tue 17/01/2017

France

CD: Petite Meller - Lil Empire

God knows we need originality in pop, and French singer Petite Meller delivers it. At least, she does visually, which, in 2017, is 50 percent of the game. Like Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord, she offers a direct subversion of femininity. However,...

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Sunday Book: Michel Houellebecq - Unreconciled: Poems 1991-2013

The American poet-critic Randall Jarrell once entitled a collection of essays A Sad Heart at the Supermarket. He might have enjoyed Michel Houellebecq’s poem “Hypermarket - November”. Its forlorn narrator has “stumbled into freezer”, then “collapsed...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Indochine

The end of empire has rarely looked more cinematically beguiling than in Régis Wargnier’s Indochine, the visually lavish 1992 drama written for Catherine Deneuve, who gets the film’s epigraphic line about “believing that the world is made of things...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Gilbert Bécaud

Anthologie 1953–2002 is a monster. A 20-disc set spanning almost 50 years, it tracks one of France’s most beloved singers and songwriters. Gilbert Bécaud died in December 2001, but songs from his posthumously released Je Partirai album are included...

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Allied

While it makes for a moderately amusing evening out, this World War Two espionage-romance caper doesn't stand up to a lot of scrutiny (I'm trying to work out where they managed to find the "Best Film of the Year!" quote used in the TV ad). Stars...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Napoléon

Like Proust's In Search of Lost Time, Abel Gance's Napoléon is the monument of a genius badly in need of self-editing. In both instances, everything testifies to the singular vision of the artist - in Gance's case, his innovations in the field of...

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Francofonia

The Russian director Alexander Sokurov has never been afraid of tackling weighty, often philosophical issues head on, and his latest film Francofonia is as pioneering – and, some might say, unnecessarily uncompromising – as ever. It’s nothing less...

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Paul Nash, Tate Britain

In Monster Field, 1938, fallen trees appear like the fossilised remains of giant creatures from prehistory. With great horse-like heads, and branches like a tangle of tentacles and legs, Paul Nash’s series of paintings and photographs serve as...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Lion in Winter

Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter was released in 1968, the screenplay adapted by James Goldman from his long-running play. Loosely based on historical fact, the Lear-like plot charts an ageing King Henry II’s futile attempts to choose a successor...

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Jean-Michel Jarre, Brighton Centre

If this review had a subtitle, it would be “Rave in the Mausoleum”. Jean-Michel Jarre threw everything he had at the crowd – state of the art lightshow, earthquake-level bass, eardrum-shattering decibels, remixed greatest hits, thumping kick-drums,...

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DVD: The Measure of a Man

Stéphane Brizé’s film is about the grubby tyranny and humiliation of working life. Middle-aged Thierry (Vincent Lindon, Best Actor at Cannes and the Césars) has a hangdog face which fails to mask his anger after being unjustly laid off. He seems...

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The Blue Room

"Did she bite you often?" Julien Gahyde (Mathieu Amalric) is being questioned about his affair in minute detail, over and over again, by lawyers and detectives. This is an ingenious flashback device. We don’t know yet what crime has been committed,...

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