Posts Tagged ‘Italy’


Angels and Churches

June 18, 2008

Clapperboard The Diocese of Rome is being remarkably petty. Sadly, it is no great surprise.

They have refused permission for various churches in Rome to be used in the filming of Angels and Demons, based on the book of the same name by Dan Brown. Key action sequences in Brown’s bestseller were set in the Chigi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo and other prominent Rome churches, but will now have to be filmed somewhere else.

This ban is infantile and unbecoming on at least two counts.

Firstly, whereas the church may have a gripe with Brown it is over his most successful work, The Da Vinci Code, which has already been filmed, because its premise revolves around an unorthodox rendering of the life of Jesus. There is nothing in Angels and Demons that attacks the foundations of the Roman Catholic faith. Alright, a number of clerics meet untimely deaths in churchy surroundings but that is not the issue. The church don’t like Brown because he has made a lot of money out of “telling porkies about Jesus”, so they won’t let him come round to play any more.

But what I find the most petty is that this ban will not stop anyone, believer or otherwise, from seeing the film nor change what is portrayed in it. If Director Ron Howard can’t shoot in the Chigi Chapel then his scouts will find some other church somewhere to play stunt double and hardly anyone will know the difference or care. They won’t be able to use the original Bernini statue of Habbakuk and the Angel so they’ll make a passable facsimile out of papier mache. So it will waste the film studio’s time and money but otherwise achieve nothing. If that isn’t petty and childish then I don’t know what is.

I wonder if the film’s star Tom Hanks will reprise the eyebrow-raising hairstyle he sported in The Da Vinci Code? Now that’s a sound reason to ban him from a church, or anywhere else for that matter.

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Dutch Dilemma

June 15, 2008

Holland have already won their group in Euro 2008. Better than that, they have a golden opportunity to dump both Italy and France out of the tournament. All they have to do is let Romania win in their final group game in Berne on 17 June.

If Romania beat Holland in that game they are guaranteed to finish second, and both Italy and France will fail to qualify for the knock-out stages, whatever the result of the contest between them in Zurich on the same day.

It must be oh, so tempting for Dutch coach Marco van Basten. France and Italy may both have struggled in the tournament so far but they both have the potential to prove a far greater threat to Holland in the closing rounds than do Romania. So easy to get rid of them both at a stroke, to turn the battle between them into a meaningless, futile struggle.

But how could Marco get away with such a thing? To be seen to be deliberately letting Romania win would result in cries of foul play from Italy and France. Holland might get into serious hot water over it.

It is not like Portugal playing a weakened team and losing 2-0 to Switzerland tonight. Even if Switzerland had won 200-0, Portugal would still have topped their group and the Swiss would still have finished last. The game was academic, of no consequence.

For Holland to contrive a defeat against Romania would deprive France and Italy of an opportunity to progress in the tournament. So Marco would have to think of a very clever and subtle way to do it. To make it look like his team were trying really hard to win but somehow manage to lose. Giving away a penalty would be too obvious. Same thing with the goalie diving spectacularly over the ball, or strikers missing open goals. Sure to attract accusations of match fixing.

Marco can’t really trust to his players’ acting skills. He’d do better to leave out 2 or 3 of his best players (justifiable given the group is won – he is entitled to rest them and protect them from risk of injury in those circumstances), motivate the team on the day to play to the best of their best abilities, but pick a formation or choose tactics which he knows will not work well against Romania. It can’t be too outlandish, but he should be able to set up some advantages for Romania that will prove decisive over the course of the match. He’s a clever guy. He’ll think of something, and make it look like Romania just played a blinder.

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