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Exclusive: Tribeca Review: ‘Aisha’ With Letitia Wright Gets World Premiere

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Tribeca Review: ‘Aisha’ With Letitia Wright Gets World Premiere

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Although set in the Republic of Ireland, this slight but surprisingly powerful film will hit a raw nerve in countries all over Europe in the wake of the Ukrainian refugee crisis. More specifically, it will likely have an impact on the U.K. arthouse circuit, after the British government’s recent, controversial decision to launder asylum-seekers via a scheme deporting them to Rwanda for processing.

Why its producers chose Tribeca as a launchpad, then, is a bit of mystery, and if it’s down to star power, any stray Marvel fans drawn by Letitia Wright’s MCU pedigree certainly won’t be in for a rollercoaster thrill-ride.

That said, anyone attuned to its creative team’s integrity and the film’s careful, considered tempo will likely be sympathetic to its concerns.

Wright, deceptively superb in an unshowy, understated way stars, as Aisha Osagie, a young Nigerian woman in her 20s living in a hostel in Ireland. While waiting to be granted leave to remain, Aisha has favored status that gives her permission to work as a hairdresser’s assistant, and allows her to send money back to her mother.

Things seem to take a turn for the brighter when Aisha is befriended by affable security guard Conor Healy (Josh O’Connor), who breaks company rules to spend time with Aisha and will try, in a subtly non-intrusive fashion, to find out what happened to her and her family, and why she feels her life would be in danger if she were to return to Nigeria.

However, after a run-in with the hostel’s owner, Aisha is asked to leave, and is relocated to a rural caravan park, far from her workplace and her lawyer, where she must wait until her interview with the immigration authorities finally comes around. Conor, who has fallen for her, watches all this from a bemused distance.

The level of care and detail, sometimes at the expense of story, give Frank Berry’s film an air of authenticity that, while a little earnest, does give him a bit of license to depart from the offbeat love story that other directors might have pursued. O’Connor, anointed an unlikely heartthrob by Francis Lee in his cult gay love story God’s Own Country (2017), is a very inspired piece of casting, playing Conor as an artless ex-junkie jailbird, down-low but with a quietly purring motor.

His performance is probably the dictionary definition of generous, giving Wright a lot of much-needed space so that when she finally breaks her silence, it doesn’t feel that her family tragedy is just a big dramatic reveal—asked by the authorities to tell them her story, Aisha snaps, “It is not a story”.

In terms of precedent, Aisha covers some of the same ground covered by Ben Sharrock’s excellent 2021 film Limbo, which offered a more existential—and surprisingly humorous—take on the depressing purgatory that refugees find themselves in. There’s also a lot of Ken Loach-style didacticism about red tape and bureaucracy, although, thankfully, it’s never quite as on-the-nose as the director’s Cannes hit I, Daniel Blake.

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Aisha sits somewhere in between, taking a small, personal story and using it as a lightning rod. The result is an unexpectedly effective piece of talking-point cinema; Aisha’s case is not as cut-and-dried as you might think it is, and the big takeaway from Berry’s film is about the wider question of international law and responsibility, not just talking easy shots at the flawed solutions that governments set in place. It’s a slow burn, and while it never quite ignites, Aisha leaves a surprisingly memorable afterglow.


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Exclusive: Joe Biden Needs to Meet the Moment on Abortion Rights – TalkOfNews.com

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President Joe Biden has vowed to do everything he can to fight for reproductive healthcare after the fall of Roe v. Wade, even calling on Thursday for a filibuster carve-out to protect abortion and other privacy rights. But a reported deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to appoint a conservative, anti-choice attorney to a federal court in Kentucky could contribute to doubts about the extent to which the administration grasps the severity of the situation — and its commitment to addressing it.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Biden is planning to name Chad Meredith — a member of the Federalist Society who served as a deputy counsel to former Republican Governor Matt Bevins — to a lifetime federal court appointment as part of a deal with McConnell to get other White House nominees approved by the Senate. The White House did not comment on the reported agreement, saying it does not publicly discuss pending nominations or vacancies. But Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth said Wednesday that the administration informed him of the coming move, which the Louisville congressman condemned. “I strongly oppose this deal and Meredith being nominated for the position,” Yarmuth said in a statement to the Courier-Journal. “The last thing we need is another extremist on the bench.”

“If the President makes that nomination, it is indefensible,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, told the outlet, expressing hope that the appointment had at least been put “on pause.”

The report of the agreement came as Democratic lawmakers and voters called for stronger action to protect Americans’ reproductive rights in the wake of Supreme Court conservatives’ decision striking down Roe and upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, a move Biden described as the “realization of an extreme ideology” and a “tragic error” by the right-wing justices.

“It just stuns me,” Biden said in an address following that 6-3 ruling. “This is a sad day for the country, in my view, but it doesn’t mean the fight is over.”

That fight is an uphill one, though. For years, Democrats have failed to show the same urgency in protecting abortion rights as Republicans have in seeking to strip them. Now, with states imposing draconian bans on the procedure in the wake of the Dobbs decision, national Democrats have limited options. The Biden administration is working on a slate of executive and agency actions to protect access to abortion medications and contraception and to help those in states where the procedure has been outlawed travel to other states for healthcare. On Thursday, Biden went further still, calling for the filibuster to be amended to allow the passage of legislation supporting privacy rights, including reproductive healthcare. (That came after a report published by Reuters Wednesday stating that “the White House is unlikely to take up the bold steps to protect women’s right to have an abortion that Democratic lawmakers have called for in recent days,” citing anonymous White House officials. A White House spokesperson disputed the report.)

“We have to codify Roe v. Wade into law,” Biden said. “If the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights. We should provide an exception for this.”

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But, as with voting rights, such a carve-out is unlikely to happen right now: Conservative Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema steadfastly oppose doing anything they say would weaken the Senate procedure, and are unlikely to budge. Democrats could make that move if they gain seats in the November midterms; as Senator Elizabeth Warren and others have noted, they may only need to expand their majority by two to get around Manchin, Sinema, and the Republicans.

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Exclusive: Chuck D Reacts After 'Jeopardy!' Player Forgets Public Enemy – TalkOfNews.com

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Exclusive: Beyoncé explains why she created Renaissance alongside epic new photo – TalkOfNews.com

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We now know a bit more about Beyoncé‘s forthcoming new album, Renaissance.

The superstar singer posted an ethereal photo of herself upon a see-through horse on her Instagram account on Thursday (Friday morning AEST), captioned with some insight.

“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” Beyoncé wrote.

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“It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom.

“It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

READ MORE: Dannii Minogue reveals her wildest celebrity encounters from Jennifer Lopez to Lenny Kravitz

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She released her first single, Break My Soul, from the new album last week and it became a quick hit.

The dance track was co-produced by the same team who brought us Single Ladies – Tricky Stewart and The-Dream. Jay-Z is also on the writing credits, as are the writers of Robin S’s 1993 hit Show Me Love, which is prominently sampled in the song.

In an apparent slight to major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the song initially appeared only on Tidal – the streaming service co-owned by Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z – three hours before its announced release time of midnight in the US, and on Vevo/YouTube an hour or so later.

Beyoncé has a history of this: her 2016 Lemonade album was available only on Tidal for three years.

Renaissance, the singer’s long-expected seventh album, is set to come out on July 29.

Beyoncé’s last full-length album was Lemonade in 2016 – the singer has actually released four albums since this blockbuster outing, although none of them are full Beyoncé solo albums.

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Beyonce released the first new song, Break My Soul, off the album last week (Getty)

“I hope you find joy in this music,” she said on Instagram.

“I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.”

Fans have already sleuthed information suggesting the album will contain 16 tracks, and signs of a multi-part release are clear from the billing as “Act 1”.

Sources told Variety the album will feature both dance and country-leaning tracks, with contributions from hit songwriter Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote Beyoncé’s 2008 hit Halo as well as hits for Adele, Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers and Tedder’s own group, OneRepublic.

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The new song initially appeared only on Tidal – the streaming service co-owned by Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z (Instagram / @beyonce)

Also said to be involved is Raphael Saadiq, who has crafted hits for Mary J Blige, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Andra Day as well as his own excellent solo albums, and executive-produced A Seat at the Table, Beyoncé’s sister Solange’s widely praised 2016 album.

– Reported with CNN and Variety.

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