Funny old world: The week’s offbeat news

From Vietnam’s leaders not being able to take a joke, to why Jude Law is proud that his new film stinks… Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

Not so close, Jude

British star Jude Law — the former face of Dior Homme — doused himself in a special fragrance to get in the mood to play Henry VIII, the English monarch who liked to chop and change wives, in the movie “Firebrand”, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Henry was getting old and moldy by the time he married his final wife, Catherine Parr. So, Law had a perfumier come up with a scent that summoned up the smell of “puss, blood, fecal matter, and sweat”.

Co-star Alicia Vikander, who played Parr, said she and the crew struggled not to puke from the stink on set.

You can never be too old

Old white men may have become a term of abuse elsewhere, but Cannes has refreshingly taken this much-maligned minority to its heart.

No less than six are competing for its top prize.

This year’s festival is awash with pensioners, with 80-year-old Harrison Ford saddling up for one last ride as Indiana Jones and Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas also girding themselves to climb all those red-carpet steps to the premieres.

Still, old guys can be a contrary lot. Take 80-year-old Martin Scorsese who premiered his “Killers of the Flower Moon” there but refused to compete for the Palme d’Or, saying, “It’s time for others” — by which he presumably meant even older men like favorite Marco Bellocchio, 83, and two-times winner Ken Loach, 86.

Dead woman elected

A dead woman has topped the poll in a local election in India two weeks after her sudden demise. Ashiya Bi’s husband informed officials of the 30-year-old’s death but they told AFP there was no way to remove her name from the ballot.

“Once the electoral process begins, it cannot be halted or paused,” said Bhagwan Sharan, a district officer in Uttar Pradesh.

Despite being a first-time candidate, Bi took 44 percent of the vote. “Ashiya made friends easily and people didn’t want to break the promise of support they gave her,” said local Mohammad Zakir.

Sense of humor failure

A Vietnamese noodle seller has ended up behind bars for making a jokey viral video at the expense of one of the communist country’s politburo members.

Public security minister To Lam topped off a visit to London and Karl Marx’s grave by dining at celebrity chef Salt Bae’s pricey restaurant — where a 24-carat gold leaf steak can set the average worker back more than $1,000.

Street seller Peter Lam Bui posted a parody video impersonating Bae — a.k.a. Turkish chef Nusret Gokce, who parlayed his meme stardom into a string of high-end eateries — by sprinkling herbs on noodle soup and calling himself “Green Onion Bae”.

But officials did not see the funny side and had Lam convicted of spreading anti-state propaganda.