – known as that country’s “morality police” – who claimed they were answering complaints that several attendees had failed to abide by Iran’s strict Islamic dress code.
Among those arrested was filmmaker Abolhassan Davoodi (Book of Love, I Love the Earth), currently the head of the Cinema House. Davoodi was later transported to a Teheran hospital, having reportedly suffered a heart attack following police interrogation.
The complaints chiefly originated from two radical Muslim newspapers, Jomhuri Islami and Kayhan, which displayed photographs of several women wearing flimsy headscarves and lots of make-up at the ceremony.
According to the Agence France-Presse, Iran’s theocratic judiciary has announced that it will “detoxify” the country’s film industry by eliminating “corrupt” artists.
Tony Kushner redrafting Steven Spielberg terrorism drama
Lastly, playwright Tony Kushner, the winner of both a Tony and a Pulitzer for Angels in America, has been redrafting the screenplay of Steven Spielberg’s as yet untitled project about the hostage-taking of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
Initially, Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump screenwriter Eric Roth had tried his hand at the script, but his draft was deemed unsatisfactory.
Australian actor Eric Bana – Hector in Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy and Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk in Ang Lee’s box office disappointment Hulk – is slated to star in this Universal-DreamWorks co-production scheduled to begin shooting in June 2005.
“French Film Stars Support Iraq Hostages” endnotes
More details about the release of the three hostages can be found at IFEX.org.
Jeanne Moreau Eva movie image: Paris Films.
I Love the Earth movie image: Sina Film.
“French Film Stars Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve & Juliette Binoche Support Iraq Hostages” last updated in November 2022.