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'Eastern Promises' Official Website Is Open

Source: Focus Features.
Found By: Paradise
Categories: Eastern Promises

Our thanks to Paradise for the heads up.

Checkout all of the Eastern Promises features here.

© Focus Features.

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And now, the moment so many have been waiting for ... the Breaking Bread For Peace cookbook is now available for purchase.

Found By: Kelly and Linda

Please ... take a journey with us toward Peace as we celebrate the wonder of our diversity.

Visit HERE to purchase or download your copy.

All proceeds benefit 1,2,3 ... Hi Baby!
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

It is our hope that this project will be as beneficial to 1, 2, 3 ... Hi Baby! as it has been rewarding in its creation.

May we all learn to be tolerant of each others differences, and grow peace for a better tomorrow.

© K.Baker.

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Additional 'Eastern Promises' Footage

Found By: BearyDB
Categories: Eastern Promises

Our thanks to BearyDB for surfacing this additional footage from Eastern Promises.

Check it out at Clip #2.


© 1996-2007,, Inc/Focus Features. Images © Focus Features.

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Viggo Mortensen's Bookshelf

A HoV: Ghent Film Festival October 14, 2005
A HoV: Ghent Film Festival October 14, 2005.
© Indian Moon. Used by permission.
From the latest edition of Oprah Magazine.

Poems, novels, essays, histories. The actor (and writer, and publisher) goes to press with his favorite titles.

In 2002 I started a small publishing company called Perceval Press, with the help of Pilar Perez, a curator I'd previously worked with at the Santa Monica, California, gallery Track 16. The company's name came from the Arthurian legend, in which Perceval and other knights arrive at the edge of a forest and decide each must make his own path through it. This approach, metaphorically speaking, seems to me a creative way to look at life. Before starting the business, Pilar and I asked author and publisher Dave Eggers if he had any advice for us. What we took from him--though his company, McSweeney's, is much bigger than ours--was the idea of being very hands-on and uncompromising in terms of content, design, and distribution.

Putting together books well can be a rewarding challenge. Everyone at Perceval--from our designer, Michele Perez, and Sandra Fu, who took over from Pilar, to my brother Walter Mortensen and myself-- has found satisfaction in helping create publications tailored to individual authors and artists. We make sure they're happy with every aspect of the finished work: editing, font, layout, type of paper, images, etc. Writers are often pleasantly surprised that they have so much say. I tell them, "You're not likely to get rich-- to be honest, your book may not make a profit for quite a while. But I can promise it'll be a book made as close to the way you have envisioned it as possible, well designed and produced." It's satisfying to be able to provide that service to artists whose efforts might not otherwise be presented in quite the manner they would like, if at all.

Viggo Mortensen is in the film Eastern Promises. His most recent book, I Forget You For Ever, is available at
Kalakuta Republic
By Chris Abani

This collection of poems might be hard to find. Abani was a prodigy; as a teenager, he wrote his first novel, but eventually somebody in the Nigerian government said he was a subversive, so he was thrown in jail for six months, where he was tortured. He wasn't a political person, but that experience woke him up. He became involved with other like-minded people and was imprisoned again. Abani is now a novelist and poet and teaches at the University of California, Riverside. In spite of his experiences, he doesn't seem bitter. Everybody suffers at some point or knows someone who suffers, and it's how you behave when things aren't going well that tells the most about your character. That's what impressed me--his grace and compassion in the face of suffering more horrible than most of us will ever even dream of experiencing. And he's turned it into art.
House of Meetings
By Martin Amis

When I was in England, playing a Russian in the film Eastern Promises, I read and reread lots of Russian literature and poetry. Then this book came out. Amis creates a particular world, a place where, even when overt torture isn't happening, there's a certain atmosphere of brutality. The novel traces the reminiscences of an old man, one of two brothers sent to a Gulag in Siberia who both loved the same woman. It's about jealousy. It's about violence and confession. And it's also about resistance--how the brothers support and betray each other--and how the woman is a victim of their callousness. It's an interesting character study, and one of Amis's leanest pieces of writing.
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
By Howard Zinn

I love Howard Zinn. This collection of essays is a great book for anybody who wants to be better informed about history, regardless of their political point of view. I think Zinn is one of the most responsible, lively, and brave commentators on U.S. history now living. He's constantly sounding the wake-up call, and we owe it to ourselves and our children to listen.
What We Knew
By Eric A. Johnson and Karl-Heinz Reuband

A number of books have been written about Germany between roughly 1933, when Hitler came to power, and the end of the Third Reich. But this collection of oral histories of Jews and "Ordinary Germans" is impossible to put down. It helps put in context the ambivalence and slowness of citizens to react to Hitler's ruinous rise and domination. You realize that Germans never imagined that Hitler would so rapidly and profoundly change the system. It's not an easy thing to answer today--why people didn't resist more--but this book has made me think a lot about our times. Damaging changes and loss of civil liberties, of popular voices of dissent, can occur rapidly, with dire consequences, as has been seen in the East and West in recent years. This book serves as a practical lesson in history and a warning for the future.
Lies My Teacher Told Me
By James W. Loewen

In this critique of high school history books, the chapter that affected me most was called "Red Eyes." It traces a more expansive history of Native Americans in this country--beyond Squanto and the first Thanksgiving. It's often difficult to develop a real sense of the United States and its place in the world. That's why I'm interested in writers who devote their professional lives to informing themselves--and, by extension, us.

© 2007 Harpo Productions, Inc. Images © Indian Moon.

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Cronenberg delivers, again

Source: Globe and Mail
© Focus Features.
Our thanks to Chrissie for being the first to send this our way.


Eastern Promises is his second almost-conventional thriller in a row, Liam Lacey writes - with the emphasis on almost

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
August 15, 2007 at 3:54 AM EDT

A new film by David Cronenberg is always an event, and perhaps more so following the commercial and critical success of A History of Violence, his 2005 hit starring Viggo Mortensen as an apparently ordinary family man with a very dangerous past.

Since that film (which went on to two Academy Award nominations) had its debut at Cannes, Cronenberg's name has been linked to a number of other projects, including a sci-fi story called Painkillers, which he was to write.

He was also supposed to be involved with an adaptation of Martin Amis's novel London Fields and a Hollywood-set film, Maps to the Stars, written by Bruce Wagner (Wild Palms).

But instead of these, we have Eastern Promises, a London thriller involving Russian mobsters dealing in sex-slave traffic.

Mortensen returns as a smooth underling to a crime boss (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and his out-of-control son (Vincent Cassel), who is charged with making sure an innocent midwife (Naomi Watts) does not reveal secrets she has inadvertently learned about the ruthless crime family.

The 64-year-old Canadian director, dressed in a black jacket and T-shirt, with grey hair styled in a characteristic Samuel Beckett-like stand, is, famously, an amiable, calm man who makes movies that often show extreme portrayals of sexuality and violence.

With Eastern Promises, Cronenberg has delivered what appears to be a second almost-conventional thriller in a row.

Not only will it play the Toronto International Film Festival in September, but it will open two other major international film festivals, The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival and the 55th annual San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.

As for the other projects, they've all gone away. He "fell out of love" with his own screenplay, Painkillers, and one way or the other, all the other projects have faded away. In some cases, he says, rumoured projects have been news to him.

"It's sort of an IMDB [Internet Movie Database] problem, you know. Things have a reality on there and it's very difficult to get them off."

Eastern Promises was written by Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) and was developed by BBC Films, where it had been hung up in development for some time before Cronenberg received the script through an agent. Robert Lantos's Serendipity films also became involved, making this a British-American-Canadian production.

Cronenberg immediately suggested Mortensen for the role of the Russian gangster "because I always felt he had a very Russian face."

But first, he felt there had to be more work paring down Knight's script: "What it was, was a first draft - and he tried a whole bunch of different ideas in the same script and not all of them worked ..."

Neither British, nor Russian, Cronenberg may not have been the most obvious choice for the film, but he says an outsider has advantages: "You can look at it with a pretty cold eye, which I think is a good thing. There's a lot of political correctness in England, and I don't care about that. It rolls off my back. And, of course, there's the class thing, which is always present. London is very segmented and people have strong ideas about different areas, but this was not going to be a posh movie. This wasn't Notting Hill. We shot in a lot of areas like Harlesden and Hackney where films aren't usually shot - immigrant places, dangerous places, not glamorous places, but they're full of history and full of life."

Mortensen, who travelled to Russia to live for a while to prepare for the role, sent Cronenberg a book about Russian criminal tattoos, which inspired Cronenberg to work them into a subplot. For Cronenberg devotees, it will be a classic example of the kind of body transformation themes have characterized his work for more than 35 years. But the scene that will undoubtedly prove the major talking point of the film is a bathhouse fight between Mortensen and two other men that is loaded with extreme violence along with nudity.

Initially, Cronenberg and his set designer had found what they thought was a perfect London bathhouse with lots of small rooms and corridors that was "creepy and great," but when the owners decided to renovate and modernize it, the filmmakers had to build their own. Working initially with models, he told the stunt co-ordinator what he wanted. The stunt co-ordinator spent a couple of hours a week with the three actors involved, with Cronenberg dropping in to monitor the action. Then the actors performed it in slow motion while Cronenberg worked out his camera moves: "I didn't want Bourne [Ultimatum]-style impressionism where you don't actually see what's going on. People go to the movies to transform, or live another life, and I wanted them to feel that they were there, that they were vulnerable."

Somewhere in there, he says, there was the question of what to do with the towels.

"I'll fight naked. That's how it would happen," Cronenberg says of Mortensen's reaction. "There wasn't even a discussion about what else we do because Viggo knows I'd be too restricted if I couldn't shoot him from the waist down."

Cronenberg says he's already got feedback commenting on the bravery of the scene. "These days with DVDs and screen grabs and so on, we know there will be naked shots of him on the Internet, so the naturally vulnerability of the actor is increased, but we also know that's how the scene must be played."

© CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. Images © Focus Features.

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Last edited: 26 November 2014 13:52:39