The union of Cable providers in Lebanon (I didn’t know they had a union) decided to take down LBCI yesterday as a sign of protest against the decision taken by 8 local TVs to make them pay a fee for broadcasting their shows. LBCI, Future TV, Tele Liban, NBN, Al Jadeed, Manar, OTV and MTV all set new broadcasting rules by asking cable providers to pay 4 dollars for each subscriber, and asking all cable providers to sign official documents that grant them broadcasting rights.
Honestly speaking, I think it’s about time someone regulated this whole process and put an end to illegal cable providers in Lebanon. I rarely watch TV but I remember I had to call the cable guy almost every Sunday when I was at my parents to be able to watch Formula 1 or some football game. The quality of the image is bad, they control what you’re watching and rarely answer the phone when needed. Moreover, the fact that they are able to randomly shut down LBCI just to protest is quite absurd and unheard of.
Some may argue that we shouldn’t have to pay to watch local TVs but they need to monetize to survive in this market and having illegal cable providers rebroadcast all their shows for free doesn’t make sense, specially when there are affordable and legal providers like Econet and Cable Vision.
The short movie Waves ’98 by 2012 cinema-grantee Ely Dagher was selected by the 2015 Short Films Competition of the Cannes Festival out of 4550 short films submitted. These films will all run for the 2015 Short Film Palme d’or, to be awarded by Abderrahmane Sissako, President of the Jury, at the official prize-giving ceremony of the 68th Festival de Cannes on 24th May. This will be the first Lebanese film in the official selection since Maroun Baghdadi’s film in 1982.
This is great news for Ely and Lebanon. I wish him all the best! I shared below the synopsis and the trailer:
Written and directed by Dagher (Lebanon), the 14-minute long Waves ’98 is about Omar, a high-school kid living in the northern suburb of Beirut, struggling in his social bubble. On a quiet afternoon, on a terrace looking over the city he notices something strange, a sort of Giant golden animal protruding from between the buildings that draws him and leads to his discovery of a special part of the city.
Hollywood star Salma Hayek arrived to Beirut a couple of days ago and visited yesterday the museum of Lebanese-born poet and philosopher Gebran Khalil Gebran in Bcharreh. Salma is here for her movie “The Prophet” world premiere which will be held at Cinemacity in Beirut Souks.
The premiere will be a private event and few people were invited to attend. If L’Orient Le Jour’s info is accurate, the projection of the movie will be followed by a private dinner for 300 people at La villa Rose at ESA. I was actually eager to watch the movie tonight but I guess we will have to wait till Thursday when it’s officially released. The Prophet is based on Gebran Khalil Gebran’s masterpiece and will feature a voice cast including Salma Hayek as Kamila, Liam Neeson as Mustafa, John Krasinski as Halim, Alfred Molina as Sergeant, Quvenzhané Wallis as Almitra and Frank Langella as Pasha.
Hiba is officially in the semi-finals of The Voice France after winning the public vote one more time. The next round will take place on April 18th and will feature the remaining 8 candidates:
– Camille Lellouche
– Anne Sila
– Battista Acquaviva
– David Thibault
– Guilhem Valayé
– Lilian Renaud
Mika was impressed by Hiba’s performance but Jennifer wasn’t very convinced and wants Hiba to sing in Arabic like she did at the start of the show. Honestly, I think Hiba is playing it safe and leaving the best for last which is a smart strategy, plus I wouldn’t trust Jennifer specially after what she did with Anthony Touma.
I wrote a couple of weeks back that Gebran Khalil Gebran’s The Prophet animated movie is set to be released on August 7 2015 in LA and New York, but I had heard that it might debut in Beirut by end of April and the news got confirmed few days ago on the movie’s Facebook page. Salma Hayek is coming to Beirut on April 27 for The Prophet’s Beirut premiere and worldwide launch!
The Prophet will feature a voice cast including Salma Hayek as Kamila little Almitra’s mother, Liam Neeson as Mustafa, John Krasinski as Halim, Alfred Molina as Sergeant, Quvenzhané Wallis as Almitra and Frank Langella as Pasha. Gebran Khalil Gebran was born in 1884 in Bcharreh, a village in the north of Lebanon in 1884 where he was buried and a museum was inaugurated in his memory in Mar Sarkis’ monastery. The Prophet was published in 1923 and is Gebran’s most popular work. The book has been translated into over 40 languages and has sold over 100 million copies.
I’m really looking forward to this movie and I hope I will get to meet Salma Hayek in Beirut. Check out the movie’s [trailer] in case you haven’t already.
I missed out on Fast & Furious 7’s avant-premiere but I finally got to watch it yesterday and I absolutely loved it. To be honest, I was expecting to get bored at some time because I heard it’s too long and laugh at all the fake scenes and flying cars, but the movie was exciting and captivating the whole way through, the ridiculousness of the action scenes was entertaining in itself and the best part for me was the emotional ending and the great tribute to Paul Walker.
The scene I loved the most was the one on the mountain as I felt like I was in a Need For Speed race, and the scenes shot in Abu Dhabi are pretty impressive to say the least. Funnily enough, the Lykan Hypersport flying from one tower to the other was more realistic or should I say less fake than most of the other scene and car chases, but it was a great scene even though I wanted to see that super-car race on the ground. There’s one thing I didn’t appreciate in Abu Dhabi and Colorado which is how the scenes are cut and how we move from one place to another without understanding what happened or how they managed to get away. Speaking of Abu Dhabi, what’s up with the hot babes and extravagant parties? Is that really what goes on there?
In terms of acting, I was worried that Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw) might ruin the series but he turned out to be a fine addition and the cars they chose for me were just perfect, specially the 2015 Maserati Quattroporte. Otherwise, Vin Diesel was good, Roman Pearce and Tej Parker are hilarious, Kurt Russel is cool but looks really old, Letty Ortiz was a bit boring unlike the new girl Ramsey. Paul Walker was still my favorite actor among the gang and he will truly missed.
All in all, Fast & Furious 7 defies all the laws of physics but it’s thrilling and fun and Walker’s final tribute is a genuine and touching one. I never thought I’d be saying that, but I can’t wait for the next one!
Update: There are still 12 candidates left out of which 4 will compete in the finals. I corrected the title from Semi-finals to the next round as there are 2 more rounds before the finals.
Hiba Tawaji is through to the quarter finals of The Voice France after she won the public vote with her last performance. The judges had no say in the final result so Hiba needed everyone’s support as she was competing with 3 other contestants from Mika’s team. She chose to perform Everytime by Britney Spears which I believe suited her better than Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”.
Hiba is a step closer to the finals and I’m sure she can win this!
For those of you who couldn’t find the video and asked me to share it, Hiba is uploading all her performances on her YouTube channel and you can check them [there].
Update (04/04/2015): Hiba Tawaji is still going strong in the Voice France and has advanced to the next round.
Hiba Tawaji is one step closer to the Voice France finals after she passed the knockout rounds and advanced to the live shows, which are the final stages of the show. At this point, Hiba will be competing next week against 3 other candidates from the same team and performing live. I was looking for the video and it just got uploaded (Check starting Minute 2:30)
Salma Hayek has been working on this project for quite some time now and Khalil Gebran’s “The Prophet” is finally coming to the big screen. I still have mixed feelings about turning this masterpiece into an animated feature but the trailer looks great and I’m actually excited about it now. In case some of you haven’t heard of The Prophet (Is that possible?), it’s one of the most beloved books of all time and one of the best selling books as well with over 100 million copies in print.
The movie is set to be released on August 7 2015 in Los Angeles and New York. I don’t have exact dates for when it will be shown in Lebanon but I’m hoping Salma will fly to Beirut for its launch. The Prophet will feature a voice cast including Salma Hayek as Kamila, Liam Neeson as Mustafa, John Krasinski as Halim, Alfred Molina as Sergeant, Quvenzhané Wallis as Almitra and Frank Langella as Pasha.
It’s not everyday that you get interviewed by one of the most popular radios in the US (NPR) and I thank Alice Fordham for that opportunity, even though I wish it had been for something more interesting.
As you all know, there’s a new reality TV show called The Sisters being broadcasted on LBC SAT (Not to be confused with the local LBCI) starring three Lebanese sisters, Alice Nadine and Farah. I’ve heard before about the sisters because of their instagram account (not blog) but I don’t know them personally so I did an effort to watch the first episode but I couldn’t last more than 15 minutes.
The reasons why I didn’t like The Sisters as explained to NPR are as follows:
1- The show has fake written all over it and is very far from what reality TV is supposed to be. I’ve never liked the Kardashians but it does reflect how the family lives and real-life problems as silly as they may seem. The story lines are also empty and meaningless.
2- The show is culturally empty and portrays Lebanese woman in a negative light. Of course no one is expecting the sisters to be role models for our society but they could have at least made an effort not to look that silly and dependent. I honestly blame the producers here and whomever wrote that script.
All in all, I have nothing personal against the Lebanese Sisters and I don’t mind reality shows but I just think they could have done a much better job, specially that it’s the first show of its kind in Lebanon.