thu 17/08/2017

France

Fred Vargas: The Accordionist review - intriguing Gallic sleuthing yarn

The two haunting series of crime novels by Fred Vargas, the writing pseudonym of a French archaeologist and historian, have acquired a worldwide following: quirky, idiosyncratic, eccentric and beautifully written, they are highly individual and, for...

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Matisse in the Studio, Royal Academy review - a fascinating compilation

A 19th-century silver and wood pot in which to make chocolate, pertly graceful; 17th-century blue and white Delftware; a Chinese calligraphy panel; a 19th-century carved wooden god from the Ivory Coast; a bronze and gold earth goddess from South-...

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WOMAD 2017, Charlton Park review - multicultural nirvana transcends mud-bath conditions

Now in its 35 year, Womad is embedded into British festival culture, flying the flags of a musical multiculturalism that is about breaking down barriers and building new relationships. It’s not something you want to lose.Aside from pleasurable...

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DVD: Cézanne et moi

For viewers not familiar with the background story of Cézanne et moi – which surely includes most of us without specialist knowledge of late 19th century French artistic and literary culture – the moi of this lavish yet curiously uninvolving double...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Sorrow and the Pity

All the accolades heaped onto this documentary in the near 50 years since it was made are wholly deserved. Over 251 minutes, Marcel Ophuls weaves together an extraordinary collection of interviews and archive to tell the story of France during the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Falla, Ravel, Antoine Tamestit, The American Brass Quintet

 Falla: Nights in the Garden of Spain, Ravel: Piano Concertos Steven Osborne (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ludovic Morlot (Hyperion)Steven Osborne's solo Ravel anthology is among the best available, and it's good that he's now...

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The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger review - voyages round a giant

“Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves.” I’ve quoted these words by John Berger many, many...

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Pelléas et Mélisande, Garsington Opera review - brilliant but frustrating

A drama of passion for essentially passive characters, Debussy’s one and only completed opera is a masterpiece of paradox. How do you stage a work whose dramatis personae hardly seem aware of their own destructive feelings, and who inhabit their...

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Riviera, Sky Atlantic review - codswallop on the Côte d'Azur

W Somerset Maugham, who knew a thing or two about the dark side, summed up the Riviera as “a sunny place for shady people”. On the evidence of this first episode, Riviera is a funny place for shitty people.The first few minutes flung us...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Spotlight On a Murderer

After Eyes Without a Face, came this. Georges Franju is largely known for the grisly, surreal horror of his second feature, about a mad surgeon grafting stalked young women’s faces onto his disfigured wife. His all but forgotten follow-up, Spotlight...

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Frantz review - François Ozon in sombre mood: it works

François Ozon’s Frantz is an exquisitely sad film, its crisp black and white cinematography shot through with mourning. The French director, in a work where the main language is German, engages with the aftermath of World War One, and the moment...

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Midnight Sun finale review - 'terminal silliness, wholesale slaughter'

So here’s the thing: a heavily pregnant woman is hanging by her ankles above a raging torrent. Two teens, one with a broken arm, are stuck down a well. And 15 miners, deep below ground, take refuge from a fire in an emergency chamber, unaware it has...

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