sun 21/01/2018

France

A Woman's Life review - simple but affecting

A Woman’s Life first premiered at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival, alongside the likes of La La Land, Arrival and Jackie. Though it’s taken longer to get to our shores than its contemporaries, the film feels fresh and relevant. This...

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CD: La Féline - Triomphe

As a prime example of high-end Gallic art-pop, Triomphe pushes the right buttons. The mid-tempo opening cut “Senga” sets the tone. A motorik rhythm and a shuffling counterpoint are complemented by bubbling bass guitar, insistent single note guitar...

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Blu-ray: Melville - The Essential Collection

A new box-set to relish, six French cinema classics by a cult director, along with a wealth of fascinating extras on a seventh DVD. The French film-maker Jean-Pierre Melville belongs to a class of his own: a precursor of the New Wave, an influence...

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Witnesses: A Frozen Death finale, BBC Four review - weirdo childbirth cult hits the buffers

It’s remarkable how pervasive the Scandi-noir formula has become, with its penchant for weird and perverted killers, labyrinthine plotting and intriguingly flawed protagonists. The French-made Witnesses: A Frozen Death was another fragment chipped...

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The Tunnel: Vengeance, Sky Atlantic review - entente not-so-cordiale

For the third and allegedly final time, we hasten back to the Kent coast for another outbreak of cross-Channel crime. Not all that surprisingly, this new series of the Franglais cop show focuses on a people-smuggling racket bringing bedraggled...

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Cendrillon, RNCM, Manchester review - magic and spectacle

The Royal Northern College of Music’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon has a particularly strong professional production team, and it shows. This is one of the most attractively spectacular operas the college has mounted for years.Director Olivia...

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DVD: A Journey Through French Cinema

Bertrand Tavernier’s trip through French cinema is shot through with the love of someone who has grown up with cinema and knows how to communicate his passion in a way that is totally engaging. The three hours-plus that he delivers make you want to...

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CD: Gaspard Royant - Wishing You a Merry Christmas

French stylist Gaspard Royant has recorded at London’s garage-rock-central studio Toe Rag and been produced by Edwyn Collins. Both fit a worldview which encompasses collaborating with Eli Paperboy Reed, who crops up here on “Christmas Time Again”, a...

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Happy End review - grimly compelling but to what end?

No movie that folds Toby Jones of all people into a Gallic entourage headed by Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant, the two as formidable as one might wish, is going to be without interest. Nor is it likely that the ever-severe Austrian...

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Witnesses: A Frozen Death, BBC Four review - plummeting temperatures in the Pas de Calais

A thankless task, perhaps, to find oneself following in the footsteps of the berserk Spanish melodrama I Know Who You Are (theartsdesk passim). However, BBC Four’s new Saturday night import, whose first series was shown on Channel 4 a couple of...

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Modigliani, Tate Modern review - the pitfalls of excess

Modigliani was an addict. Booze, fags, absinthe, hash, cocaine, women. He lived fast, died young, cherished an idea of what an artist should be and pursued it to his death. His nickname, Modi, played on the idea of the artiste maudit – the...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Montparnasse 19

The myth of Modigliani, the archetypal tortured artist, was set in train while he was still alive and remains potent almost a century after his death. Every so often a few game academics try to put things straight, and now Tate Modern’s exhibition...

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