wed 22/03/2017

France

French Touch, Red Gallery

Un Voyage Á Travers Dans Le Paysage Électronique Français, the French subtitle, goes further. French Touch is the first exhibition to celebrate and dig into France’s electronic music heritage: exploring the lineage which laid the ground for the...

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Lost in France

Pulling together a music documentary strikes me as a simple enough concept. Gather your talking heads in front of a nice enough backdrop, splice with archive footage in some semblance of a narrative order and there you go. There’s no need to, say,...

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Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, Wigmore Hall

Polish composer Szymanowski's Ovid triptych Mythes achieved something like cult status thanks to an iridescent recording. Everyone knew the pianist, the great Krystian Zimerman; the violinist, Kaja Danczowska, less so (where is she now?). A better-...

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Unforgotten – Series 2 Finale, ITV / After Brexit: The Battle for Europe, BBC Two

From Jimmy Savile to the Rotherham scandal, child sexual abuse has become a recurring nightmare of our society, and thus is inevitably grist to the TV dramatist’s mill. It has been a crucial component in The Missing, National Treasure and...

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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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