‘Girl’ power fuels G8

Telepic has lofty aud

A movie scripted by Richard Curtis can usually be relied upon to take $250 million in worldwide box office. But Curtis’ latest effort, “The Girl in the Cafe,” has a different ambition.

It’s the scribe’s first telepic, for a start, and it’s ultimately intended for an audience of just eight men: the leaders of world’s eight richest nations, who will meet in Gleneages, Scotland, at the end of June for the annual G8 conference.

“The Girl in the Cafe,” which stars Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald and will be broadcast on the BBC, HBO and stations all around the globe in the last week of June, is a cornerstone of the “Make Poverty History” campaign. This aims to persuade the G8 leaders to honor their previous commitment to cut global poverty in half by 2015, through debt relief, aid and changes in trade laws.

“The Girl in the Cafe,” directed by David Yates, is the story of a cripplingly shy civil servant who falls for a mysterious girl and takes her with him to the G8 conference, with embarrassing results. It’s romantic and funny, as you’d expect from Curtis, but more than that, it ends with a direct challenge to the G8 leaders.

Its explicit purpose (tacitly encouraged by U.K. premier Tony Blair and his Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who are chairing the upcoming conference) is to galvanize public pressure upon their governments to act.

HBO and the BBC, which co-financed the movie, produced by Hilary Bevan Jones, will both screen it June 25, just days before the conference starts. It will be simulcast by BBC Prime across Africa and has also been sold to broadcasters in all the other G8 nations, along with a score of other countries.

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