Ayad Akhtar is a novelist, actor and screenwriter. And when his first play, Disgraced, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013, he also became one of the most talked about new voices in American theater.
Long before this buzz, though, Akhtar grew up in a Muslim family with roots in Pakistan. He mines this background to bring the inner lives and conflicts of Muslim Americans to the stage. His plays often feature cutting dialogue and confrontations steeped in the tension between Islamic tradition and personal evolution.
Banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi could hardly have found a more engaging surrogate than the four-legged co-star of Closed Curtain, the second movie Panahi has directed since he was officially forbidden from doing so. Making his entrance by hopping from the duffel bag that's hidden him, the dog called Boy embodies Iranian outcasts at their friskiest.
There's a beautifully revealed detail early in Aarón Fernández's The Empty Hours. It comes soon after the film's protagonist, 17-year-old Sebastián (Kristyan Ferrer), arrives in Veracruz, Mexico, to look after his uncle Gerry's motel for a few weeks. Gerry (Fermín Martínez), who has to leave town for a series of medical tests, gives Sebastián a tour of the premises, shows him where he keeps the cleaning supplies, takes him into one of the rooms, and explains an essential part of the cleaning process: There must always be a box of paper tissues next to the bed.
Eileen Ford, who is credited with inventing the modern modeling business and in the process launching the careers of supermodels such as Lauren Hutton, Christie Brinkley and Naomi Campbell, has died at 92.
A spokeswoman who handles public relations for Ford Models confirmed Wednesday's death, which follows a fall Ford took last week at her New York apartment.
Usually when characters age in movies, they're covered with makeup and outfitted with prosthetics — or directors use different actors as the characters grow older. But in the new film Boyhood, none of that is necessary.
The film takes place over the course of 12 years, and it was shot over the course of 12 years. So we watch the actors getting older for real, which gives their characters a sense of authenticity.