Luke Skywalker crosses over to the dark side (temporarily)

Plus: Delhi International Film Festival begins; PK breaks out at the box office; Madonna reacts to song leak; and Sparks revisit their seminal third album.
From left, Aaron Paul, Jessica Alba, Stephen Merchant, Dennis Haysbert, Rainn Wilson, Mark Hamill, JK Simmons, Ellen Page and Kevin Pollack at the live reading of The Empire Strikes Back in Los Angeles. Araya Diaz / WireImage
From left, Aaron Paul, Jessica Alba, Stephen Merchant, Dennis Haysbert, Rainn Wilson, Mark Hamill, JK Simmons, Ellen Page and Kevin Pollack at the live reading of The Empire Strikes Back in Los Angeles. Araya Diaz / WireImage

Luke Skywalker has gone to the dark side of The Force. Not (as far as we know) in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which filmed extensively in Abu Dhabi this year, but during a live reading of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back at the weekend. Mark Hamill, who plays the Jedi Knight Skywalker in the films, took on the role of the evil Emperor – plus Luke’s mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi and bounty hunter Boba Fett – during the event at the Ace Hotel Theater in Los Angeles, in front of an audience of 1,600 fans. Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul was Luke, Jessica Alba was Leia and Ellen Page played Han Solo. The Whiplash star J K Simmons was Darth Vader. It was the latest in a series of script readings arranged by the Juno director Jason Reitman. Previous readings have included Reservoir Dogs, with an all-black cast, and an all-female version of David Mamet’s macho Glengarry Glen Ross.

Delhi International Film Festival begins

The renowned filmmaker Subhash Ghai and Satish Upadhyay of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi inaugurated the third edition of the Delhi International Film Festival at the NDMC Convention Centre yesterday. The festival organiser Ramkishore Parcha and New Delhi Municipal Corporation chairman Jalaj Shrivastava were also present to kick off the event, where 250 films from more than 45 countries will be screened in eight days. Ghai, whose contribution to the Hindi film industry was lauded with a lifetime-achievement award, said: “Films can show the real face of our society and can emerge as solutions to the problems which we face, in a very entertaining manner. I appreciate and support this initiative for screening so many films at one platform from different countries.” The director duo Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi’s critically acclaimed film Zinda Bhaag from Pakistan, starring Naseeruddin Shah, will be the closing film. Other highlights include Infinite Justice, directed by the Pakistani filmmaker Jamil Dehlavi, Bangladesh’s Glow of the Firefly by Khalid Mahmood Mithu, and the Nepalese film Talakgunj vs Tulke. The festival runs until Saturday.

PK makes Dh14.5m on opening day in domestic market

Aamir Khan’s film PK raked in more than 25 crore rupees (Dh14.5 million) in the domestic market on its opening day, according to trade experts. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the film opened on Friday. It’s the second-highest non-holiday opening after last year’s Dhoom: 3. Trade analyst Komal Nahta, who has praised the film, tweeted: “#PK 1st day all-India net collection: approx. Rs. 25.6 crore. Phenomenal considering that it’s a social film. Word of mouth is fantastic.” The film, which also stars Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjay Dutt and Boman Irani, has also been praised for offering entertainment with a message. The filmmaker Karan Johar called it “game changing”, while Shekhar Kapur applauded it for putting quality over “box office numbers”. Trade experts predict the movie will make 300 crore rupees and become Bollywood’s biggest ­entertainer.

Sparks mark anniversary with classical show

The influential alternative rock and pop duo Sparks revisited their seminal third album Kimono My House with the help of a 38-piece orchestra at London’s Barbican Centre at the weekend, in celebration of the record’s 40th anniversary. The Los Angeles-based brothers Ron and Russell Mael, now both in their 60s, took to the stage dressed in kimonos for the first of two dates. They were accompanied by the Heritage Orchestra, a London orchestra that specialises in giving modern music a classical twist. The show, like the 1974 album, opened with the band’s biggest hit, This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us, which gave the band their breakthrough after they relocated to London in 1973. “We’re ecstatic to be back in London … back where it all started,” said Russell. The band will take the show to Los Angeles in February, and have recorded an album with the Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, which is due to be released in June.

Madonna songs go on sale early after leak

Madonna unexpectedly released six new songs at the weekend, months ahead of schedule, angry that early versions of them had leaked online in what she described as “artistic rape”. The songs will appear on the pop icon’s first album in three years, Rebel Heart, which is due out in March. The tracks show Madonna going further in a hip-hop direction and include a collaboration with Nicki Minaj. The Material Girl said she decided to put the songs on sale online on Saturday after in-studio versions of her tracks appeared on the internet. “I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift,” Madonna said. On Instagram, she called the leaks “artistic rape” and “a form of terrorism” against the creative process. The message was later deleted and she asked for help in figuring out how the demos got out.

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM

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