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Chinchón: Wes Anderson to shoot his new movie on the fringes of Madrid | Culture

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US film director Wes Anderson.
US film director Wes Anderson.

US film director Wes Anderson, 52, is to shoot his next film in Chinchón in southeast Madrid during July, August and September. Although scarcely a single detail of the all-American production has been leaked, the sets simulating a Western-style desert are clearly visible on the edge of the town despite the fact that the movie does not reportedly belong to this genre.

For a major US production to be here for several months means an injection of life, prestige and publicity

Francisco Javier Martínez, mayor of Chinchón

Over 20 people are busy getting everything ready to shoot by mid-July, by which time Anderson will have premiered his last movie The French Dispatch at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Anderson has reportedly chosen Spain as the backdrop for his latest endeavor on account of its landscape and also the quality of its service companies and local production companies that take care of the paperwork, set construction, accommodation, transport and other related matters. Production, meanwhile, has been put in the hands of Indian Paintbrush, a company Anderson regularly works with.

Born in Houston, Anderson is famous for his distinctive visual and narrative style. Possessing a fascinating sense of aesthetics, he homes in on the minute detail of all the components that appear on camera, conjuring up extraordinary worlds using wardrobe and sets. His passion for visual symmetry and nostalgic humor is an integral part of his scripts and has turned him into a genre in his own right.

Having settled in France, the director has spent the last 10 years making films in Europe. Since shooting Moonrise Kingdom in 2012 in Rhode Island, he has not returned to his home country to film a movie. The Italian village for his Prada-produced shot film Castello Cavalcanti (2013) was built at Cinecittà Studios in Rome; he created his universe full of references to Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig and Europe’s interwar years in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) at the German Babelsberg Studios outside Berlin; and Isle of Dogs (2018), a stop-motion animated comedy, was shot in British studios. Meanwhile, the yet-to-be-released The French Dispatch about life in a French city during the 20th century according to reports published in a fictitious local English-language newspaper, was made in an immense industrial warehouse on the outskirts of Angoulême in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. This is the film that would have opened the 2020 Cannes Film Festival last year if the event hadn’t been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A mocked-up desert

Last week, several dozen workers were busy erecting immense classic Western sets in Chinchón. Beyond the scaffolding for the mocked-up desert that can be seen by the casual observer, a train station and train track are being recreated within a vast private estate. Anderson has not yet visited the location: before Cannes, he will be at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York where the 20th anniversary of the premiere of The Royal Tenenbaums will be celebrated in mid-June with a screening and a live-streamed conversation between Anderson and his artistic team.

Set being built on the outskirts of Chinchón for Wes Anderson’s latest movie.
Set being built on the outskirts of Chinchón for Wes Anderson’s latest movie. Víctor Sainz

In Chinchón, a town of 5,000 that lies 46 kilometers outside the Spanish capital, there is still no news of who will be in Anderson’s latest project, but the town’s mayor, Francisco Javier Martínez, is brimming with excitement nevertheless. “It is very important for the city,” he says. “It is true that we have been a regular location for numerous shoots, but that a major US production should be here for several months means an injection of life, prestige and publicity.”

From Chinchón’s famous Plaza Mayor square, Martínez adds that they have collaborated in the search for facilities for the film crew. “We have mediated in the negotiations with the Parador,” he says, referring to the former Augustinian monastery turned luxury hotel. “And also with other hotels and rural lodges. They [the film crew] are going to take over everything. The theater will be their center of operations and they will even be able to shoot there.”

There’s not much more Martínez can reveal: anything related to the film is strictly confidential. On the bulletin board inside city hall, a public notice signed by the local authorities and Film Madrid, the organization in charge of promoting the region as a film destination, states the project has “the support of City Hall” and requests the collaboration of the city’s inhabitants. According to Profilm, the Spanish association for international audiovisual production companies, 73% fewer foreign projects were developed in Spain in 2020. Direct investment went from €132 million in 2019 to €36 million last year.

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Director of movies such as Rushmore Academy and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Anderson is known for his meticulous attention to detail, his passion for diorama sets, his love of pastel colors and his penchant for coordinating tones according to the project. He is also famous for working with a recurring group of actors. With a budget of €35 million, the Chinchón movie will undoubtedly star some of his favorites – a cohort that includes Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Jason Schwartzman, who regularly collaborates with him on his scripts, and Bob Balaban. “I call them, but I never tell them the size of the role, which would be rude,” Anderson told EL PAÍS in 2014 at the premiere of The Grand Budapest Hotel. “I ask them for help to make the film, and they sign up.”

One of his actors described him as “Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince all grown up.” Anderson responded to the description, saying, “I don’t know what that means, really. Maybe he had a lot of fun on set.” Speaking about his childhood, he added, “I spent a lot of time drawing houses and elements of architecture, because that’s what I wanted to work in as an adult.” This helped creates his unique aesthetic, one that has greatly influenced contemporary interior design and Instagram. Regarding the off-set dynamics in Chinchón, he offered an insight when premiering The Isle of Dogs in Madrid. “The way I like to make films has a family feel,” he said at the time. “If I can, I try to have the whole crew live in the same hotel. I like to have lunch and dinner all together; so no one goes home.”

English version by Heather Galloway.

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

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Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

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Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.



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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

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House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.

Price

This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.

Soure: MyHome.ie

“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.

Homes

Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”


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