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Portraits

William Moulton Marston, the man behind the Wonder Woman

Who's who - May 24, 2017

Talk about multitasking: William Moulton Marston is an inventor, psychologist, writer, comics scenarist, committed feminist among other things. He isn’t your average inventor though. He’s responsible for the blood pressure test that was the genesis for the lie detector test in 1922.

Fired from many colleges because of his work and pro-women initiatives (for example he had tried to prove that women are more honest, trustworthy and better workers than men), he was hired in 1930 as an editorial adviser for Max Gaines… only the guy who is considered the inventor of the comic book.

In 1941, Martson showed his latest invention to an All-American Publications editor, a female super hero who is “the alternative to all the male-dominated violence”: Wonder Woman! Initially christened “Suprema the Wonder Woman”, Marston took inspiration from the feminist movement of the time, from which his wife was part of. As a tribute to his first invention, Marston gave Wonder Woman a magic lasso that forces her enemies to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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Charles Moulton trying to get his secretary to tell the truth © Smithsonian Librairies

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Georges Huisman, Cannes’ first president of the jury.

Who's who - May 17, 2017

It’s hard to imagine but there was a time when cinema’s A-listers weren’t headlining the festival. Georges Huisman, historian and head of the School of Fine Arts, was named as the president of the steering comity of the very first Cannes Film Festival originally planned for 1939. Unfortunately, the Second World War made it impossible for the festival to be launched and it was in 1946 that the first edition took place with Huisman as the president of the jury. He would go on to preside the jury for two more years and to this day, some still consider him a key figure in the story of the world-renowned festival. Thank you Georges !

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There were already paparazzi though © France Culture

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Who’s Who? Cannes jury members – discretion incarnate

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Philip Castle, the man behind the poster for "Clockwork Orange"

Who's who - May 10, 2017

It is one of the most famous posters in the history of cinema. Famous because the film is a classic. Famous because its director is Stanley Kubrick. Famous because of the work of English artist Philip Castle. His signature technique: airbrush, a sort of miniature paint gun.

At the end of the 1960s, young Philip, who had recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, placed an advert in the London Evening Standard offering his services as an illustrator. The first to contact him was none other than Stanley Kubrick’s advertising manager, who invited him to the house of the famous director to talk about the poster for his next movie, a film adaptation of the novel by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange, released in 1962.

Obviously this was Castle’s golden ticket and a few years later he was chosen to design yet another Kubrick movie poster: Full Metal Jacket. He went on to come up with album covers for David Bowie (“Alladin Sane”, 1973), Pulp (“His ‘n’ Hers”, 1994), Metronomy (“Night’s Out”, 2008), The Rolling Stones (“It’s Only Rock n Roll (But I Like It)”, 1974) and many more. He is also responsible for the posters for movies Mars Attacks by Tim Burton (1996), The Boyfriend by Ken Russel (1971) as well as Jack Nicholson’s Goin’ South (1978).

Moral of the story: whether it is clockwork one or not, “orange” will take you far.

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“It’s very pointy…”, is what Philip Castle had to about the knife in his poster ©P. Castle

 

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Agustín Almodóvar, brother and producer

Who's who - May 03, 2017

If Pedro Almodóvar has enjoyed true artistic freedom throughout his career, it has a lot to do with his little brother: Agustín.

In 1986, they founded the production company El Deseo. From then on, all of Almodóvar’s movies were produced independently, as well as a few French co-productions. It is also thanks to this company created with his brother that the filmmaker was able to work in Spain (rather than Hollywood for example) and build a filmography that is oh-so-Spanish, from the language, music and aesthetic choices.

That’s what bros are for!

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Agustín, the other Almodóvar © Ruben Ortega

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Cannes jury members – discretion incarnate

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Mundiya Kepanga, the Papuan chief is Robert Redford’s new BFF

Who's who - April 26, 2017

Papua New Guinea is home to one of the richest and oldest forests in the world. Although it covers nearly 70% of the country’s surface, with 20 000 species of plants, 1500 species of trees, 3 000 species of insects and more than 750 species of birds, it could be halved by 2021. The reason? The unrestrained logging of large trees by foreign companies.

To avoid deforestation, the traditional chief Mundiya Kepanga knew exactly what to do. First, Marc Dozier, a long-time friend of his, made him the main protagonist of his documentary « Frères Des Arbres » (« Brothers Of Trees »).

Also, during an international tour to talk about the situation of Papua New Guinea’s biggest forest, the Papuan chief crossed paths with movie star Robert Redford, who is also an ecologist, and invited him to visit him in his village. Great way to raise awareness … and you never know, maybe Mundiya will teach him how to whisper in the ears of trees…

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Robert Redford with Mundiya Kepenga, Papuan traditional chief © UNESCO/F.Gentile

 

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Mark Schmidt designs your favorite video games sets through AI

Who's who - April 19, 2017

Lately, video games enthusiasts seem obsessed with one thing : open worlds. From GTA to Fallout 4 and the latest Zelda, everybody wants to see their characters evolve in the widest of world. Because they wanted to do other things than drawing 3D environments for the rest of their lives, Mark Schmidt and some other engineers had the fantastic idea of turning to artificial intelligence for help. In order to create infinite hyper-realistic sets, the American professor at the University of British Columbia has developed a technique allowing the AI to scan a large number of datas (photos, geolocations, etc.) before reinterpreting them graphically.

So we should all thank Mark Schmidt and his co-workers, because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to go all those virtual places

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Like we can see in Red Dead Redemption, words are now infinite © Rockstar Games

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Samir Abdelkrim, the French-Algerian entrepreneur who wants to “Innovate to finance innovation”

Who's who - April 12, 2017

In a near future, “why not imagine two, three or even four African Kickstarters which would finance african innovations?” It is one of the numerous ideas Samir Abdelkrim, entrepreneur and founder of StartupBRICS.com, the first french-language media for innovation in emerging countries.

Relying on both its multi-faceted internet platform (strategic advice, linking and awareness raising, promotion and financing support) and its tech-reporter skills for Le Monde and Les Echos, he wants to show the rest of the world that Africa and the emerging countries will soon become the future champions of innovation.

8 months a year, this startup scout explores entrepreneurial ecosystems in Africa, but also in India. From Mauritania and Kenya to Gabon and Botswana, he has already visited 21 african countries to get in touch with the talents of tomorrow. His adventure is detailled in his book Startup Lions which is the ultimate guide for startups in Africa (it is also full of potent quotes!)

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Samir Abdelkrim (center) and other highly motivated african entrepreneurs © Startup Lions

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The guy with the most WTF question

Who's who - April 05, 2017

Speakers know it well: the classic Q&A session that takes place right after their interventions are usually interrupted by an absurd question by an attendee who hasn’t quite gotten everything right or who wants to stand out. The research scientists of Rennes’ L’Espace Des Sciences in France were taken aback when they had to answer this question:I’d like to know, if there was a robot that detects if a fly has been in contact with a corpse in the country side, and goes inside people’s houses, and goes on bread and butter, and earthworms, before people eat it… that it detects the worm, that it isn’t infected… We don’t hear that people can eat earthworm. Because there was a problem?”
Needless to say the speakers couldn’t come up with a correct answer either.

Go to 1:27:24

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Erik Wallenberg, Tetra Pak’s founder

Who's who - March 29, 2017

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Engineer Erik Wallenberg and the very first Tetra Pak prototype © Wikipédia

 

Story time! This week, we tell you everything about one of the most revolutionary packagings in history: the Tetra Pak. Invented in 1944 by the Swiss engineer Erik Wallenberg, it is the flagship product of the Swedish company of the same name. Though it has been produced in every shape, size, color, and texture ever since, initially the Tetra Pak was a practical and commercial application of a complex geometric figure, the tetrahedron, already studied by the builders of large Pyramids of Egypt 4500 years before.

The Tetra Pak is a very good example of the power that packaging can have on our eating habits. Today, children and even adults do not disassociate fruit juices from their individual rectangular Tetra Brik packaging. Some would almost forget those are actually FRUIT juices.

This is precisely what Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa wanted to prove, creating a very original packaging: bricks which shapes, colors and even textures correspond to the fruit juices they contain. The result was astonishing!

Another Australian designer, Preston Grubb, has come up with a whole other concept: individual Tetra Briks filled with juice which, when pieced together, take the form of an orange.

Clearly the Tetra Pack mania, initiated by Wallenberg, isn’t slowing down anytime soon!

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At first there was the fruit © Dark Design Group

 

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Ed Sheeran volunteers at a charity shop

Hashtag portrait - March 22, 2017

Everybody loves Ed Sheeran, he was voted the biggest male pop star on the planet by GQ magazine, he’s been ruling the charts all over the world with his new album, he is about to guest-star on the next season of Game Of Thrones … AND, his involvement with charity in England proves that he has a big heart. We love you, Ed <3

#DressLikeEd: In 2014, the singer started to get acquainted with charity shops in his small hometown of Framlingham, England, by sending several bags of clothes that belonged to him. An initiative that has inspired fans to make donations to similar stores.

#Break: In late August 2015, after selling nearly 6 million albums worldwide, Ed Sheeran was at the height of his glory. Yet the famous British singer-songwriter clearly didn’t let it go to his head. Instead of capitalizing on his success, he decided to take a break and volunteer in one of Framlingham’s charity shops.

#BridgetJones: As a volunteer at the charity shop, Ed Sheeran seems to have found a true vocation. Recently, for example, he gave away to Framlingham’s St Elizabeth Hospice a shirt his fans saw him wearing during his cameo in the movie Bridget Jones Baby, as well as 13 bags of clothes that belonged to him.

#GoT: While it has just been announced that Ed Sheeran will have a role in the next season of Game of Thrones, we have every reason to think that, within a few months, we’ll be able to find an armor, a coat of mail or an elf outfit at the singer’s favorite charity shop. To be continued!

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No words on whether he washed his shirt before giving it away 😀 © Drew de F Fawkes

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