2 آبان 1390 10:14
The latest cultural headlines in the media.
Culture minister grilled on cinema by Majlis
Tehran Times:The Iranian minister of culture and Islamic guidance was quizzed over the country’s cinema during a closed-door session of the Majlis on Sunday.
A number of MPs who believe the ministry neglected a “proper control” on cinema summoned Mohammad Hosseini last week to explain about the issue.
The MPs criticized Hosseini for the condition of Iranian cinema and the “un-Islamic relationships” between actors and actresses in the movies produced over the past few years, the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency reported.
They had previously said that the culture minister must explain about the absence of Iranian publishers from the Frankfurt Book Fair, which was held from October 12 to 16.
They had also demanded that Hosseini explain about the “loose control” of his organization on the contents of certain books published over the past few years, and the ministry’s disregard for enforcing the law banning the use of foreign words.
“Neither the Frankfurt issue nor the control over the contents of the books were discussed in the session,” member of the Majlis Cultural Committee Behruz Jafari said on Sunday.
“The MPs criticized the Culture Ministry for authorizing films containing foul language,” he added.
Jafari said that Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani asked the culture minister to find a solution for “the problem of satellite channels.”
Larijani called the session “highly productive”.
“We hope that the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance seriously pursues the MPs’ hortatory views,” he said.
He said that the culture ministry was obligated to prepare a report about his efforts on pursuing the issues discussed during the session.
Nothing was mentioned about the culture minister’s remarks during the session.
Spanish Writer Praises Mexico's Embrace of Civil-War Exiles
Iran News: The welcome Mexico gave Spaniards who fled after Gen. Francisco Franco's victory in the 1936-1939 civil war was "the only genuine unmitigated joy" for the defeated Republicans, Spanish writer Almudena Grandes said here Friday.
Grandes invoked the exiles' experience in her remarks after receiving the 2011 Elena Poniatowska Ibero-American Novel Prize for "Ines y la alegria" (Ines and the Joy).
The book centers on an October 1944 invasion of northeastern Spain by exiled Republicans serving with the French Resistance who hoped to spark an insurgency against the Franco regime.
"It is a novel that recreates the rage and the bitterness, the sorrows and joys of men and women who did not want to surrender to terror or resignation in the blackest, the most difficult, years in Spain's recent past," Grandes said.
The award presentation marked the start of the 11th Mexico City Book Fair in the capital's giant Zocalo square.
The event included the woman in whose honor the prize was created, Mexican literary grande dame Elena Poniatowska, who called the day an occasion to celebrate how "literature reminds us that we can be happy despite all the evil that befalls us."
"The story of Ines never would have been written if writers like Poniatowska had not written before me," Grandes said.
Also present for the ceremony was capital Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who reminded the audience that this year's book fair is dedicated to the memory of the Spanish Civil War exiles who settled in Mexico.
"Let us look toward the future and have that same resolute optimism and that same conviction the Republicans had," the 2012 presidential hopeful said. "What the Spanish Republic taught us is that we can do what we want to do."
The award, accompanied by a cash prize of 500,000 pesos (around $37,600), was established in 2007 by the Mexico City municipal government to honor Poniatowska, an acclaimed author and journalist and veteran social activist.
Museum Unconvinced by New Van Gogh Death Theory
Iran News: Two American authors believe Vincent van Gogh was fatally shot by two teenagers and did not die from self-inflicted wounds, but the new theory won a skeptical reception from experts at the museum dedicated to the 19th century Dutch master.
A book by Pulitzer prize-winning authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, "Van Gogh, The Life," concludes that Van Gogh, who suffered chronic depression, claimed on his deathbed to have shot himself to protect the boys.
"Covering up his own murder," said Naifeh in an interview broadcast on the U.S. network CBS's "60 Minutes."
Leo Jansen, curator of the Van Gogh Museum and editor of the artist's letters, said the biography is a "great book," but experts have doubts about the authors' theory of his death in 1890.
"We cannot yet agree with their conclusions because we do not think there is enough evidence yet," Jansen told The Associated Press.
At the same time, there has never been any independent evidence to support Van Gogh's dying confession that he had shot himself.
"There's no proof. We just know what he said, and that's what people always went by," Jansen said.
Severely wounded in the chest, Van Gogh dragged himself to the rooming house in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, where he was staying. He died about 30 hours later after telling his brother Theo, several doctors and the police that he had shot himself while painting in a wheat field. The gun was never found.
Naifeh and Smith revived unanswered questions that have clouded Van Gogh's own story: How did the painter, who had a widely known history of mental illness, obtain a revolver, and what happened to it? Why would he shoot himself at such an odd angle and not put the muzzle next to his heart? How did he manage with his wound to make the difficult journey more than one mile (2 kilometers) through the fields back to town? And what happened to his painting gear?
The authors say an art historian who visited Auvers in the 1930s heard rumors from citizens who were alive in 1890 that Van Gogh had been shot accidentally by two boys.
They also discovered a "guilt-ridden" 1956 interview by a wealthy French businessman, Rene Secretan, who said he and his brother had known Van Gogh that summer and had tormented him mercilessly. Secretan, inspired by a Wild West show that was popular in France, borrowed a gun from the owner of the inn where Van Gogh was staying, but he claimed the artist stole it from him.
Secretan recalled in the interview that they taunted Van Gogh, a lonely man who craved company, by putting salt in his coffee and getting their girl friends to tease him with fake seductions. But the authors say Secretan was never asked if he had been involved in the shooting, and he died the following year.
Naifeh said the evidence indicates that the shooting "involved these two boys. And that it was either an accident or a deliberate act. Was it playing cowboy in some way that went awry? Was it teasing with the gun with Vincent lunging out? It's hard to know what went on at that moment."
They theorize that Van Gogh was wounded in a farm yard closer to the inn, and that the boys fled with the gun and took the artist's materials when they fled. Van Gogh, suffering from bouts of temporal lobe epilepsy, "decided to basically protect them and accept this as the way to die. These kids had basically done him the favor of, of shooting him," said Naifeh.
Jansen said the authors' theory still had problems, including the unlikely idea that Van Gogh would lie about his attempted suicide. Although he acknowledged in his letters that he was tired of living, he considered suicide immoral and indecent. It was also a criminal offense, and survivors could be imprisoned.
"There's plenty of reason to look at the unclear circumstances again. It's just that their conclusion, in our opinion, is not yet sufficiently proven," Jansen said.
Van Gogh was 37 when he died. He had been painting for only 10 years, but had produced nearly 1,000 paintings and 1,100 drawings. None were sold in his lifetime, but they now command multimillion dollar prices on the rare occasions they come up for auction.
Politico, Random House Team up for Online "Bookshelf"
Iran News: Politico expanded its presence in the book world Wednesday, announcing the creation of "Politico Bookshelf," an online bookstore curated by Politico's editors and operated by Random House.
The site is not a full retail outlet since users cannot buy any books directly, but they can browse titles from a number of publishers and click through to purchase their choices from the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple.
Politico clearly sees this as another opportunity to establish itself as a heavyweight in political journalism, since one of the prominent features displays what Politico reporters and editors are reading as a suggestion.
Throughout this year, the D.C.-focused publication has tried to use its growing readership and the upcoming election to boost its brand, whether by co-hosting a GOP candidates debate or furthering its events business.
Now the site is making a play in publishing. The project is a partnership with Random House, which already joined forces with Politico to publish four upcoming e-books centered around the 2012 elections. The first one, "Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back," is due out November 30.
"We're thrilled to be working with Random House to develop this new marketplace," John Harris, Politico's editor-in-chief, said in a statement. "By combining the great minds and writers in political journalism and publishing, we're able to offer our readers a deeper read into the political subjects that interest them."
The Bookshelf will offer genres of books Politico readers are most likely to seek out, such as current events, politics, history and biography. Thus far, 2,743 books are available for purchase.
Tehran fair intl. attendance quadrupled
Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance says foreign participation in Tehran's 18th Press Fair has grown nearly fourfold compared to the first year of the exhibition.
“In the first holding of the international category of the press fair in 2007, there were only 27 news agencies from 15 countries, but this year the figure has reached to around 100 agencies from more than 50 countries worldwide,” The Ministry's Director General for Foreign Media Mohammad-Javad Aqajari said on Sunday.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Armenia and Syria will, respectively, be the most represented countries in this year's fair, he added.
The 18th International Exhibition of Press and News Agencies will be held at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Grand Prayer Grounds from October 25 to November 1, 2011, with the international section of the fair opening on October 28.
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