Harrison Ford Iraq War Movie & Russian 'Battleship' in Berlin + Michael Moore Is New Chupacabra?

Harrison Ford Hollywood Homicide with Josh Hartnett: The Battle of Falluja next in line?Harrison Ford in Hollywood Homicide, with Josh Hartnett. The Battle of Falluja next in line for the veteran actor? One of the leads in one of the most successful movie franchises ever – Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Return of the Jedi (1983) – and a Best Actor Oscar nominee (Witness, 1985) who became a major box office draw from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s (The Fugitive, Air Force One, What Lies Beneath), Harrison Ford has suffered a couple of major setbacks in the last couple of years, with two box office bombs: Kathryn Bigelow's K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) and Ron Shelton's Hollywood Homicide (2003).

'Battleship Potemkin' in Berlin + Harrison Ford in 'The Battle of Falluja'?

Late December 2004 movie news include the announcements that a reconstructed version of Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 classic Battleship Potemkin will be screened at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival and that Harrison Ford is to star in Hollywood's first film about the Iraq War.

Considered one of – if not the – greatest motion picture ever made, Battleship Potemkin was originally commissioned by Russian communist leaders to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Odessa uprising, during which mutinous sailors rioted at the Ukrainian port. Eisenstein's depiction of the massacre of protesters on the Odessa Steps continues to be shown in film schools all over the world as a classic example of montage – the art of editing used for greater dramatic effect.

A team led by film historian Enno Patalas worked on the reconstruction of Battleship Potemkin, which includes sequences cut by Soviet censors at the time of the film's release. The print to be shown at the Berlinale is supposed to be as close as possible to Eisenstein's original cut.

Pro-proletariat message irked right-wing censors

The Soviet government's more fanatical left-wing ideologues may not have thought so, but the film's pro-proletariat message was deemed so effective that Battleship Potemkin has been, at some time or other, banned by equally fanatical right-wing rulers in numerous countries, from Brazil to South Korea.

Battleship Potemkin will be presented on Feb. 12 and 13 at the Volksbühne theatre on Rosa Luxemburg Platz. The German Film Orchestra Babelsberg will accompany the screenings, playing a revised version of Edmund Meisel's original score.

As for Harrison Ford and the Iraq War, the veteran actor (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Working Girl) will reportedly topline The Battle of Falluja, an adaptation of correspondent Bing West's upcoming book No True Glory: The Battle of Falluja. The titular battle officially left more than 800 dead, the vast majority of them Iraqi civilians.

See below a few more late 2004 movie news bits.

Samuel Goldwyn Jr. vs. the Academy's arcane laws

Veteran producer and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member Samuel Goldwyn Jr., whose credits range from the 1958 Alan Ladd-Olivia de Havilland drama The Proud Rebel to the 2003 Oscar-nominated Peter Weir-Russell Crowe collaboration Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, isn't happy with the arcane laws governing the selection of the Oscars' Best Foreign Language Film submissions.

“The system doesn't work. The Academy's job is to pick the best foreign-language picture of the year. But what happens when two of the best pictures of the year are made in France? Or suppose you had Italy's The Bicycle Thief [a.k.a. Bicycle Thieves] and La Dolce Vita in the same year. It would be criminal if you could only pick one.”

About a decade ago, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Red, officially submitted by Switzerland, was disqualified because the French-Polish-Swiss co-production wasn't deemed “Swiss enough” by the Academy's Foreign Language Film committee.

This year, among the well-received non-English-language releases not in the running in that category are Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education, Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement.

Michael Moore: Quotes indicate Sicko filmmaker now a scary urban legendMichael Moore: Sicko filmmaker an urban legend? According to an executive at a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company – one of the topics of Michel Moore's upcoming documentary, Sicko – there have been various Moore “sightings” reported by their business centers across the country. It looks like the Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker has become the Chupacabra and Vanishing Hitchhiker of the pharmaceutical industry.

Has Michael Moore become the U.S. pharmaceutical industry's Chupacabra?

U.S.-based pharmaceutical industry leaders are afraid that, in his upcoming documentary Sicko, Michael Moore will portray them and their products in the same way he portrayed U.S. President George W. Bush and his products in the documentary blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11.

Employees of some pharmaceutical companies have been warned that the Documentary Bogeyman may come and get them any day now. The Los Angeles Times quotes Rachel Bloom, executive director of corporate communications at AstraZeneca, based in Wilmington, Delaware, as saying, “We have six business centers nationwide, all of which report 'sightings.' Michael Moore is becoming an urban legend.”

'A Legendary Love' in Singapore

Saw Teong Hin's A Legendary Love, the most expensive Malaysian movie ever made and a cause for deep embarrassment at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, became the first film from Malaysia in three decades to be screened in neighboring Singapore, where it opened on Dec. 15.

Malaysia's submission for the 2005 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, A Legendary Love stars Tiara Jacquelina as a 15th-century Javanese princess who falls in love with a Muslim warrior (M. Nasir) from the Malacca Sultanate.

Rehoboth Beach Film Society vs. puritanism

Sanity prevails: Delaware State Police and the state's Attorney General have declared that the Rehoboth Beach Film Society did not violate any state obscenity laws during its November 2004 film festival.

A woman had complained to authorities that the festival had screened three films – Miguel Albaladejo's Bear Cub (Cachorro); John Palmer's Sugar; and Vladimir Vitkin's X, Y – purportedly containing explicit gay sex scenes while children were present in other parts of the cinema complex.

The films, however, were shown in an area apart from the main complex; admission to those screenings was also kept separate.

James Cromwell vs. animal abuse

Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee James Cromwell (Babe, 1995) is calling attention to the cruel abuse of animals at pig farms, where sows are kept in small concrete and metal enclosures.

“They have no straw with which to root, which is what they do instinctively,” Cromwell explains, “so we have managed to frustrate every bit of instinctive and genetic behavior that they have developed over eons. All because we reduce animals to commodities and individuals who buy it into consumers.”

Amitabh Bachchan named AIDS awareness ambassador

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has been appointed a 46664 Special Ambassador. Clarification: 46664, the prison number of former South African president Nelson Mandela, is an AIDS awareness campaign spearheaded by Mandela himself.

Other 46664 Special Ambassadors are former U.S. President Bill Clinton, talk-show hostess and sometime actress Oprah Winfrey, and actors Brad Pitt and Will Smith.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world.


Rehoboth Beach Film Society website.

Josh Hartnett and Harrison Ford Hollywood Homicide image: Miramax Films.

Michael Moore image: Lionsgate Pictures / The Weinstein Company.

“Harrison Ford Iraq War Movie & Russian Battleship in Berlin + Michael Moore Is New Chupacabra?” last updated in August 2018.

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