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Edvard Munch wrote hidden ‘madman’ message on ‘The Scream’

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Edvard Munch wrote hidden 'madman' message on 'The Scream'

This finding will make art lovers scream all over again.

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” — an 1893 expressionist painting so famous it has its own emoji — contains a disturbing hidden message that art historians have now determined was written by the artist himself.

The pencil inscription reads: “Can only have been painted by a madman,” infrared scans have shown.

And though historians have long known about the phrase, small and hidden among the distorted brushstrokes that make up the howling figure, there’s been some speculation that it was graffitied by an observer, not the Norwegian artist.

But that mystery can now be put to bed, said Mai Britt Guleng, curator of old masters and modern paintings at Norway’s National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, which owns the painting.

Guleng and her staff made the breakthrough discovery after comparing the handwriting in the inscription to the Norwegian artist’s diaries and letters.

“The writing is without a doubt Munch’s own,” she told the BBC. “The handwriting itself, as well as events that happened in 1895, when Munch showed the painting in Norway for the first time, all point in the same direction.”

The mysterious origins of the phrase help complete a sad picture: Munch created the painting, which has now become a universal symbol for mortal anxiety, just after his sister Laura was committed to an asylum with bipolar disorder.

Though the screaming figure doesn’t look like him, it’s believed to be influenced by his own experience of observing a blood red sky after being abandoned by two companions, seen in the background. In that moment, he was hit by a “gust of melancholy,” according to his diary.

After Munch unveiled the painting, reactions centered on his own mental health, rather than the painting itself.

The experts said it stands to reason that Munch wrote the “madman” inscription after struggling with the many critical reviews at the time. In 1908, he suffered a mental breakdown.

“It’s a combination of being ironic, but also showing his vulnerability,” Guleng told the Guardian. “He is actually taking this very seriously and he is hurt because there is a history of illness in his family, and he was very anxious, but he showed himself be marked by it.”

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How Disney decides which content gets ‘offensive’ disclaimer

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How Disney decides which content gets 'offensive' disclaimer

Disney holds monthly meetings to determine what content in its archive needs to have a warning added. 

The meetings are held virtually and are “very raw” according to one attendee. 

“We’ve had some very raw conversations on those Zooms,” African American Film Critics Association President Gil Robertson told the Hollywood Reporter. As part of Disney’s Stories Matter initiative’s advisory council, Robertson and his colleagues watch films believed to possibly be problematic and then tell Disney their reaction. 

“They want to make up for any offensive messaging they may have been a part of,” Robertson told the publication. “It feels sincere, and it’s also good business.”

In November 2019, when Disney launched its Disney+ streaming service, the company added content warnings ahead of its animated classics “Dumbo” (1941), “The Jungle Book” (1967) and “Aladdin” (1992) to warn audiences that the movies “may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

The iconic films “Aristocats” (1970), “Peter Pan” (1953) and “Swiss Family Robinson” (1960) also feature the warning ahead of the film.

The highly controversial “Song of the South” (1946) is not available on the streaming service.

Most recently, “The Muppet Show” had warning disclaimers placed prior to each episode, warning viewers that the show features “stereotypes” and “mistreatment of people or cultures.”

“Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together,” the disclaimer says, adding “Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”

The disclaimers are not a signal that the films have been canceled, Ben Mankiewicz, a host on classic TV network TCM, told the Reporter.

“Nobody’s canceling these movies,” he said. “Our job is not to get up and say, ‘Here’s a movie that you should feel guilty about for liking.’ But to pretend that the racism in it is not painful and acute? No. I do not want to shy away from that. This was inevitable. And welcomed. And overdue.”

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Edie Falco cast as Hillary Clinton in ‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’

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Edie Falco cast as Hillary Clinton in 'Impeachment: American Crime Story'

“The Sopranos” star Edie Falco is stepping up to play yet another embattled spouse — this time a very real, high-profile one.

The 57-year-old actress has been cast as former first lady Hillary Clinton in the FX drama “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” according to Collider. The next installment of the anthology series — produced by Ryan Murphy (“Hollywood,” “Pose”) — will chronicle the sex scandal between former President Bill Clinton and onetime White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent political fallout.

Falco won Golden Globe awards in 2000 and 2003 and Emmys in 2003, 2001 and 1999 for her portrayal of put-upon mob wife Carmella Soprano in HBO’s 1999 to 2007 drama, which co-starred the late James Gandolfini as her philandering husband, mafia boss Tony Soprano.

Others previously cast in the production include Clive Owen as Bill Clinton; Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky; Sarah Paulson as former White House staffer Linda Tripp; Annaleigh Ashford as sexual-harassment accuser Paula Jones; Billy Eichner as Matt Drudge, and Betty Gilpin as right-wing pundit Ann Coulter.

“Hillary is actually not a significant character in ‘Impeachment’ because it’s really told from the point of view of these women who were really far from the center of power,” FX CEO John Landgraf told the Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “It’s really a revisionist history as told through the point of view of these women, whose stories did not seem in any way central to the political stakes of what was going on but who became really central to that.

“Hillary is a character in it, but she’s not one of the main characters in it,” he added.

Murphy’s production is based on disgraced ex-New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin’s 2000 book “A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal that Nearly Brought Down a President.”

Filming on the series — which had been slated for a 2020 debut but no longer has a firm premiere date —  was temporarily halted in December due to a positive COVID-19 test on set. 

Sarah Burgess is adapting the book for television, and producers will include Lewinsky, Henrietta Conrad and Jemima Khan. Joining Murphy and Burgess as executive producers are Paulson, Feldstein, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander and Alexis Martin Woodall.

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Music video spurs outrage with porn star cameo on Iranian app

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Music video spurs outrage with porn star cameo on Iranian app

An American adult film star has enraged officials in Iran by appearing in a music video on an Iranian entertainment app.

Released by 32-year-old Iranian pop star Sasan Yafteh, a trailer for the full-length video for the track “Tehran Tokyo” features porn actress Alexis Texas, 35, sensually removing a head covering and coat before dancing with Yafteh, who goes by Sasy.

The video has racked up more than 13 million views since Sasy, who lives in California, posted it to his Instagram account, which has over 4.6 million followers. His Story on the app is full of reposts of people across the globe re-enacting and lip-syncing to the trailer. 

A full-length version of the video was expected to be released Wednesday at 8 p.m. Tehran time on radio station and app Radio Javan.

Iranian authorities intensely censor social media and entertainment distribution — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram are all blocked in the country, reported the Associated Press — and legally require foreign-made music, including songs that are in the nation’s official language of Persian, to get official distribution permission. The “Tehran Tokyo” appearance on the Iranian entertainment app has prompted fury and an investigation by officials, with citizens also expressing outrage via social media at the video’s perceived problematic influence on youth. 

None of Sasy’s videos are authorized in that country, but the pop singer remains popular among the nation’s teenagers, many of whom access banned social media sites via virtual private networks (VPNs) and other means of getting around digital restrictions. 

Sasy operated as an underground singer in Iran before leaving the country in 2009. He has since established himself in the US, although he maintains an international audience of fans.  

The controversy around “Tehran Tokyo” stems from conservative Iranian government members who blame social media for being part of the West’s “soft war” against the Islamic Republic, the AP wrote.

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