Stephen Applebaum

 The critics sniffed snobbishly at V for Vendetta, but it could just be the most subversive political film of the Bush/Blair era. By turns thoughtful and aggressive, Vendetta cuts through neo-con double-speak and inspiringly rehabilitates words such as "freedom" and "democracy" by re-investing them with their true meaning. Most impressive of all, it dares to question what separates a terrorist from a freedom fighter, and vice a versa, and to ask whether sometimes it is not only just a matter of defintion, but of who is doing the defining. Incredibly, few critics talked about the film's political import upon its release, approaching it as merely just another (supposedly) verbose action movie from the makers of the Matrix. Get revolutionary and check it out for yourself on DVD, now.



Read more Radicalising the multiplex with V for Vendetta

“I’ve probably been over preoccupied with death. I think about it unhealthily too much. Actually, I think I see it as an ashes-to-ashes grand recycling scheme that when we die our body goes into the soil and a tree grows and the fruit grows and a bird eats from the tree, and you go round and round and round.”

Read more RACHEL WEISZ: Dying for her art


 "I've heard Richard Linklater say that in the States certain civil liberties are being taken away under the guise of safety - ‘We have your best interests and your protection [at heart]' - and it's becoming more and more not innocent until proven guilty, but you're guilty until proven innocent. I think A Scanner Darkly is kind of quietly dealing with some of those themes. Or something to get out of it is something kind of like, ‘Hey, you know the scene where that man who is on the street with the megaphone is being taken away by the police? You can't dissent.' So there is a little bit of a warning, I think, going on in the film. I think a lot of people, probably in their day to day lives in America now, are ill at ease. I know with my friends and everyone there's a ‘when is the shoe going to drop?' kind of thing. So everyone's not like running around all happy. And in terms of being safe, I don't think people feel at bottom safe."   

Read more KEANU REEVES gets animated about A Scanner Darkly
gretchen moll"Bettie's got a cult following in America. She is a pop icon. A lot of people dress like her, they do a burlesque show, and a lot of people will put on the wig and do acts like Bettie Page. And fashion and everything, the looks were inspired by things that she wore then. When Madonna had the cone bras in the early 90s, she was doing that in the 50s. As for her sexuality, I'm sure she was aware of it. You know, the word naïve keeps coming up, but to me it was a knowing naiveté. She knew what was going on but it was the attitude of the 50s to pick and choose what you wanted to look at and how closely you wanted to look at it. I think she was doing her job, and she was making her living, but I'm sure she knew what was going on. But it didn't serve her in any way to really investigate it and I think when she thought about it, she was making people happy and she wasn't judging them for a fetish. It was like, ‘OK, so you like shoes, you like whips or whatever.' I think within the realm of what they were doing it was like acting or playing dress up." Read more GRETCHEN MOL - Nailing a pin-up in The Notorious Bettie Page
 "If you think about the French New Wave, what was the main topic? Young directors wanting to know, how is a real woman? How is she? What is my fantasy? I was very lucky to be at that time because I became part of the fantasy. But now the daily life is far beyond our own personal relationships, and there is what I call the ‘third sex’: men love women, men love men, women love women, and why not? You know? But we are unbalanced. We don’t rely on tradition. It used to be that you have to get married, you have to get children, earn some money, retire. Now it’s difficult to find work. Maybe you find the woman you love or the man you love, but after a while the excitement with sex is over, so you divorce or you separate. There’s not that idea of stability. That sexual liberation has its good sides and the worst. Because people get stuffed with sex, like with food.” Read more JEANNE MOREAU - The legendary star of Francois Ozon's Time to Leave
 JH: I think, probably, the most interesting area of V for Vendetta is taking a fresh look at what terrorism is and what it stands for. We have been kind of led to believe, in the present situation, that terrorism is utterly disgusting and certainly I’m not arguing for a minute that it’s the right way forward, but then I wouldn’t say that any kind of warfare is the right way forward, personally. I don’t think that war has ever led us into anything that is a positive conclusion. But what it does suggest is to at least take a look at the reasons for terrorism, and that it’s usually not without reason. I think the film is probably suggesting that we look at it more seriously, that we address it more seriously, that it is the only effective way that certain areas of modern society can make their voice known, whether we like it or don’t like it. That has to be treated seriously it seems to me.   Read more JOHN HURT and STEPHEN REA - Explosive filmmaking in V for Vendetta
 What a lot of people want to talk about is this whole idea of is V a terrorist or is he a freedom fighter? From his point of view he is trying to wake people up and force them to take responsibility for their own lives, rather than be beholden to the government. What is terrorism? Terrorism is a word that’s bandied around a lot at the moment and the more we use it, the less it means; and the more we use it, the less we have to ask ourselves why is someone doing these things. It’s very easy to say these people are this and these people are this, we’re defending liberty and democracy and these people are terrorists. That’s a very convenient way of talking but it’s not very helpful. Read more HUGO WEAVING - The man behind the mask

 We can all sit in judgement on huge things - the death penalty, terrorism, war - but until you have to make that decision or you're involved in it, you can't speak. When I was ill, one of the things that struck me was, ‘Oh my God, this happens to somebody else.' You know, this usually happens to the bloke round the corner and they're all going, ‘Oh what a shame.' No, you're the fucking bloke round the corner it's happened to. So, you know, you use your power of imagination and your job is to play the character, not your own personal emotion, but I'm thinking every time Albert did this, he had to see this look in these people's eyes, including women. Call me sexist if you like but your whole instinct is to protect youthful femininity. So when I had to put the noose around Ruth Ellis, I thought, ‘No, this is against nature.'

Read more TIMOTHY SPALL - Noose work in Pierrepoint

I think being Israeli definitely influenced my desire to do V for Vendetta because being from Israel, terrorism and violence is a part of daily life. It might be a new thing for Americans in the past few years, but as an Israeli you live with it your whole life. It’s people you know, it affects people you love, so they’re issues that I have been thinking about and questioning constantly from a very young age. So it was something I wanted to work on because I feel like it brings up questions I never get answers to.

Like, what is the difference between state-sanctioned violence and individual violence? What’s the difference between someone who’s going to commit suicide with their act of violence and someone who’s willing to die for their country? What’s the difference between killing a soldier who has been drafted in to the army at the age of 18 or a civilian? All of these categorisations often seem so arbitrary, and the lines between them so thin, that it almost trivialises the impact of violence and how awful it is.  Read more NATALIE PORTMAN - Burning questions

 Life has so much more of an imagination to do things than I do. I think one of the reasons that my life - once I got past the really difficult, difficult part of it, like all my identity crises and everything in my twenties - kind of fell into place, was that I stopped trying to put my expectations onto what things were going to happen and was more open to everything. 'I’m here because all my plans failed' - that’s what I like to say. I’m here because I was open to following my life where it led me, and to making choices that were new choices out of what was dealt to me. But I wouldn’t have ever seen it turning out this way. 

Read more SUSAN SARANDON - Sex, song and cigarettes
 The idea, I think, that most appealed to me about The Constant Gardener was that I think in our parents' generation they felt more idealistic and I think they felt more that one person can make a difference. I think students today are not that politically active. Not like they used to be. And what I loved about this film is that it portrays people who really do believe, absolutely, that one person can make a difference. Not only that one person make a difference but if you just help one person, it can also make a difference. That spirit, I don't want to call it a message because it sounds too preachy, but that notion moves me very, very deeply. Read more OSCAR WINNER RACHEL WEISZ - Weisz words

 [Acting] is very dangerous. It’s like putting a boxer in the ring and you say, ‘I want you to box, I want you to box really hard, and I want you to kill someone, almost. But then when you step out of the ring, don’t use your hands,' you know? With an actor you’re saying you have to keep everything raw and available and there, and now we’re going to put you back into the world, but now you have to be very disciplined and adult and mature. You know, you’re constantly trying to balance it.

Read more NICOLE KIDMAN - Birth and life

Don Cheadle Interview with Paul Rusesabaginia | with director Terry George 

"What they choose to greenlight or not to greenlight is based on the tastes of the studio. And the tastes of the studio are largely about what they think is going to make money. It’s commerce. The sort of cyclical self-fulfilling prophecy that they always point to is that black movies don’t make money. You know what I mean? Every movie has to have a huge foreign component, it’s much bigger than the domestic component, and they say, traditionally, black movies don’t sell foreign so we’re not going to spend a lot of money on them. And then if they do spend the money on them, they don’t spend the money on the marketing -- and nothing sells itself. The movie then doesn’t make money and they say, ‘See: the movie didn’t make money’. It’s kind of stacked against us, in a way.

Read more DON CHEADLE - Playing Paul Rusesabaginia

eugene hutzIs there anything Eugene Hutz cannot do? The Ukrainian emigre survived Chernobyl and, inspired by his love of music, founded the riotously wonderful, New York-based gypsy punk band, Gogol Bordello. Although he had never acted before, Hutz recently made his movie debut in Everything is Illuminated, and effortlessly stole the show from Elijah Wood. Below, the mastochioed wildman talks about landing his first movie role, government cover-ups, discovering his Roma roots, and the plight of Eastern Europe's gypsies. 

Read more EUGENE HUTZ - Dancing to his own tune

I like dressing up. Because, like, Mrs Bucket [in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory], I was the one who asked for teeth. They’re not my real teeth, although Tim keeps thinking they are. I know, but I think there’s something sweetly romantic about it. Just think: after being an ape, after all that, he saw through to the real me!


Read more HELENA BONHAM CARTER - Poetry in stop motion

kevin costner

You’re a writer, right? You love to write. What if somebody was going to take that away from you? When you realise someone’s going to take away something you love, a way of life, however you feed your family, you’re confused by it and you try to make a sense of it. But, generally speaking, the kind of person that would take your life away from you is a sociopath. So you can’t even get inside their thinking anyway. You’re going, ’Why are you such an asshole?’ You’ve had it in your school life when you’re a boy, and you probably have it in your neighbourhood, and you think, ’What are you going to do about this?’

“The American West is not a fairy tale place. It’s not like it didn’t happen. It was settled by Europeans and they couldn’t speak the language. They were told the land was up for grabs, and if you were smart enough and you were tough enough, and you were violent enough, you could have what you didn’t have in England or in Italy or in Russia. So it was a rough place out there, the issues of land and the disputes over land were bloody, and it wasn’t that long ago.”

Read more KEVIN COSTNER - Going West