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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
25 July 2003
This week the panel discussed:

Veronica Guerin
Veronica Guerin
You can never get away from the fact that you are watching Cate Blanchett.
Ian Rankin

The last film by American director Joel Schumaker was a surprisingly bloody thriller set almost entirely in a New York phone booth and whose release was delayed because of public sensitivity over the Washington sniper case.

That movie was pure fiction but his latest is based on recent fact - the brutal murder of the Irish Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996 by hit men from the Dublin underworld.

Cate Blanchett plays the feisty Guerin who came late to investigative reporting, beginning with scandals in the Catholic Church and ending with gangsters and drug barons known as the General, the Monk, the coach and a man called John Gilligan. She was a woman who was threatened and shot and beaten up in a bid to frighten her away but who always returned and asked the pithy questions.

Veronica Guerin, certificate 18, is on general release from 1 August.

Richard III
Richard III
It's a high-wire act. He pull it is off, I think, beautifully.
Bonnie Greer

The carefully judged balance between fact and fiction in Veronica Guerin is not so apparent - according to many historians in Shakespeare's early history play Richard III.

Partly the result of Tudor propaganda and partly in the name of good drama, the last Yorkist King is among the most tyrannical and deformed - morally and physically - of all Shakespeare's characters which is probably why Richard III has always been one of the bard's most popular plays.

Richard III is at the RSC in Stratford until 8th November.

America Beyond the Colour Line
Back in the early seventies a young American from West Virginia applied to Yale University with the following personal statement: "My grandfather was coloured, my father was Negro, I am black". He ended with the plea to be allowed to "prove myself".

I found him very irritating.
John Mullan

This was a the beginning of a glittering academic career which has led Henry Louis Gates Jnr to a Harvard Professorship in African American studies.

But how many other black Americans have managed it? Language or labelling may have evolved from coloured to African American but have attitudes and opportunities?

Well these are the big, often asked questions that Gates sets out to explore travelling across the country in' America Beyond the Colour Line', a four part series which begins in Hollywood where they claim that the only colour that matters is green.

Part one of Henry Louis Gates' series America Beyond the Colour Line is on BBC 2 at 1910, 27 July.

Eleven Minutes
Paulo Coelho
...a dreadful book
Ian Rankin

The Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is one of the most successful writers in the world: his previous 8 books have sold over 43 million copies in 56 different languages with his first novel the Alchemist shifting 27 million copies alone and numbering Bill Clinton among its many admirers.

His books are simply told fables which invariably wrestle with the quest for personal spiritual enlightenment and have been described both admiringly and disparagingly as new age self-help manuals.

His latest, a novel called Eleven Minutes which has already sold nearly 100,000 copies in Brazil, tells the story of a young Brazilian girl who goes off to find her fortune in Geneva and ends up in the oldest profession of them all.

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho is published by Harper Collins.

The panel were:

Newsnight Review, BBC Two's weekly cultural round-up, follows Newsnight on Friday evenings at 2300 BST, 2200 GMT.

Guerin film scores Irish success
15 Jul 03  |  Entertainment


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