Gender equality slammed
Roman Polanski says the birth control pill has had a “masculinizing” effect on women. The director said the pill has “changed the place of women in our times,” while talking to reporters on Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival. He was there to premiere his film Venus in Fur, adapted from the David Ives play. The film stars Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Mathieu Amalric as an actress and theater director rehearsing an adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novella, Venus in Furs. The film plays with gender roles, and features Seigner as a strong, feminine actress who comes to dominate her director. Polanski said the leveling of the sexes is “idiotic” and lamented that “offering flowers to a lady” has become “indecent.” The 79-year-old Polanski was famously convicted of having sex with a minor in a 1977 case. He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse. Polanski fled the US after a Los Angeles judge threatened further sanctions.
Fake Chinese aspirin seized
Customs officers have seized 1.2 million doses of counterfeit aspirin from China, the biggest haul of fake medicines ever in the country and in the EU, the economy ministry announced on Saturday. The goods, seized on May 17 in the northwestern port of Le Havre, were hidden in a cargo of tea that arrived from China, the ministry said in a statement. The powder was mostly glucose and contained no active ingredients. The fake aspirin was to have been sent to a Spanish company based in the Balearic Islands for distribution in the Iberian Peninsula, the south of the country and French-speaking Africa, the ministry said.
Anti-mafia priest beatified
A priest who stirred consciences with his anti-Mafia preaching and was gunned down by mobsters has been honored by the Vatican as a martyr. The Reverend Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi was beatified in a ceremony on Saturday in Palermo, the Sicilian capital, where he worked in a mobster-infested, poor neighborhood. He was slain in 1993, a few months after Pope John Paul II visited Sicily and urged priests to rally the faithful against organized crime. Puglisi encouraged young people, often jobless and easily recruited by Cosa Nostra, to turn their backs on the mob. Beatification is the last formal step in the Catholic Church’s process before possible sainthood.
‘Missing Picture’ wins
A French-Cambodian film, The Missing Picture, which explores the bloody history of former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot’s dictatorship in late 1970s Cambodia, has won the “Un Certain Regard” prize at the Cannes Film Festival. To rousing applause, director Rithy Panh collected the award at a ceremony on Saturday night, expressing his gratitude to be able “to have the freedom to do the films I want to do.” The “Un Certain Regard” accolade, presented one day before the Palme d’Or, is often seen to reward up-and-coming filmmakers and works that transmit original messages and aesthetics. Panh’s film, based on his memoir The Elimination, documents his own family’s experience under the Khmer Rouge, which resulted in the death of his parents and sisters.