A Poem for Harvey Weinstein

01 October, 2013 by Don Groves

Maverick US producer/distributor Harvey Weinstein is coming to Australia next month to accept the Canberra International Film Festival’s inaugural Body of Work award.

Weinstein, whose firm bought the US rights to Tracks and The Railway Man and distributed The Sapphires and The King’s Speech, will take part in film screenings, panel discussions and Q&As in Canberra on November 22-24.


Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob founded Miramax Films in 1979  and The Weinstein Company in 2005. A creative force whose credits as producer or executive producer include Shakespeare in Love, Gangs of New York, Silver Linings Playbook, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, The Aviatior and Chocolat, he earned the nickname Harvey Scissorhands for his predilection of cutting films such as Shaolin Soccer, Hero and Princess Mononoke for US release.

In August IF revealed that Weinstein was embroiled in a row with Korean director Bong Joon-ho over his post-Apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer. The English-language film stars Chris Evans as the leader of a revolt on a train that carries the last survivors of the human race after an experiment to end global warming fails. The cast includes Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Ko Ah-sung, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Octavia Spencer.

Bong’s 126 minute film opened in Korea on August 1, selling nearly 3.3 million tickets in the first five days for a gross of US$21.4 million. IF learned that Weinstein had demanded Bong slash the running time by 20 minutes for the version to be released in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It will be released in Oz by Roadshow Films.

“Me and The Weinstein Company are still negotiating about everything," Bong said at the Deauville festival. “The movie at the festival, the French version is my own director’s cut. In Korea, Japan, France and many other European countries have all bought my director’s cut. And for North America we are still negotiating with The Weinstein Company, we are discussing."

Swinton, however, weighed into the debate, saying,“ There’s no question that all English speaking audiences deserve to see director Bong’s cut, and we hope very much that we will all see it.”

Tongue-in-cheek, film writer Geoff Gardner, who blogs at Film Alert, has composed a poem for Harvey, with apologies to Banjo Paterson.

There was total consternation
For the word had got around
That the greatest of them all
Was on his way
Harv would be in Canberra
To give us all the drum
On how to win the prizes
And keep the circling mob at bay.
Harvey Scissorhands they dubbed him
And your taxes are at work
To bring the great man
To the capital.
He will tell of his adventures
With Zhang and Bong and Wong
Cutting cleanly so the mob will be in thrall.
Harv has won the Oscar, the Palme D’or
And many more.
His protégés range far and wide around the globe.
But too many live in fear of him
For Harv is one who knows
What plays best in Maine and Idaho.
And what plays best is shorter
Simpler to a T
And better dubbed in English
As it's spoke
In Montana, Alabama
And Washington DC
Everywhere you find the average sort of bloke